Before I start writing my book I’m brainstorming other ways to write my book. My approach for Pirate Space was to think of an idea (pirates in a modern city), write a whole bunch of scenes inspired by that idea, think of a storyline which can incorporate these scenes, write some more scenes to complete the storyline and then clean everything up. It needed a lot of cleaning up, since characters kept changing, new material kept being added, chapters switched places and so on. Sort of like building a car by designing the hood ornament and working backwards from there.

What I liked about this approach was that I thought of a whole bunch of ideas I never would have thought of if I’d planned the whole thing through beforehand. It gave it a ‘spontaneous creation’ aspect rather than a ‘premeditated’. What I don’t like is (a) that I effectively wrote the book twice and (b) there’s a lot of inconsistent and superfluous parts that might not have been there if I’d thought everything out beforehand. I can think of at least one chapter and three scenes that can be easily deleted.

So… different approach. I’ll try ‘professional’ rather than ‘whimsical’ this time. I’ll think of how scenes fit into the plot before I write them. I’ll make sure every character has some kind of arc thing. I don’t know.

I’m worried about conciseness, though. It’s impossible for me to tell a short story, but it’s also difficult for me to tell a long story, because I’m just not good at drawing a story out without throwing in a whole bunch of superfluous bits. Maybe I should try to write it as an ‘epic’ story… that should add a good ten pages.

I won’t try too hard though. 80,000 words seems like a fine size for a novel to me. Moby Dick and Catch-22 are the only novels I can remember reading that needed to be as long as they were. Most books could do with being ripped in half. And not just to make them shorter. I read Diana Gabaldon’s Cross Stitch ages ago and still have no idea how she managed to wring so many words out of that concept. There wasn’t exactly profound philosophical depth that needed to be explored.