Ever wondered how a few scattered ideas turn into a novel? It’s a question I hear every so often, and I suspect the answer is different for every writer. Perhaps even for each book.
Without Proof is my third novel, and I’m still learning what works best for me, in terms of discovering the story. Seeds of this one showed up a long time ago, in a little coil-bound red notepad that I can’t find today. They percolated while I worked on other things, and when it was time to start writing, it looked like this:
For keeping the plot events in order, I played a bit with a great program called Aeon Timeline, but it turns out I need to see a calendar grid. That looked like this:
The writing happened in Scrivener, which is one of my best writing friends. [If you’re doing NaNoWriMo in November and you meet your goal, I think you’ll get discount codes for Scrivener, Aeon Timeline and others. If not, Scrivener gives you a month’s free trial, which should be long enough to convince you.]
I don’t work well with a word count deadline, so I committed to a few hours a day, Monday to Friday, seat in chair, fingers on keyboard, writing. I learned to stop in mid-scene for easier re-start the next day. I’d skim the previous day’s work and make minor tweaks, but instead of editing, I kept following the story.
Until I found my rhythm, the first 100 words were the hardest. Every day. For weeks. There had been such a long period of editing and marketing after writing the early drafts of Secrets and Lies that I was way out of practice. I suspect this will simply be part of the cycle.
The calendar chart helped. One character wanted to do something early, and the chart reinforced my argument that he had to wait. When another character wanted to speed things up, I saw that it could work, so he went ahead.
After finishing the draft, there were revisions, more revisions, and yet more revisions. Professional editing. More editing. More revisions. Early reader comments. More revisions.
Cover and layout design, and the publishing process. [I’m an indie author, so I did this part with the help of Scrivener (ebooks) and CreateSpace (print).]
At the end of the process:
The official print launch will be Saturday, Nov. 7, 2pm at Regal Road Baptist Church in Dartmouth, NS. If you’re near enough to know where that is, you’re invited! Otherwise, check out the Without Proof page if you’re looking for preorder links. (Psst… the paperback is already available online through Amazon.)
Do you write short stories or novels? Scroll down to leave a comment telling us about your creative process.