I’ve taken quite a different approach to writing this book. I divided it into stages. I sometimes wonder whether this was wise. The first stage was months of research and making contacts. This was followed by six weeks of circumnavigating Korea.
During those six weeks I ‘wrote’ the book in it’s most basic form in a series of notebooks and on my phone and computer.
For the next stage, I spent one month typing everything up into a less basic, but still very crude, form. I printed it out in early June.
This was followed by a two month break during which I did very little work on the book beyond making some notes on my phone and jotting down a few ideas for sketches I’d like to work on.
At the end of August, I began the next stage. I spent about six weeks going through the book with a pen and typing up the changes until I had worked through it entirely. During this stage, I focussed predominantly on structure and flagging, but not filling, gaps. Yesterday, I printed the book. All 78,304 words of it.
This next stage, which will probably take one month, is all about creating the first draft ‘proper’. I’m not really worried about grammar and the like, it’s about nailing the narrative flow, filling those gaps and tying down the structure. The gaps are mostly facts I need to find out, descriptions I need to make better and metaphors I need to dream up. This stage will be done entirely with pen and paper and typed up at the end. I expect to have to work on three or four subsequent drafts in this way before anyone else gets to see it.
My deadline is January 4, 2016. This is why I am wondering whether or not structuring the writing like this was wise. While I have enough time to finish the book. I don’t really have enough time to let it breathe, and subsequently rework, before my editor starts slicing her way through it.
I make a lot of lists when I work. I often use them as the ‘wallpaper’ on my laptop so that I don’t forget to refer to them. But I won’t bother to look at them today as I’m taking the day off.