February 1-10, 2008

Lately I've been seeing just how much method there is to my madness. I've never sat down to sort out my writing process but, as I'm an organization freak, it stands to reason that my writing is systematic. I do know I work very ad hoc, so whatever it takes on any given day is what I do, but as I've geared up to leave for Mexico I've become more aware of the hidden process behind it (and after seven books, it's a pretty solid process.) The first stage is usually a broad canvas approach of getting down whatever, but by this point -- second draft -- I've honed things down considerably. Lately I've been working on no more than one or two chapters a day, refining and casting off unwanted material, to arrive at a solid working second draft, something that will be presentable to my agent and a potential publisher (in this case Cormorant, as Marc Cote was largely responsible for the impulse to write this current book, when he asked if I'd thought of writing a serious thriller. At the time, I said no -- I was having too much fun writing satire with the Bradford Fairfax books -- but that quickly changed.) Now, at the end of my allotted chapter, I force myself to stop, even if it's going well, and take a walk (if it's not too cold!) With my mind still on the book, I end up writing and rewriting in my head while I'm walking. This forces me to think and rethink things, sometimes gaining direct input from whatever's happening around me. Because a good deal of the book takes place in my neighbourhood (Leslieville), I can incorporate visual details, snippets of conversations, etc., for that little touch of reality with the book fully in mind.

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