The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 08, 2006

The next week's writing process...

In working on a current book, with my friend, mentor and collaborator Larry Niven,  I’ve reached the end of the first “chunk” of the project.  It consists of about eight chapters, introduces all basic characters and situations and environments, and is the piece we’ll probably use to market the whole thing.

The piece I’m working on today deals with a woman who is in charge of  the physical plant for a lunar base.  This is where much research will have to come together, as well as plot elements and character detail.

This is the way I’m approaching it.
1)     rough out the chapter(s) in Final Draft
2)     Polish the Final Draft material.  Are all image systems cooking?  Does the dialogue work well?
3)     Treat this piece of the book as if it is stand-alone.   Is it tight, honest, crackling?  Is it funny and a little sexy? 
4)     Stop. Create my character outlines based upon what my subconscious created in this first draft.  Go deeper.  Use the Chakras.
5)     Outline my plot again, using the Hero’s Journey.
6)     Do the Hero’s Journey and Chakra model (of personality) create a “whole” in my mind?  These two fit together into an organic whole that my deepest  “writer self” comprehends far better than my conscious mind. I must work on this until it “feels” right kinesthetically.  When the “feel” of it, the  “emotions” of it and the “logic” of it all point in the same direction, I’m ready to go.
7)     Flesh out  the Final Draft script into prose.
8)     Polish, polish polish.  Add two senses per page.
9)     Find the unexpected kernel of  truth.  There is always a moment, a statement, a description that rises above the rest.  Once I find it, go back to the beginning of the entire book, and re-write everything to rise to this level.
10)     Put it aside for at least two days, then re-write again.

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