I feel like thats something that young writers arent aware. Youre taught to think writing is just a solo activity, then you sell your work and let someone else handle it which is just not how it works. Its not how it works. When youre doing revisions, do you give yourself a different task for each draft? Like go through and edit for voice, then edit for plot, etc. Or do you do it all at the same time? With Edinburgh, i did it in versions.
How to Write an Urban Fiction: Step by Step Urban
One thing that every writer should know early on in their career is that you should never surprise your agent. Any conversation youre going to interior have with your editor thats serious, you should rehearse it with your agent first. And the agent will tell you whether or not you need to have the conversation, especially if its disruptive to the editorial process, and then theyll tell you how they might or might not be able to help you. I made my case to my agent first once i knew what I wanted. She redang made the case to my editor. When you do that, you have to pitch them how it will benefit the book. Because at that point, once youve sold a book to a publisher, its a very serious game that involves the livelihoods of everyone involved. The editor, everyone in production — everyone is affected. You have to show that you respect that — that its more than artistic nerves or anxiety or whatever. And I do try very hard to acknowledge the way in which publishing is a team effort. Because these people are taking care of my work, and in my way im trying to take care of theirs.
This is something you basically get to do once in your career as a writer, as i understand. I think it worked. I think it was waiting right as a gesture. How close was it to publication? We were in copyedits. The reason I discovered what I did is that theres a fact check thats part of the copyedit of a historical novel. Was it a big battle? It wasnt a battle exactly.
I find myself leaning into the curve of a essays long thought, almost like when I ski and Im on a slalom turn — i can feel the way the turn and i, the hill, the gravity, the snow, all are collaborating on my movements. And for moving a little more slowly than I can when I type, a compression builds. Also, typing something on a computer makes it look book-like right away. Thats not always to our best advantage as writers. Drafting by hand, i give myself the permission to be messy. And in a first draft, i need that. You pulled, the queen of the night from publication in 2013, to add in new details that story youd found in your research, right?
You were right where you finished. Thats the place to pick back up again. What does writing by hand provide you, beyond avoiding the distractions of a computer? Do you feel like you write differently on paper than on a laptop? I saw a study about this a long time ago, and there have been several more over the years about the benefits of handwriting. The first is: you use more of your brain. You enter a space that is much like when you speak extemporaneously and the knowledge in your brain transforms as you talk. Most of us whove taught have had this experience — answering a question, pursuing a topic in discussion, you find yourself learning about what you already know in some new way as you say. And so that seems really valuable for drafting.
How to Write an Urban Fiction novel- Step by Step dewey
It turned out I was so afraid of what the dekada novel was that i kept cutting it and throwing it into this bin. It turned out to be a pretty decent mirror for compartmentalizing your life: you think you are only living the one life you are living but you have this massive trove of unexplored memories off in another section of your existence. I looked over it and I was like, oh, its all the novel. I just have to figure out the links, and thats what I did. I like the journal idea. I might use that. Theres a whole rationale.
The way that you work with it is you write an entry when you finish working at the end of the day. You complain to it and ask yourself questions, list any files you looked up or sources that you used. I kept it like a blog, so the most recent entry was always at the top, and the first entry was always at the end. I was looking at the way i was thinking the night before or the day before, and I could drop back into the mind of where i was. So i wasnt staring blankly at the page with a kind of hopeless anxiety, but instead I was engaging with the questions that I had left off with. At the time, it was partly a way of fighting against the way microsoft Word works, where you were always where you began, at the beginning, instead of where you left off. In the old days of the typewriter, when you got back to work on something, the page was still in the typewriter.
Because a lot of the way id work was coming up with questions and then trying to answer them. If you are 17 years old and in Paris and you want to be an Opera singer, where would you try to get yourself educated? How would you get there? If you didnt know the language, how could you have someone else intervene? What lies would you tell?
What truths would you know? All these kind of questions became the way i went forward with that book. And the journal was a way to keep track. I also kept what I call a chop file, which proved to be very important. I do it now with all my pieces. If I cut a big section of text, i put it in this file. So i dont just delete. The queen of the night it became a situation where the chop file was the length of a novel and the thing I was calling a novel was 75 pages long. So i was like, dude, what are you doing?
4 ways to Create believable Urban Fantasy
I created a process that a lot of my friends have adopted, where i created a journal that was specifically for the novel that I was working. So each day i would open it when I started working and Id read the most recent entry so i could remember where i was. And, if I needed to, i could refer to things in the past. And as the day went on, if I needed to dip into old files, Id list them. It was a way of leaving a trail for myself about my own thoughts. Id include any questions I had about the manuscript. Id vent about scenes that I thought were still disgusting or pathetic or unworthy etc. Id ask questions about why that was the case. Then and the next day id try to answer them.
Black Swan fugue state of writing a novel that was so demented. I auditor think my old computer has over 600 files marked queen something or other. Are those each different drafts? Sometimes they are different by like a chapter. I have a much-abused memory. It just isnt up to the task of remembering all these things. I was so sure for a while that Id remember the different drafts. So what i ended up doing was a workaround.
up again, and that was another revision. I decided to try it and actually really enjoyed. So, for example, edinburgh is drafted on many legal pads. Do you still use her process? As, the queen of the night went on, it became a kind.
I met up with Chee in the west Village writers hangout Cafe loup to talk to learn more about his writing and revising process, and perhaps get some more advice to steal. Lincoln Michel: maybe a good place to start is how you start your novels. I believe youve told me that you write your first summary drafts by hand. Alexander Chee: I think i told you i was experimenting with it again. I did it a long time ago. One of the big influences for me early on was Janet Frame, who published a massive three-volume autobiography that Jane campion turned into the most beautiful and I think important biopic ever — maybe the only good biopic — called. Angel at my table.
How to write a urban Fantasy fiction novel fiction Diction
Alexander Chee is the author of two critically acclaimed (and beautifully written) novels, Edinburgh and, the queen of the night, as well as numerous essays, some of which have been compiled in the forthcoming essay collection. How to Write an Autobiographical novel. His work has landed him a whiting Award, fellowships from the nea and the mcca, and bestseller status with last years. The queen of the night. Chee is also writing an all-around literary mensch, working as an editor, professor, and critic, and helping to create innovative projects like the dear reader sleepover residency and the Amtrak residency. Chee is a tireless literary advocate, and also simply one of the best writers to go to for advice. When revising my novel, Chee gave me advice about retyping the manuscript from first line to last for each draft.