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On Process

A quicky - I'm on my way out the door for some writerly things.

When I wrote my first book, I followed a linear pattern. One scene led to the next, to the next. I edited in a linear fashion. I didn't plot - but I already knew most of what was planned. I did much the same for Sunset Over Abendau.

For my third book, Inish Carraig, I did a bit more swapping around of scenes, but still the linear fashion was what I followed.

At no point since Heir have I enjoyed a first draft. In fact, I hate them. They slip on me. I don't know the story or the voices or where it's all going. I grit my teeth to get to the end and then, essentially, I go back and start again.

This week, I found myself stucker than usual and I've changed things a little. I now have a list of scenes I think need to be in the main book. I still don't know the ending, or who-dunnit (it's that sort of book) or the plot details. But I know what some of the key scenes will be. So I'm writing them. As and when they take my fancy. 100 words here, and 300 there. A 1200 scene dropped in, another bookmarked with just the feel and hope for it.

I've found it very freeing. It's brought back a lot of the fun. I don't need my first draft to look like the finished book, I've realised. I can spend that time getting to know the characters and the gentle reveal. I'm not sure if it's because I'm a more confident writer, that this is working, or that I just needed to change my approach to the one part of the process I struggle with. I do know it's great to play around and find something that works for me.

Now, I've been lazy and haven't posted for a while, and let guests do my work. Normal service resumes next week and I'm pondering on whether most writers can ever make a living at this or does the changing market mean it's even less likely than in the past. In short, I'm pondering on whether we need to keep the day job. All thoughts welcome.


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