IWSG: Novels as Patchwork Quilts

bhg-under-stars-quilt-planIt’s that time! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop is today! It’s not too late to sign up, post your IWSG post, and visit blogs, comment, and get a bunch of new visitors to your blog. Remember, the heart of a blog hop is to visit loads of blogs!

Announcing a brand-new blog hop

I’ve started a sci-fi and fantasy themed blog hop called These Are The Voyages. Can you guess where I got the name? If you love sci-fi and fantasy enough to be willing to blog about it once a month, join up! (Sorry, erotica/’erotic romance’ and other family-unfriendly blogs can’t participate in order to allow young people and people’s grandmothers to participate.)


IWSG: Writing a novel is like making a patchwork quilt

Perhaps it’s using the writing software ‘Scrivener’ (and before that, YWriter, which is free), but my writing is more based in scenes now. Or at least, that’s how I think of my work.

Each scene is like a single patch in a patchwork quilt. Each patch in a quilt has to be properly crafted according to the quilt design being used. Each piece has to be cut to the right size, and sewn together with other pieces to make up the patch.

A single patch doesn’t have to be stunningly gorgeous all by itself. It it is only made properly and to the right pattern, once you sew it into the large quilt, you will have something beautiful. But some of the patches in some quilt designs are rather plain. They just serve their own purpose in the design of the quilt as a whole.

One cause of insecurity in writers is the sheer size of the novel (or the novella, for that matter). You can’t hold it all in your head at once. But you can hold one ‘patch’ of your novel— a single scene— in your head.

Possibly because I have Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder), I tend to work on several scenes at once. Right now, working on Expedition to Erileth, I have one scene in which Space Force officer Niko Alden, awaking from stasis, imagines he’d been put in stasis as a punishment, that his homosexual affair with a man suspected of being an enemy agent has been discovered. Another scene details the journey of young Prince Tsirdan into exile, and his stop to see a mushroom-house, a living dwelling made from a giant mushroom-tree. Another scene shows Niko Alden, now aware that he’s still an interplanetary hero, coping with a less-than-ideal landing on the planet Erileth which has killed some ship’s officers and injured the captain, leaving him in charge of setting up the new base and spaceport.

What I do is I work on a scene for a while, then shift to another. If I’m discouraged by one scene and feel like it’s dreck (pardon my Yiddish), then I just work on some other scene for a while.

Come to think of it, I quilt and sew like that too. I’ll work on one patch or piece of a project, then move on to another piece, and then later finish off the first. (It’s an Aspie thing. Neurotypicals wouldn’t understand— unless they are scatterbrained neurotypicals.)


Where the Opium Cactus Grows

I was checking up on my self-published poetry book today. It has still sold only the 8 copies, but on Amazon.com there is one used copy available at $29.46. The list price on the book is $6.98, and I bet that seller plans to BUY a copy at that price if he happens to sell one.

I really wish some more people would buy the book. It would make a great gift for your dentist. He could put it in his waiting room. I mean, the book is POETRY, but it’s less painful than root canal. And it’s got explosions in it. http://www.amazon.com/Where-The-Opium-Cactus-Grows/dp/055793913

4 thoughts on “IWSG: Novels as Patchwork Quilts

  1. Exploding poems? Now I am curious!
    If working in sections, jumping from one to the other works for you, then that’s how you need to write. I’m the linear, start at the beginning and plow straight through to the end kind of writer, and that’s how I need to write.
    I’ll have to check when your Voyages fest occurs. I only blog one – two times a week, so might not line up.

  2. Once again I’m in awe that you grace my blog by your presence, Alex. It seems that different writers have different working methods, and I’m only gradually daring to do what works for me in writing prose.

    Poetry, on the other hand, I’ve always done my own way. Which is why have had more success at it, I would guess.

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