"You're too young to know what love is. You don't love me. You're infatuated with me." -- Sir Aric, The Prince's Knight

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Writing Process

Currently I'm concentrating on revising/rewriting Thief in the Night, so today I was thinking about my writing process and what I usually go through for each book. At times I can be a horribly slow writer, but there are plenty of reasons for that. For one, I have a full-time job and other interests to occupy my time. But other things slow me down too, so I thought I'd share how I write a book from beginning to end.

Step 1: I come up with a great new idea and can't wait to get started. I can usually pound out between one and three chapters (each between 2,000 and 4,000 words long) before I get stuck and realize I need to come up with a plan for how the characters get from Point A: The Beginning to Point B: The Ending.

Step 2: Now comes the planning stage. I use a pen and paper for this step because I'd rather plot stuff out that way. It's easier to jot down random notes. Most times I have an idea of how long I want the story to be before I sit down in front of the computer, but that figure can fluctuate, so I don't worry about how many chapters I'll need to reach my word count goal. But I do have to come up with a bare-bones plot in this step. The plot might eventually change depending on what my character encounters, but it's good to have a plan, and a goal to work towards.

Step 3: Back to the computer. Now comes the frustrating part of getting my characters to jump through these hoops I've created for them. The middle of a book is often the hardest for a writer. It's easy for me to envision the beginning and the end, but oftentimes I have no clue what the middle looks like. That's why Step 2 is so important. Now armed with an idea of what's going to happen in subsequent chapters, it's easier to sit down and write the book one chapter at a time.

Step 4: The Ending. Don't think that means that the book is done. Not by a long shot. Once I've written it from beginning to end, and usually gotten a few critiques to let me know what works and what doesn't, I usually go back and start to rewrite the whole dratted thing. This involves more planning. I take into consideration the reviews I've received and implement the suggestions I've gotten if they make sense in the story.

Step 5: Rewrites. I'm never happy with a first draft. I always know when something needs work and it drives me crazy if I don't follow all the steps to make something the best it can be. I go through a rewriting stage, where I rewrite most of the book, sometimes from scratch as is the case with Thief in the Night, since I originally wrote the first chapter from a secondary character's point-of-view. After rewrites, it seems much more natural to tell it from the main character's point-of-view. I'm also working on huge rewrites with both Avery and the Devil and Blood Rage. This part doesn't usually take as long as writing the book in the first place though, because let's face it, the book is written. I know how the plot is going to turn out and what happens in the middle. This process is basically just for rewording. Sometimes I'll insert extra scenes or chapters to make things make sense. This is also my favorite step because next comes:

Step 6: Submission. I'm really looking forward to finishing up Thief in the Night and submitting it to my publisher of choice. Thief was originally contracted with Forbidden Publications, and sure it was an okay story when I submitted it to them. But after the revision process it will be a whole lot better. That's the plan anyway. Originally only five chapters long, with 11,000 words, I think it's going to end up being longer than that. I've rewritten two chapters so far, and arrived at the same point it took me one chapter to get to before. Does this mean it's wordier? I guess so, but in a necessary way as I dig deeper in an attempt to get to know my characters. Can't wait to share them with the world!