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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Creating a Text – Jason Evans

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?

By far, the most important point in the process of creating a story for me is the beginning, the first moment it forms. In real life, I tend to have strong emotional reactions to places and moments. It could be a certain time of day in the forest. It could be a misty evening in the city when only the lonely people are out. Stories are my effort to capture those feelings, that sense of atmosphere. Therefore, every story begins with a feel, a soul. The general impact of the plot is included here. Will it be heart pounding and intense? Will it be reflective? Will it be distant and uncomfortable? Once that mood is set and that desired impact, I start putting in the detail. Who are the characters? What actions and experiences will further and create the desired impact? A great deal is mapped out at this beginning stage.

Next comes detailed scene by scene plotting. I’m moving toward formal outlines, because I’ve learned to demand vibrant, exciting scenes from myself. No simply getting from point A to point B. No artificial devices to unload backstory. The only way I can ensure enough energy is being poured in is to map it out in advance.

Next, I write a first draft straight through. For a short story, at least 2 full revisions will be done after that. For a novel, at least 3, if not 4. Essentially, I am crafting the pace with the revisions. I want the experience of reading to mimic what it would be like to live the moment. Fast scenes are written with quick, short sentences. The action must move. Slower, contemplative sections take more time. I also make constant adjustments to the reactions of, and words spoken by, the characters. I have an evolving sense of them that sharpens as time goes on. The revision process ensures that the text tracks those personalities.

I feel like it’s finished when I can read the text like a reader and get pulled in by the story. If I’m stopping, not liking things, and losing connection with the story, it’s not ready.

Jason Evans is a writer who blogs at: The Clarity of Night.

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3 Responses to “Creating a Text – Jason Evans”

  1. Charlotte says:

    John, I’m delurking after many months to say how much I’m enjoying this series. It’s wonderful to have practical insights into how other writers work.

    I love what Jason says here about his process, especially how, at the end, if he can read it like a reader then he knows it’s complete.

  2. Wow , thanks for this article , this helps me with my writings as well.

    My biggest weakness is how to give more meat to the story , What scenes to put as in betweeners , and how to make them interesting and the same time relevant to the overall flow to the story.

    jb says: You might find my series on learning to write interesting.

  3. Matt says:

    I like what you wrote about having to draw the person in from the first paragraph. I like to read, and when I do read something, I really enjoy when I pick up the book and lose all sense of my surroundings. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I’m in heaven!

    jb says: I think we all know what you mean, Matt.

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