I recently answered my first ‘author interview’ (not published yet). One of the questions asked what my writing process was. I hadn’t really thought about before, but when I did, I realized that I did have a writing process and I dutifully answered the question. I may repeat some of that here – hopefully it won’t take away from the interview, which asked other questions too.
Having never thought about it before, it got me questioning what other writers’ processes were.
First piece of advice I found was to write a single sentence, summarizing your book. Sounds simple. But it is not simple, and I couldn’t say it was a challenge that I wanted to complete. To me, a book that can be summarized in a single sentence doesn’t sound like one I’d want to read. A one-page summary is more like it – and that is what I do. A one-page summary of the basic plot. No names, no specific details, just a description of whatever vision it was that made me think ‘That would make a good book’.
The next bit of advice was, umm, oh I don’t care – never really was one for taking advice.
Next is Post-Its!
They represent plot events. They represent character descriptions. If it is a fantasy novel, then they represent, unique things – creatures, foods, places, cultures.
What I like about post-its is that they are very quick to move around, and it takes me a few attempts to get the order of events correct. I inevitably end up adding in more events and characters as I go, and that is easy too.
Then I dive into the writing – and half of my planning becomes forgotten as I get carried away with the world I’m creating. With one novel, I started off planning a single main character, but ended up with not just more than one p.o.v. character, I created parallel story lines that worked towards each other. The post-its remain on the wall, but they grow in number and get moved around.
When there is an event that is very clear in my mind, I write it, even if it is the end of the book. Sometimes writing it down makes it clearer what I need to write to get there, clarifying the earlier events yet to be written.
There is a lot of talk of goals, targets etc. I can see that it is a good idea, and to some extent I try – if I write at least 500 words in an evening, it feels good. But this is a hobby for me, not a job. I have written over 10,000 words in a day. I have struggled to write 100 words other days. What’s my average? Don’t know. Don’t care.
When the first draft is done, it is onto the nervous waiting while a few friends and family read it. It will be rife with errors, but they provide feedback on the plot. This sometimes results in a major re-write. Then it is onto editing, trying to find all those errors – they’re like Pokémon, gotta get ’em all.
A bit of cover design and it’s good to go. Amazon makes it very easy.