Welcome back to my series where I share how I write a book.
A little informative. A lot entertaining, hopefully. A bit of insight into how my creative brain works.
This process is different for everyone. And hearing how each writer approaches their work is fascinating.
So parts 1-3…I’ve had an idea, which grew and threw a tantrum until it got all my attention. I wrote all the notes I could, from characters, to the theme, to scenes, to the story, to the world until a voice in the back of my head called for me to JUST WRITE THE THING.
I pushed through my fear of messing it all up and wrote that dreaded first chapter.
Once that first chapter is down and I acknowledge that I’ll have to rewrite it a million times (and who cares, been there done that, right?), I can move forward.
I CAN WRITE ALL THE WORDS.
Now that doesn’t mean it all flows out in an easy wave. Some scenes come pretty fast and others like to torment me. Some days I write 0 words and others 3000…that’s right, I don’t write every day. Don’t want to. I have a family who I kinda like. I have places to go. You ever see those tweets where someone wrote 10,000 words that day, yeah, that’s never me. Never. If I write 1000 words, I am a very happy camper.
Though I never know how many words have been added until the end of the day, until just before I close the word doc. If you remember, I keep my word count covered while I write, otherwise I focus on that tiny number in the corner of the screen and not on what I’m doing. At the end of the day, I peel back the paper and write that number on my calendar. Whether it’s 1 or 1500, I watch the word count grow.
All words are good words.
Seriously, in the first drafting stage…ALL WORDS ARE GOOD WORDS.
I write them. One after the other. As I write a scene, the next one comes into focus. Characters show up, they talk, they cause things to happen, they reveal who they are. I’m pretty sure aliens beam the story into my brain or faeries magic it into being.
As each chapter is crafted, I write down what happened in a notebook. Helps me keep track of where my brain wandered.
I write linearly (is that a word?). Every scene is in order. I even write the transitions, though I find those the most difficult. I leave myself notes to check world building, to check what someone said previously, to write something better later, to add more detail.
What great notes I leave myself. Future me loves it.
That mess of chaotic notes from part 2? You’ll find my flipping through pages like a maniac, searching for one bit of information I scribbled in the margins somewhere. I rip out pages to shove them in-between other pages to keep like information together. I look through my list of scenes all the time, checking to make sure I’ve included the things I want. The computer glares at me as I dive into the chaos. But it’s all part of the process.
A process of typing…
of giving up…
of searching through the chaos of scribbles…
of letting my brain work on the story even when I’m at the store or working out or falling asleep…
And I write. Chapters whisper when I have reached their end. New scenes emerge. The story develops. The story changes, grows into what it is meant to be. I make a list of what to check and what to add when I revise.
And this goes on and on…for months. Until I reach the end.
And have a first draft. The longest, hardest part for me. Filling the blank pages. It feels darn good to have a first draft. I’ve piled all the sand in the sandbox and have what I need to work with.
What’s next? Stay tuned…