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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2009-01-23 19:54
Subject: [writing] Working on the Beast
Security: Public
Tags:beast, books, process, writing
As of this evening, I've put roughly 16 hours into my joint project with Jeff VanderMeer, The Heart of the Beast, and the revised manuscript stands at 13,600 words. This is deceptive accounting, in the sense that I didn't write 13,600 words in 16 hours. Rather, the first 10 hours was spent inside the material Jeff sent me, the next 6 largely revising, with less than 2,000 words of new prose. This will shift as the project goes on, because after certain point I'll be working far more from outline than from established text.

By the necessities of this project, I find myself with a far more detailed outline that I ever would have crafted for myself, down to almost the scene-by-scene level. (It actually tracks POV changes, roughly speaking, or major events, but a given POV may have multiple scenes which don't register on the outline.) This is going to produce an interesting effect as I go along. I continue excited and interested by the unusual process.

In terms of the story itself, I've made several major amendments to the outline Jeff originally provided, and emphasized some pivotal events which make the book hang together effectively in my judgment. As I write, that will change — experience suggests that no outline ever survives contact with the manuscript.

And a bit of wip:
To the west: the desert in the first rush of spring, traces of the late snow still spread like dust on a baker's belly as the earliest flowers blush rare color on the unending palette of obsidian and ochre and dust-gray. The harsh smoke of the glassmakers' kilns coils close in black ribbons to write empty glyphs upon the morning air. Far beyond them, the distant saltwater with its unknowable depths. He knows this to be fitting; the desert is little more than the bones of the ocean, and the unthinking sea lies everywhere.


Originally published at jlake.com.

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