Writing Process

  • The first process in writing a new story for me is research. I have to say that I love the research almost as much as the writing! I find it easy to get lost in learning about the world that my story is set in, how the characters might live, how historic events impact their lives. I follow the threads of ideas through research, often reading history books, first-hand accounts, watching documentaries, talking to people about a particular aspect and of course looking for information on the internet. I particularly love looking at artefacts of the times, clues to how people lived. In this way, I deepen my story ideas, see how well they might work and find interesting bits along the way that I can incorporate into my storyline.

  • With a new story, before I begin to type on a keyboard, I like to write out a general plan or skeleton of the story. Often I only have a number of main points that I know about the storyline or perhaps about the characters but I use these to scaffold the story and write my way around them. Then I try to get a sense of the story and imagine where it begins.

  • Quite often I have no idea what I’ll be writing when I sit down at my computer. I look out my window usually staring into space but sometimes I find inspiration in my surroundings. Often, I still have no idea as I begin writing but I write anyway and inevitably, a scene develops or a character behaves in a way I didn’t expect. Most of the time, this stays in the manuscript but sometimes I delete it but it’s never wasted and I always have an idea to move forward with.

  • I write best in the morning after the children have gone to school and the house is quiet! I don’t play music when I write but just relish the peace and quiet to focus on an idea or thought or to nut through the most recent problem. Often these solutions come to me while I’m cooking dinner or driving, some other activity where my brain isn’t engaged in something difficult, even cake decorating!

  • I write four days a week and I try to stick to my daily or weekly word count. Even if I think what I’m writing isn’t quite right, I continue on until I’ve reached the number of words that day. I don’t go back to edit while I have a word count to meet that week. It’s the only way I’ve found I can get through the first draft of a novel in a reasonable time. Once the first draft is done, then I go in and edit.

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