Ben Parzybok

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The state of our novels

Laura and I are both working on new books and last weekend we put all our our scenes onto post-it notes and stuck them to the wall.

I saw Diana Rowland do this at the Rio Hondo Writer’s Workshop. While hers had way more zombies in it than both our novels put together, it was a very fun exercise. Though made significantly less fun by the fact that no one was eating anyone else’s brain.

Laura’s (and Laura) is on the right. Orange bits represent unwritten scenes — she’s pointing out her strategery here. (you can click the picture to see it larger, but not really large enough to read the text.)

Mine is all in rows on the left, with just those last four pink squares at the end signifying unwritten scenes. Quite by chance our books are at about the same place — just a few short steps away from completed first draft. At one hopeful, innocent moment long ago I thought perhaps that I’d only need a few edit-passes through before completion. Since then, and mid-way through the book, I radically changed what the book was about, so, well, I suppose you could say I’m a lot less innocent now.

I’m not yet sure what I’ve learned from the exercise yet except that Post-it notes make terribly garish wallpaper, and that whenever I enter the room I feel how my book looms there brightly-colored and ominous. Though I do revisit the wall now and then and move the papers around, and then move them back. So I got that going for me.

Author: Benjamin Parzybok

My name is Ben Parzybok and I'm a novelist and programmer living in Portland, OR. @sparkwatson

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