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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Creating a Text – Debi Alper

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?

I have to confess to being fazed by the phases. Or should that be ‘phased by the phases’? Or ‘phased by the fazes’? You see my problem . . .
It jumbles my mind. I repeat the word ‘phases’ over and over until it becomes meaningless.

Maybe I should rephrase that. Rephase? Refaze?

I’m trying to wrap my head round this. Honest, I am. I’m asked to describe the ‘phases involved in the creation of a text’. Instead I find myself analysing why I’m finding it so hard to come up with an answer.

Perhaps it’s fear that if I analyse too much (or even at all) everything will grind to a halt. My writing starts from a seed. The seed sprouts. With care, attention and a fair bit of hard work (those troublesome weeds!) it can grow and flourish. I pour my love, time, energy and passion into nurturing it.

What I don’t do is to stare at it and wonder about how this growth comes about. Photosynthesis, cell division, the prerequisites of food, light, water … all this happens whether I understand the process or not.

I know the part I have to play. I’m the gardener. The wordsmith. An artisan (as opposed to an artist or a scientist).

I’ve seen reviews of my books that have picked up on themes that I never consciously chose to focus on but can see clearly exist when they’re pointed out.

I sometimes write episodes or even characters that I assume I’ve just put in to keep the writing on a roll, believing I’ll probably delete them come second draft. Then I reach a point in the narrative that needs a solution. That character or episode I’d thought to be expendable leaps to mind. Ah, that’s why he/she/it’s there … Fancy that …

Where does this come from? I have no idea. Just as I have only the vaguest understanding of the scientific reasons seeds grow into trees, but that doesn’t mean I can’t plant, nurture and reap the fruits.

Analyse that if you can. And then perhaps you can let me know the answers, because I certainly don’t know them.

Debi Alper is the author of the novels, Nirvana Bites and Trading Tatiana. Her website is at She blogs at

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