Nevertheless, I promised to continue my yet-to-be-award-winning series on my particular writing process. Last blog post, I explained how I get ideas for novels. This post, I will describe what I do once I have the idea. I'm not suggesting here that this is the best or only way to proceed; rather, this is what has worked for me. Indeed, this is what I see happening time and time again when I'm beginning a new book.
A lot of writers I know like to construct elaborate outlines of a book and follow their outlines religiously, allowing for an occasional detour. Not me. I generally have the whole idea in my head when I begin. I know where I'm going and the basic direction. However, exactly how I will get to the end and what I may discover along the way that I haven't thought of in the early stages is always interesting. By the time I reach about 10,000 words, I'm sure of how the story will end. I have changed the ending from my original idea in only a couple of my books.
By this point, I have also listened to a lot of music and may have constructed a soundtrack, music which fits the scenes or which establishes the mood for scenes. I use music A LOT to aid my writing. Film music or music for video games works best, depending on the genre of the book. During the course of writing I will listen to the same set of music countless times and will be sick of it by the time I finished the final editing.
The post-apocalyptic plague novel I mentioned above is still in this exploratory phase, where I'm writing to see what ideas come to the forefront, what possibilities appear. A few stories end in this stage while others go on to be completed. If I don't hit some pay dirt at around the 10,000-words threshold, it's probably going to just sit on my computer forever.
I've found that, when I'm going to the day job, I seem to get more writing done by typing between classes than I do at home with a lot of free time, such as over a weekend. Yes, it depends on how deep into the story I am. I know the book is a 'go' when I'm thinking of the story - what happens next, or something I need to go back and put in - all through the day.
Now that I have time, maintaining the solitary confinement only a madman would put himself through, I find it difficult to be productive. Clearly I'm not far enough into the new book to let it pull me to the keyboard constantly. But we will get there.
I also have anxiety about the launch of my "current" novel, which has been pushed back due to the way this medical situation has filled everyone's minds with worry and fear. No room for something else, such as a new novel to read. However, some author friends have advised me that this is a good time to put out a new book because everyone has time to read, and wants something to fill their days. There is a fine line between adoring and abhorring this brave new whirly-bird.
Next post: getting the voice of the story.
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