The Blog/Diary of Novelist Sam Batterman

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to make yourself at home, look at my postings, visit my friends links and contribute your own comments. 

Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's it like to write a book?

Over the last two years as I have worked on my book and discussed it with others, I hear the same questions over and over - "How did you do that?" or "What's it like to finish a whole book?"

That's a hard question to answer because there is so much to the answer. I'm not classically trained in writing, so much of Wayback emerged from what I read and observed that work well in the thriller genre (thank you Michael Crichton!)

I came across a video the other day that while not a perfect analogy somewhat shows the process of writing if I were to compare it to painting.

So, take five minutes and watch the video and then let's continue the conversation...

Here's the finished product - "Above the Timberline"

By all accounts this painting is an amazing vision, but look what it took to pull it off. The artist talks about a lot of tasks that occurred before he painted - the creation of the main character, pencil studies, research into polar bears, composition - this doesn't just happen - it was well planned - well executed. The artist even talks about the "camera" - something you don't hear about in painting - Viewpoint, yes -- camera, no. He talks like it is a movie or a book in his head and he is bringing it to life - an act of pure artistic creation. But the parts of the video that I really like are when he stops and does more research - more investigation for a glint or reflection on a goggle or a specific shape or brush stroke that he applies to a polar bear.

He talks about "anchors" that help him feed off that element visually - bold and subtle. Plot is like this - but so are characters and even scenes. It is like this in writing - what is finally published has almost no bearing to early drafts, or possibly what was originally envisioned or planned. Yes, I like to work with an outline, but the "sketch" of the story allows me to venture into wild territory and discover things that make the book more interesting. Unlike painting and drawing where you are filling in a physical canvas, writing entails sentences and paragraphs that can be almost infinite in detail - sometimes going deeper or holding back to get an idea across is the hard part. Sometimes I have to stop completely and research something over and over from many different perspectives. In Wayback, that involved lots of looking into what the Antediluvian world would have been like, what would the Flood have felt like and looked like, even the modern portions of the book that entail the Six Day War or a private think tank building an amazing machine took rework and research. The words don't just fly out of your fingertips (at least for me) it is a slow and arduous journey, but very rewarding and fun!



P.S. the typesetting process for Wayback should be done this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will appear in a few hours - I have moderation turned on to avoid spam and other "badness".

Thanks for your comment.