Writing, Narrative - N.K. Jemisin Interview
Here is an interview with N.K. Jemisin (author of The Inheritance Trilogy) in which she writes about the crafting of her first novel:
The piece is short but there's some interesting stuff in there.Well, I wrote the novel twice. The first time, back when I first came up with the idea, it was very traditional epic fantasy: third person, a male protagonist; there was a journey to acquire the MacGuffin of Power (the Stone of Earth), I think there was some swordplay here and there. Very traditional, and a bit boring. It didn’t sell — rightly — and I trunked it. But years later I decided the concept had good bones, so I shed the treatment and started fresh, stopped trying to adhere to tradition and boring myself, and wrote it the way I felt like writing it. That basically meant using the old novel as a kind of very detailed outline, and otherwise completely revamping the whole thing.That’s not my usual writing process, though — who can afford to write every novel twice? I usually write a detailed outline of maybe 15-20 pages, including character profiles and brief worldbuilding notes. Sometimes I start a wiki — I’ve done that with the Inheritance Trilogy, so I can easily look up concepts or made-up words I’ve forgotten from book 1 to book 3. Then I usually write a few “test chapters” to get the voice of the story right — I try different characters’ PoVs, different tones, first person and third person, and so on — and once I feel that one of those chapters works, I start writing in earnest.