Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for May 5th, 2011

A writer’s work is never done

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I’ve been posting a lot of updates recently, but so far, I’ve mostly been silent about the main event: the sequel to The Icon Thief, formerly known as Midrash, currently untitled. (If you have any title suggestions, please let me know—I’m feeling pretty stuck right now.) On April 1, I finished a draft of Part I of the novel, which, at just over 50,000 words, covers slightly less than half of the story I’ve mapped out thus far. With that, I set the manuscript aside, took slightly less than half a day off, and got to work outlining Part II. (As I’ve mentioned before, I love outlining, but try to restrict it to one section of the novel at a time, so that I still retain some element of surprise.)

On Tuesday, after a month’s hard work, I finished the outline. As usual, it’s pretty massive: 20,000 words, for a chunk of the novel projected to run something like 40-45,000 words in its final form. Getting there required close to two thousand index cards, thirty or so mind maps, and an epic amount of green tea. My reward? I get to work like hell for the next six weeks to finish the actual draft. At that point, the cycle repeats itself for the third and final part of the novel—which is, thankfully, a lot shorter. And I’m still hoping to have a complete first draft by the end of July, which I’m startled to realize is less than three months away. Fasten your seatbelts, everybody—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Postscript: Also, at some point during this first draft, it looks increasingly likely that I’ll be buying a house. I expect that you’ll be hearing a lot more about this as well.

Written by nevalalee

May 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

Posted in Writing

Michael Pollan on second books

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I have a theory that a writer’s second book…is the most difficult to write and the most revealing to read. To borrow a metaphor from geometry, a first book is like a point in the infinite space of literary possibility; it can be about anything and leads nowhere in particular…But a writer’s second book, by forming a second point in the space of literary possibility, creates a line: a path or trajectory that very often sets the course of the writer’s career.

Michael Pollan, A Place of My Own

Written by nevalalee

May 5, 2011 at 8:33 am

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