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Begging Doctorow's Pardon, But...


"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
E.L. Doctorow


After writing some fifteen novels using a road map (a synopsis, which is usually required to make a sale), I've taken advantage of the opportunity to fly by the seat of my pants on this one, to see if Doctorow is right.

What I've discovered is Doctorow is probably right for many novelists, but for me, the process is more akin to the disgusting business of sausage-making. There's nothing pretty about it, with a hodge podge of borrowed ingredients, revisions-on-the-fly, and bastardized reinventions of my own and others' techniques. But by the time I finish, I hope to end up with a delicious product nonetheless.

This one, it appears will involve a synopsis at some point, since I've lost my way about 25% through that dark and foggy journey.

So do you vary your tehcnique as you write, or do you pretty much have one plan that works for you and you can stick to? If so, I'll try not to hate you. I'm too busy grinding plot and characters and things I don't want to think about stuffing them inside these casings.

Comments

Joni Rodgers said…
Three weeks ago, I would have said I use an outline for my ghost memoirs and no outline for novels, but I'm now working on a memoir that simply confounds the synopsis process. (Right now, I probably look like the deer in Doctorow's headlights.) I guess every book has it's own journey. The only rule is "No rules apply."

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