Sunday, July 10, 2011

How does a guy with Korsakoffs write books? I'll tell you.

I have Korsakoffs disease. I'm a survivor of Wernicke Encephalopathy, a disease that comes about from a deficiency of thiamin (vitamin b1) as a result of long-term alcohol abuse. I describe that illness and my recovery in my book entitled "Green Goblin", copies of which can be purchased from the link:

I write fantasy novels. Serial fantasy novels. I'm finishing the fourth novel in the series. One of the things I like about people who read fantasy novels is that they are loyal, and picky. By 'picky' I mean that they have an expectation that the details from one book will carry over to the next. They expect--and should expect--that the rules that apply in the world created by the author are consistent.
   That means I have to remember stuff, details, from one book to the next to the next.
   Korsakoffs is marked by impaired memory. I've had the tests that determine I have Korsakoffs. I have impaired memory. To ask me how I remember stuff from one book to the next is a fair question, and I hope to be able to answer it fairly. I also hope that somewhere in my answer there can be help found for others with Korsakoffs.
   I write each chapter one at a time, without outline. I sit down at my desk with an idea in mind and run with it for about 1,500 words. Then I either stop or move on to the next chapter, depending on how much time I have and whether or not I feel ready to continue.
   The next time I sit down, I retype the writing from the last time I wrote. I might tweak it a bit here and there but let me be clear: I am not revising.
   ...I'm remembering. Or, more accurately, I'm rebuilding the memory.
   I write a block, I retype a block, I write a block, then I retype that block and write another. Sometimes I have to type a chapter three or four times before I feel comfortable that the details I need to retain are locked in. After I finish the book, I check it for errors. Then I read it. Then I check it for errors again, then read it again.
   Then I publish the book.
   I'm re-reading the second book in the series, Sexton Spice now. There are things in the book--little details--I forgot that will come into play in the fourth book, the one I'm writing now. They system might sound repetitive to you, but it works for me.

Bottom line--my writing practice sounds a lot like "Lather. Rinse. Repeat." It works for shampoo (or for selling shampoo) and it works for me.

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