First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who picked up a free copy of Restoration yesterday! As a new author, eyeballs and reviews are far more valuable than dollars. So, if you read it and enjoy it, please do me a HUGE favor and take a moment to post a review on Amazon or (or both!). We all have limited time, and your review might be the thing that convinces someone to invest some of theirs in reading my book.
In Part 1, I talked about the importance of goal setting and time management. I won’t rehash that here except to say if you want to be a successful writer (or almost profession for that matter), set goals!!
A friend recently asked me how I keep track of things like interwoven storylines, logistics, and character development. Specifically, he wanted to know if I fully mapped out the storylines and character backgrounds before writing the novel since, as he put it: “The logistics in the story are very complex – but are fairly easy for the reader to keep up with”.
He was, of course, talking about Restoration, and I took his question as a huge compliment as that is exactly what I hoped to accomplish! The truth is that I don’t have a process for keeping track of all of that stuff. For the most part, I just keep it in my head. Oh sure, I do have some story notes here and there, and I have a bullet list of characters that includes their full names, relationships to other characters and important events…but that’s it.
Here is my approach to writing in a nutshell:
- Come up with a story idea.
- Imagine the main characters and events that are required to drive the story forward.
- Think about the story and characters until it coalesces in my mind with enough clarity that I can “watch it”.
- Watch story play out in my mind…like watching a movie.
- Write what I see, hear and feel until the movie is over (ie. the book is done).
- Go back and re-write as required to clean-up mistakes, improve flow, strengthen dialogue and enhance character depth/interactions.
- Edit, edit and edit again. (This part drives my wife crazy, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Aren’t you done yet?” in the last months of writing Restoration. Each time I’d say “Almost, just one more round of edits and it should be there!”. Note to wife: I love you, baby. Thanks for keeping me on track!)
- Say a prayer, cross my fingers and click “Publish”.
And that’s it…at least that was it for Restoration. For my next books, I am hoping to add one more step in between 7 and 8: 7.1. Give an advance copy to my friends/Beta Readers so they can provide feedback BEFORE clicking “Publish” rather than after.
It’s difficult for an author to see all of their mistakes since our brains tend to show us what we think should be there (at least mine does). Since it’s new material to you, you will probably read it once and find several obvious mistakes. As the writer, I’ve probably read it twenty times and missed it every time!
In order to implement that step, I need a pool of people who love to read, enjoy providing honest feedback and who have the time (and the desire) to invest in someone else’s success. If that’s you, please let me know and I will add you to my list of Beta Readers. There simply is no substitute for another set (or ten) of eyes.
As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!