Open Book Blog Hop – Losing the Plot

Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop!

Today’s topic is: What is your process for writing? Plot, then write? Edit as you go or not until you’ve reached the end of the story? Figure out your characters first? Something else?

And remember to pay a visit to my fellow writers to see what they have come up with. You can find their works here!

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It would seem the “expected” process for writing a book is to plot it out. Define the characters. Outline the locations. Plan out the narrative plot points. Come up with the plot twists. Some authors create outline documents to keep all of this information in line. Some create impressive spider diagrams or brainstorms to write. I don’t do any of these. I write as and when ideas hit me. Characters might appear from the ether and then become real once I find a place for them in the book. I don’t really plot. I have something of a loose idea going in, basically just an inkling in terms of where I want the story to head. I might have an idea about where it might go along the way, and possibly a few plot points I want to weave in if the narrative allows it. But that is it. I write and find myself thinking “woah” as I uncover the storyline in much the same way a reader does. I often don’t know what is coming next until I arrive there. It makes the process quite exciting for me.

Then comes the editing. This is a process that has evolved for me. When I started out, attempting to write Our Boy Jack, I wrote a handful of chapters, then went back and agonised over them. Tweaked them. Refined them. Then wrote a few more. Rinse and repeat. It didn’t work for me. It broke my flow, and I become almost neurotic about my book, constantly doubting it, changing it, adjusting it. With Chasing Shadows I edited at the end. As The Crow Flies is a little different. I had written quite a bit but then had a long break due to work stress and publishing Chasing Shadows. As a result, I reread what I’d written making edits as I did to tighten the story. As much of it was written straight after Chasing Shadows, I’ve learnt a lot since then, so was able to apply that to what had been written. Now I only edit once I finish the first draft. The only exception is if I change the name of something and want to make it consistent while I think about it.

In fact, when I started out on Chasing Shadows, all I had were characters. Captain Edison Crow and Selah came to me early on. I could see them, their personalities and how they worked with and against one another. From that point onwards, the other characters blossomed from there.

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