Aspiring author and random thinker

On Writing: Finished Book II

I just finished the first draft of my second book today.

Unlike the first book which had been written as two separate stories and combined, the second one was planned in a more detailed manner. Before writing this one, I did an adequate amount of research to develop my characters properly and wrote a summarized biography on each one of them – this ended being around 5,500 words and took two days worth of work.

I then prepared a simple outline for the first chapter and started working. This book is three parts and, unfortunately, the process changed significantly during the writing. For the first two parts, I wrote the chapter outline for each chapter separately then finished off the chapter. Going with this method for 10 chapters, 5 for each part, I managed to keep myself interested in writing the story as well as have its events flow smoothly, relatively.

By the time I reached the 65,000 words, I began getting really bored by the story and found that I was pushing through the writing process as if it was a chore. As a result the quality of writing deteriorated in the middle of the story, and it took a rather depressing turn away from the light one I intended it to have, but the sequence of events seemed to be flowing as I intended.

For the first two parts, the outline reached 6,500 words (about 1:10 ratio to the content) and was explaining key events appropriately. As for the third and final part, I decided to tackle it with a different way, one inspired by what I learnt from writing short stories. I spent around a week preparing two outlines. The first was a general outline which included the following elements for the part: (1) Goal, (2) Requirements, (3) Methods, (4) Conditions, (5) Issues/Problems, and (6) Key Explanations. The outline had all the elements I wanted to cover summarized in 1,600 words. This general outline was then expanded to a detailed outline which included all of these elements for each chapter with an exception of (6) Key Explanations which was saved for the final wrap-up chapter. For every chapter a brief summary was written and then expanded into individual sub-chapters for it. I attempted to include a moral concept or an interesting idea in each chapter while linking it to the main plot. An attempt to make each chapter stand-alone was made, but with little success. The detailed outline ended up being 8,500 words.

Overall, I found that the best method for me two write is not to tackle the book as a free-writing discovery type of literature, but to slowly move in short outlined modules. This way enables me to plan a decent outline while keeping the creativity factor alive, hence preventing me from being bored with the project. For me, the trick is to outline a maximum of five chapters ahead and deviate from it with limitations. Most importantly, I found that the quality of writing and interest factor for the author and reader increases the more the content stimulates the thinking process – as long as it does not make either process exhausting.

Starting from tomorrow, I will be proofreading and editing the first draft of the first part to make sure the story remains consistent with the end. Unlike the first book, I will be starting on my second draft immediately and delay the one-month-break process to the third draft, if I decide to continue with it.

I read somewhere that writers start producing high-quality work after their millionth word, and that is the goal I intend to reach within the next two years. So far I have written slightly over 250,000 words of unedited story content.


2 responses to “On Writing: Finished Book II

  1. Pingback: From Outline to Novel | Code For Confession

  2. Pingback: The Halfway to Nowhere Mark [writing] |

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