After his thoughts on his habits on Monday (it still stuns me that Kevin writes while hiking the mountains), here’s his thoughts on his processes.
1) Do you have a different process for writing short stories versus novels?
I usually write a short story in a day-long burst, after planning ahead of time. For novels, I outline heavily and break the process up into chapters. Two chapters a day equals about the same word count as a short story.
2) Do you plan out your stories, or do you write organically?
Plan very carefully. It saves a huge amount of time rewriting. I wouldn’t build a house without drawing a blueprint first. I wouldn’t write a novel without planning — the creative part happens in the imagination, at all steps of the process.
3) Do you wait to finish the draft before revising, or do you revise as you go? If when you finish – how do you approach it? If as you go – how do you approach that?
I finish before I revise. I don’t want to lose my momentum as I’m charging ahead in the storytelling part of the process. Writing/creating and revising are two different skills — left brain, and right brain — and I don’t want to keep shifting gears back and forth.
4) How many times do you revise before you submit?
Usually 4-5 drafts; sometimes as many as 10-13. I keep working until it’s as good as I can make it.
5) How has your process changed over the course of your career?
I keep trying to learn and stretch my craft, so I may focus on different things on different books. I think I’ve gotten more efficient with my time, but I have also raised my standards, so I work harder.
7) What’s the most difficult part of the book for you? Why do you think?
The first edit is the worst, hardest part — I’ve done the creative part, the fun part, and the prose needs a lot of work, so it’s like whacking through a jungle with a machete. After a few edits, the prose is smooth enough that I really enjoy it again, but the first couple of drafts.
Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, 47 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists. He has over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious awards, including the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader’s Choice Award, the American Physics Society’s Forum Award, and New York Times Notable Book. By any measure, he is one of the most popular writers currently working in the science fiction genre. You can read more at his website http://www.wordfire.com/
Read more habits and processes of writers here: http://nicolermurphy.com/writers-habits-and-processes/