In the world of modern commerce, ‘agile development’ is one of the nifty catchphrases that entrepreneurs throw about airily. It means, basically, figure it out as you go along; fling something up there, take user feedback, and fix it. It’s an iterative (another catchphrase) process.
If it doesn’t work, pivot (yet another hip-happening-yeah-baby phrase) in a new direction.
I’m all in favour of this stance in terms of developing a browser, a cloud-backup app, or photo-editing tools. But fiction is different.
A reader comes to a story for the first time only once. A story is an experience. I want that first experience to be meaningful, to feel as though it’s really happening.
This is why I don’t send out a zillion copies of the first draft of my books. It’s why I don’t post the writing as I go. I want my fiction–a novel, a short story–to be as good as good as it can be before being released into the wild. I want you, dear reader, to be swept off your feet. Only a fully-realised work of art can do that.
You’ve been very patient in the matter of Hild. But she is on the way. Stay tuned.
6 thoughts on “Agile novel development”
Nicola – I so appreciate your care as a wordsmith to polish the work before releasing it into the wild. Part of the life-long love of reading is the anticipation — I wouldn't trade that for instant gratification, ever! The sharing of your process, however, with the blog for Hild has been wonderful.
You seem to have an new agent, is that related to your upcoming new book?
Well, you do achieve exactly that. Every one of your books has not gotten put down as soon as I cleared the first paragraph. Your pulled focus from the first line of Ammonite comes to mind. Breathing in the helmet, wide angle orbiting space station. Nicely done, and that is what goes on all through your work.
I'll stop the compliments now so as not to cause a rash on your British hide, but yes, Hild is anxiously awaited.
Pat, OnceSmitten: thank you.
Anon: why yes, as a matter of fact. Much easier to make a book deal with an agent. Much easier to make a fab deal with a fab agent…
This has become an issue in my field — mathematics. On the road to privatizing higher education, there is a push towards agile development of teaching materials.
This, to me, mirrors the replacement of craftsworkers with unskilled assembly line workers.
I don't want Big Mac novels. I want hand-crafted, well-loved work. And I can't even begin to tell you how impatiently I waited for Blue Place to appear!!
Beautiful things take time; I've spent much of the sixty three years of my life learning how to teach calculus. As long as Hild doesn't take you that long :)
Nope. Stay tune for an announcement on Monday 14th…
Comments are closed.