Seeding the text.


Welcome to all the new followers who keep joining up! We now join our author in mid-writing…

I’m in that phase of novel revision I call “seeding the text.” That means I go through the penultimate draft and leave comments throughout, in lilac brackets. (That’s a deliberate color choice. Red is too alarming; blue looks like another kind of black; green reminds me of money. Lilac is soothing and pretty.) Those comments might be prompted by what I’m reading right then, or might be a connected thought that relates somewhere else; the most important thing is that I get them down NOW, as soon as I think of them, down into the soil, pushed deep and covered over. Then I go back through the text and grow each seed: what I have to change, expound on, rewrite. Sometimes it means I cut entire chunks of text that bore me and rewrite them until they don’t bore me. I rewrite them until I reread them and it makes me say “MONICA WHAT THE FUCK HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

The first six thousand words of seeded text: today’s work.

Welcome to my very scientific process.



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10 Comments on “Seeding the text.”

  1. Bhanu says:

    Cool, thanks for explaining the Process.
    I have some kind of approach I am following for my blog as well and the thoughts that keep coming my head.

    I am trying to trim the plants in my garden (blog) and shape them to look attractive.

  2. Intriguing idea! I am always interested in how other people deal with wrangling 100K+ words at a time.

    I write lots of notes to myself but not in the body of the actual thing, instead putting in marks of punctuation that would never show up naturally (like >>, #) so to find the trouble spots later.

    Can you search the text for colors? Or do you just scroll until you find the next lilac patch?

    Do you go through the entire thing at once this way, or in pieces?

  3. I’m reminded, for the second time today, of my high school english teacher, who never graded in red, because she felt it hurt students’ feelings, and more importantly, their creativity. The first time was in a training for how to be teachers of programming. Kathy Merkx. She used green, as I recall. Good luck with the drafting; I’m sure you have it in hand.

  4. Eclectrablog says:

    May I share this with my students? They think authors poop out words and make $$$. They don’t realize that it is actual work. I love the way you explained it.

  5. Life Mutated says:

    I only recently began exploring the possibilities of writing a novel/poetry etc … The ‘seeding of text’ is a really novel idea. Instead of immediately changing the text you move on to the next so no thought or idea can be lost, maintaining the original text in the process until you have completely seeded the manuscript so you can develop the plot better as you now have a greater understanding of what you want to happen later on and how what you are busy with links in to it … aaaand holy wall of text batman, lol, sorry.

  6. I find that too – I think something’s finished and ready until I read my notes to myself. Then there’s that moment, after editing, when my 80,000 is down to 40,000 and I think I’ve over done it!

  7. mattwadeblog says:

    Good advice! I usually do something similar while I’m writing or some other time during the writing process. However, most of those are mental notes. Physical notes WOULD help me keep track of the changes I need to make. I’ll keep it in mind!

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