Friday, July 29, 2011

Revising the Ten Stage Process

Last year, with unwarranted confidence, I wrote knowingly about the ten stages of story development and then, in a fit of hubris, decided to bare my soul by documenting what happened as I followed the process while developing a story from scratch, which means at the outset I knew little to nothing about the universe to which I was supposed to contribute  (My struggles were documented in subsequent blogs.)

The effort was not pretty, but I persevered and managed to stagger to the tenth stage, which, I realized, wasn't the last stage at all.  More needed to be done and,  as beta readers, editors, copy editors, etc, etc, etc became involved, successive stages had to be completed before the final version is released to the wild where it will live or die on its merits.

What I didn't realize was how much that exercise clarified my thoughts on this somewhat ugly business of actually creating and crafting a story.  Since then I've expounded my views on con panels and in a couple of interviews where, I'm afraid, I too often sound like an egotist and an idiot - one of which I am not (I hope.)

Those reflections and thoughts have also improved my dialogue with other writers, many of whom share the same self-doubts, frustrations, and developmental challenges and welcome any discussion of same. This was brought out at Confluence last weekend where the hallway conversations were equally as intellectually as stimulating as most of the panel discussions.  The unintended consequence was that the panelists became excessively self- referential, as in "As I was saying to Rob Sawyer earlier today ...."  I'll admit to doing that myself.  It works at a literary con like Confluence where everybody seems to know everyone else (and embraces the printed word!)

So, to clarify my own thoughts I am going to revise the screed and come up with some way to codify exactly what it is that I do when I try to write (and finish!) something new.  Stay tuned as this may take some time.

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