Chapter Three of Sleep

I’m just ripping along with the writing of Chapter Three of The Sleep of Reason. I wrote more than three thousand words today alone, which is astonishing for me.

I attribute this apparent success (I say “apparent” because it remains to be seen whether those three thousand words are good words or not) to the outlining work I have been doing. As I noted in this post, I’m experimenting with something like outlining to develop this novel. It really seems to be paying off.

I’m not outlining in the traditional sense, with Roman numerals, upper and lower case letters, and so on. Rather, I am simply writing with pencil and paper the things I want to achieve in the next chapter I will work on. I want the character to feel this or understand that. I want the tone to feel like such. The key conversation could go this way. This must happen first, and then that must happen next, and this third thing will be the result.

As I scribble all of this, I find the sequence needed for it and thus it becomes like an outline.

With all of this groundwork laid, I find that I am freer to do the more creative work of actual writing. Not only are the words flowing much more easily from my fingertips, but I am having those creative epiphanies that always seemed so rare in the past. Seemingly unbidden, a little plot twist or telling character development suggests itself to me as my fingers are flying along. When I was writing the Finnegan novels, such revelations generally came long after I wrote a passage, and so I had to go back and wedge them in somehow.

I think this kind of momentum I am building is self fulfilling too. The more pre-writing I do the more excited I am about doing even more. Ideas suggest themselves and spill onto the page. Sometimes I can’t get them down fast enough.

So as experiments go, this one has been very gratifying. I expect to continue this approach throughout the writing of the novel, and if the pace of progress keeps up, I should have it finished in half the usual time. I’m sure I’ll keep you informed about that.

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