The writing process, where to begin…
… and more importantly how to end.
To plot or not to plot, that is the question. Personally, I find it works better for me if I plot any new piece of work from start to finish. With my first published novel, Land of Midnight Days, I wrote it by the seat of my pants. The result? A complete mish mash of adverbs, exclamation marks, adjectives and gerunds; in other words, a mess. Even so, it held promise, but because I hadn’t thought ahead it wandered to and fro, with plot holes galore, inconsistencies and no ending in sight, before I finally wrestled it into submission.
Of course there are writers who can knock out books without the need to plot out a draft, but I suspect they’re few and far between. I learnt the hard way to draft a plot first, before embarking on the creation of the actual novel. I lost count of how many times I rewrote Midnight, before it melded into a piece of fiction I was reasonably happy with.
The benefits I gained from such hard work, was that I was better prepared when I wrote the second book, Through the Gloaming. The most valuable lesson I learnt, was being able to connect the two books, via the re-use of characters from the original. Also the ability to refer back to previous situations, and introduce new characters, without causing the reader any confusion as to what was going on.
The hardest part of writing a book, for me, is deciding how it should end. It still does cause me problems, but by plotting the story out, from start to finish, it’s made that particular task a little bit easier. Sketching the story out, shows me which paths to take, in order to reach the ultimate destination. Decisions are made as to what situations should stay or go. Which characters work and those that don’t, and are therefore discarded. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth, wailing and tearing of hair, before I finally reached a writing routine that worked for me. Does it work? You bet. 😀