Writing Incubation Periods

I have recently started to work on my novel again. Specifically yesterday. And I just realized how much I like this outlining method! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find it here in a previous post.

When I first started working on it I had a burst of energy and wanted to get my book done ASAP. So for a couple of days I worked on it non-stop (on my days off). I did the six stages and started brainstorming the scenes and put together a scene skeleton. And then I posted the overview in the Creative Writing Review Club on my school’s social media site.

And that’s where I got postponed. I got a lot of shorter feedback, saying things like “It sounds great! It has plot twists that will make the reader turn page after page!”, and, in response to me asking if it was too cliche, “Don’t worry about that. These themes have been what stories are made of for thousands of years. As long as it’s entertaining and people want to read it, it doesn’t have to be the best written story out there. It can be mediocre writing. Most people don’t want well written, they want to be entertained. That’s all that matters.”

But I got a longer piece of feedback that proposed changing the plot, a lot. And the fact that this person took the time to write out all of those thoughts made me feel like I just had to change my book.

So I got stalled. I put the book out of my mind for a couple of weeks, and didn’t think about it too much, except for the fact that I wanted to get back to it. But I never did, for fear of stalling, or writing a book and throwing away all of my work on it.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I sort of had an epiphany. It is my book. I can incorporate bits and pieces of the longer critique and still hold on to my basic story. And some of their suggestions did make a stronger story. I just was afraid I had to take all of their advice, when I didn’t.

So I wrote. I started on the detailed outline, when I write 200 to 500 words per scene as a sort of overview of the scene. Then I realized I could make the book better by going back and working on the scene skeleton and fleshing it out more, adding scenes, moving them around and overall reorganizing them into a better outline.

I’m still not done with the scene skeleton. But if I get bored of the short blurbs of scenes, I can always go back and work on the more detailed outline. I don’t have to stick to a linear process. There are scenes I am sure will be in my novel, and there are scenes I am not so sure about. I can write the ones I am sure of into the detailed outline while mulling over ideas for the ones I am not as sure of.

It is called a creative process after all, and rarely do brains work in a linear fashion on such a large project.

But time away from writing helped me get a fresh perspective on the book and the things that would make it work and the things that needed to be changed. And it has been proven to do so; it mentioned having an incubation period in my English Composition I course this semester.


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