Monday, September 24, 2012
The Spiral Model of Writing
So the spiral model essentially has 4 stages:
1. Determine Objectives
2. Identify and resolve risks
3. Development and Test
4. Plan the next Iteration
This is an ongoing spiral that continues until the software is released.
Writing a book is extremely similar.
1. Determine the Objectives
2. Identify and resolve the problems
3. Draft and review
4. Plan the next revision
When I write a book, this is essentially how it goes. Each time I go around the spiral, I follow these steps, though I'd never verbalized them before. Even now, as I prepare to embark on a final round of revisions for a story, I do this.
1. I sit down and determine what my goals are for this round. Is it to smooth out some issues? Fix a larger problem? Remove a character? Having a list of goals and plans is essential to a revision (less essential to a first draft, but even then I have notes about what my goal for the story is.
2. I look at my objectives and attempt to identify any issues that may arise as a result. If I'm cutting a character, I need to look at that character's whole arc and see what ramifications eliminating him will have. Then I have to figure out how to resolve those issues.
3. When I'm ready, I actually do the writing. I make the changes and, when done, read through to make sure they work and make sense.
4. Finally, I read through the whole thing again and identify new problems, planning for the next revision. This is where I identify any new things that bother me or don't work. Maybe a character that had been in the background before really pops in this version and I want to consider giving them more page time.
The process begins all over again.
Writing may be a creative thing, but there are logical parts to it as well. A well thought out plan of action can mean the difference between having to write ten drafts and having to write five.
In some ways, I don't think my books are ever finished. But the difference between software and books is that when I publish a book, I can't go back and change it with an update. That means I'd better make every turn around the spiral count.