Like Living In A House Full Of Ghosts

Writing a novel is like living in a house full of ghosts — even when you ignore them, they’re still there, waiting to talk to you. They have all the time in the world. No matter how much you avoid them, the time comes when you have to confront them. Hear them out. See what they have to say. Over time, their features become clearer, their voices stronger, their histories richer, their lives fuller.

– LAILA LALAMI

Imagine Your Readers Over Your Shoulder

We suggest that whenever anyone sits down to write he should imagine a crowd of his prospective readers (rather than a grammarian in cap and gown) looking over his shoulder. They will be asking such questions as: “What does this sentence mean?” “Why do you trouble to tell me that again?” “Why have you chosen such a ridiculous metaphor?” “Must I really read this long, limping sentence?” “Haven’t you got your ideas muddled here?” By anticipating and listing as many of these questions as possible, the writer will discover certain tests of intelligibility to which he may regularly submit his work before he sends it off to the printer.

– ROBERT GRAVES and ALAN HODGE

Update

It’s coming up on 5 months since inspiration struck for my current project, Starshine. Progress slowed considerably due to the holidays, but I’m back at it. Word count is right about 30k. By comparison, it took me 4 years to reach 40k words with System Seven. This alone is an indication of how outlining can be beneficial. Additionally, the quality of the story benefits – its focus and its pace is superior to that of S7. I’ve not set a deadline for completion of first draft but I have committed to steady work on it.

I did share writing time with S7 during the month of November and a single week in December to make some edits and to update the cover art. I published those changes on Amazon and promised myself that was the final, final touch for S7 – it will forever be my first, as is.