Oh, what’s that you say? You’ve never read one of my books before? That’s because I am not a famous author. My books do not appear in any library or bookstore anywhere. It’s hard to get your hands on a book when it doesn’t exist! Even so, I’m going to talk a little bit about my writing process today.
- An idea usually floats around in my head for awhile before it ever gets close to a piece of paper. Most likely, I have thought about it a lot while in the shower! And when I can’t get to sleep at night, I start plotting in my head. For some reason, this helps me sleep!
- I like to write the types of books that I read, so my books have a YA vibe – fast paced, teen or college-age characters, with some humor and romance.
- I’ll use some online name generators and baby naming websites to help name characters.
- For some projects, I’ll have to do research. For example, one of my projects is a historical thriller à la Steve Berry/Dan Brown that intertwines a modern day story with Queen Elizabeth I, so I needed to learn a lot about Queen Elizabeth. I printed copies of the information I found, highlighted them, and made notes of anything that was useful to me. I also printed off information about how succession of the crown works.
- A very basic plot line will help me map out what I want the story to do, but this often changes as I start writing.
- Jotting down notes of character descriptions and settings (sometimes even using Google Maps) helps me stay consistent as I write.
- Even though I really love my laptop and tablets, I usually start out with a handwritten copy of my story. This gives me the ability to doodle as I get stuck, and keeps me away from the very distracting internet.
- The exception to this was when I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2013. I didn’t have time to write and type it all up later, so I did all the writing on my laptop.
- Writing a rough draft takes a LONG time. I’ll often reach a point and get STUCK. This makes me want to give up, but eventually I’ll figure out a way to get the story back on track.
- After I’ve written a nice big chunk of story, I type it up and print it out. Then I go through and mark it up. I add missing details or more interesting word choices, cut anything that isn’t necessary, and move lines around so the story makes more sense. I also continue writing and add on to the story.
- I’ll basically stay in this revising/drafting/revising/drafting loop for awhile.
- Another thing I’ve started doing is making my story available to read on my Kindle and tablets so I can see if I enjoy my story. Am I writing something I’d like to read? Am I writing something other people would like to read?
- I don’t bother editing until the story is finished or close to being finished. Again, I print the document and mark it up. I especially watch out for verb tenses. And those darn adverbs that keep filling up the page!
- I’ll also refer to grammar sites online to make sure my punctuation is correct and that my metaphors are worded correctly.
- I also circle words that are overused and search for more interesting words with thesaurus.com.
- Sometimes I’ll take a break when I get stuck and work on cover designs instead. This is a good way to feel productive…without actually writing!
- When I’ve gone through the entire writing process and feel proud of the work I’ve accomplished, I use Blurb to create a real copy of my work.
So while I’m a long way off from becoming a bestseller, I really enjoy working on my writing projects. It also helps me understand and appreciate the talent and hard work that must go into all of the books I read every year. Writing a novel is not easy, and anyone who says it is probably hasn’t tried it themselves!
What are your tips and tricks for writing a book?