WHAT’S YOUR METHOD?

Ask 100 authors what method they use for writing, you’ll get 105 different answers.  That’s the beauty of our world of writing.  Every author has their own style and method that works for them. So, there is no right or wrong way to write. When I post, I state things as I would do.  I do not speak for every author.

When I start a book, I begin with daydreaming.  I get an idea pop in my big ole’ head, then I form a story around that idea.  I once wrote a book “loosely” based on my crush for Josh Groban, which will NEVER BE PUBLISHED.  But, I started by imagining the two of us singing on stage.  Then I thought, “why would he be singing with me?”  Then I imagined I ran a little community theater and he agreed to sing.  Then, I thought about it.  Why would Josh Groban, Mr. Voice himself, agree to sing at a two-bit town theater?  Hmn, he is a friend of my son’s?  Where did they meet?  I do this until I form the “basic” plot in my head. (As we all know, plots tend to change as you go.)

Once I have the concept down, I daydream about my characters.  I start by completing a character sketch.  Then I daydream about that character, inside and out, until I know that character like I’ve known him or her for years.  I never start a book until each of these characters become real people.  It prevents your characters from being nothing but “talking heads.”

Next, research, research, research.  I don’t just research the topic of the book, but the flora and fauna of the area, the songs that played at that time, the types of cars, the wardrobe, etc.  It certainly allows the reader to visualize the scene when you can create a vivid picture.

Then I begin.  Most writers, not all, will tell you to write without looking back.  New writers look back a lot.  They rewrite the same chapters over and over again.  This really slows down the process, and it can actually keep you from completing your work.  I buzz straight through.  Sure, I change the name of characters along the way, I change the color of their eyes, or the room they are in.  All that gets fixed when you edit.  When I’m tempted to look back or change a previous chapter, I simply type myself a note while I’m writing.  It can be done on a tablet next to your desk, but I like to type it right into my story, so my hands never stop.  For example, I’m currently writing a book called Painting Shadows.  My MC has a scar that she is self-conscious about.  This same MC has been seeing a psych on another matter.  I wanted her to refer to that scar early in her therapy, but I didn’t want to go back to write it in at this time.  So, I did this:  “Nancy raised her hand to hide the scar on her forehead.  (ADD REASON FOR SCAR IN 1ST PSYCH APPT)  She couldn’t stand the way Clara was staring.”

After I whiz through the first draft.  I then edit to make all the corrections and additions.  Then I edit again to make sure the grammar is as good as I can make it.  Then I read it out loud.  Trust me, doing this will help you find all sorts of errors and revisions needed. (It also shows you where a story lags.) Then I rewrite it again.

THEN, I PUT IT AWAY!  I put it away until I do the first draft of my next book.  I refused to allow myself to touch it during this time.  This enables me to read my original story with fresh eyes later.  Man, do you find the errors by doing this.  Then after I rewrite it again, I send it to an editor.  No matter how perfect you THINK your story is, an editor will change it all around and find things that need to be corrected.   Trust them.  They know their stuff.

Well, that’s my method.  What’s yours?

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