I’m always thinking of story ideas. Sometimes they start “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” or during some bout of existential angst alongside general feelings mixing somewhere between ennui and anomie. In any case, they have to pass what is here referred to as “The Hedberg Rule”; i.e., “If I don’t write it down, it must not be good enough.”
Every few months, I go over notes when at a stopping point with other projects and sift through for the likable story ideas. These get compiled into more notes. Those often sit there until there is time to outline them. Some stories exist in this skeletal form, waiting for more time and creativity. After going over an outline several more times, it’s time to write. Which really means, “make another outline of the chapter/scene/paragraph/sentence/dialogue, wow, is it time to put away laundry already? I’ll be right back to find that word. Then I… I mean, I’ll be right back to write that outline.” Some days, I take forever to write. Other days I feel the time spent improving my WPM actually mattered. I keep writing without going back to read much of anything. If I do, I often fall into a trap of wanting to change too much. So I usually just read the last few paragraphs and maybe change a few sentences.
Once I’m all done writing chapters, I go back and re-write. I call this the “Kubrick” phase because I read over each paragraph until I can read it out loud, 5 times all the way through and still enjoy it. Sometimes this has meant reading and rewriting passages 30-40 times before continuing on to repeat this for every paragraph, the whole book. I edit by re-reading these results 5 more times. I like to think I’ve improved over the years, but it’s always nice for me to catch things and take the reminder to be more attentive. I like to revise it after this by checking to follow the logic while reading it again. Others read it at this point. I feel a certain amount of collaboration is necessary and really try to consider their suggestions and edits before submitting a book for publication.
Nathan Nish started life in a small town before fleeing from it with his parents within weeks to a desert. After wandering around a college for almost ten years, he obtained an Associate degree in sociology. He wrote most of the Branching Chaos series during his time teaching. When between writing projects, he enjoys making music and listening to more music. Otherwise, a lot of his free time goes to watching horror movies, most of which are not scary.
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