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It has been a good month and a half since I posted. Blame it on a week at the national SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles, which was wonderful, and on the Dread MFA Packet Deadline. --I say "dread" with all due affection, rather like Wesley refers to the "Dread Pirate Roberts" in The Princess Bride.

An update is long overdue.

The current Sekrit Project is proceeding nicely. I probably shouldn't call it secret, because after all, I am sharing it with my advisor, the wonderful and talented Martine Leavitt. (I feel almost infinitely lucky to have her as my final advisor.)

However, to say that the Sekrit Project is proceeding nicely is both under- and over-statement. It is proceeding, and when I think about what I knew about this project in mid-July and what was on my calendar between mid-July and the time my first packet was due, just past the middle of August, I have certainly made progress. I know more about this world, these characters, the overall story and its structure and theme. However, the pages themselves are coming slowly, slowly, slooooowwwwwllllyyy.

How slow is slow? This afternoon it took me more than three hours to write under 818 words. The other day it took several hours to write 300. The pace has been similar, generally speaking, for the last two-plus weeks.

I've known for a while that every novel project is different. So far I've written one that I still think of as "the novel I didn't want to write" and it took me years to get the basic shape down--there was one part I could not figure out for the life of me. Three summers ago I wrote one that flowed like snowmelt, so fast I had the first draft done in less than three months. Last year I wrote one completely out of order--first scene, last scene, a scene that fell three-quarters of the way through--back and fill all the way. Who knows what the next project will be like. That doesn't matter, though, because right now, I'm working on this one.

This afternoon I realized something: This is my slow book. At least for now. Maybe it will turn into my Leo the Late Bloomer. We'll see. I'm not going to pressure it. Instead, I'm going to relax and accept that this is its pace. I know where it's going. I've got a plot skeleton that gives me just enough guidance. I love my main character and I love her enough to break her heart. And the pace of the story itself is not slow.

Slow food, slow money, and now--slow novel.

A better analogy would be to raising children. Each one is different. Each grows at his or her own pace. They grow best if we accept them for who they are and nurture them in a way that suits them.

How have your writing projects varied?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
jongibbs
Sep. 6th, 2013 09:17 am (UTC)
I think we find each novel a different process because we're usually different writers by the time we start the next one - hopefully because we've learned stuff in the interim.

The result: We take more time making sure certain things in the next book will fit/work, when we wouldn't even have thought them worth bothering about a year before.

At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it ;)
olmue
Sep. 7th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
Yep. Some books are fast and some are slow. You can't really compare--each book is its own thing. Enjoy writing this one!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Nation (Terry Pratchett), Men of Salt (Michael Benanav), Paper Towns (John Green), Lavinia (Ursula K. LeGuin), Weight (Jeanette Winterson), The Wizard, the Witch & Two Girls from Jersey (Lisa Papademetriou), Beastly (Alex Flinn), Hogfather (Terry Pratchett), London Calling (Edward Bloor), Before I Die (Jenny Downham), My Mother the Cheerleader (Robert Sharenow), Antsy Does Time (Neal Shuesterman), Against Medical Advice (James Patterson & Hal Friedman), Wait for Me (An Na), Doppelganger (David Stahler), The Year We Disappeared (Cylin Busby, John Busby); Little Brother (Cory Doctorow); King of Screwups (K.L. Going), Tyrell (Coe Booth), Goth Girl Rising (Barry Lyga), Bad Apple (Laura Ruby), The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson), Hold Still (Nina LaCour), Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green & David Levitahn), Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto (Eric Luper), Ostrich Boys (Keith Gray), Front & Center (Catherine Gilbert Murdock), Twenty Boy Summer (Sarah Ockler), I Shall Wear Midnight (Terry Pratchett), Tales of the Madman Underground (John Barnes), Please Ignore Vera Dietz (A.S. King), Sex: A Book for Teens (Nikol Hasler), The Girl Who Became a Beatle (Greg Taylor), Crazy (Han Nolan), Pull (B.A. Binns), Pearl (Jo Knowles)
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