Writing as surgeryPosted: June 28, 2014
Everyone has their own novel-writing technique, and mine (at least for my most recent novel, The Decline and Fall of Taran Elember) has remarkable similarities to one of my other favorite things: surgery.
So, Angie’s Special Novel Writing Plan (based on my veterinary surgical training):
- Surgical Exploratory Phase–rambling first draft, lots of looking around and trying things
- Regrouping Phase–chat with surgical staff, re-order instruments, ask for suture/sponges/clamps as needed; chill a little while you decide how to approach the problem at hand
- Evisceration Phase–back to cutting, removing entire organs as necessary, occasionally transplanting
- Surgical Phase–reconstructing and suturing as needed for structure, character, scene goals, etc.
- Laser Phase–tightly focused fine edits for voice, personality, etc.
- Micro-surgery–multiple tedious drafts to eliminate adverbs, passive voice, words I always use but shouldn’t, clichés that have managed to persist…
- Recovery–the patient is turned over to the ICU staff (critique partners/first readers) so I can scrub out for a while and check on my next patient