…is that all authors have different processes and none of us are the same…
Still relevant now and worth re-sharing.
From September 2014:
At the Saturday signing in London, we had a very brief chat about the writing process. And I don’t mean how much coffee/tea we drunk, but a quick show of the process we use. Charlie Cochrane was saying she focused on scenes, and I said that wrote in a very linear style, starting at page one and typing away, others said they planned the whole book with notes on each chapter.
A lot of us agreed we left gaps *insert sex here* ROFL…
There are so many different ways of writing and eventually, as an author, I guess you find the one that is right for you.
I know a couple of authors who post-it-note the entire book so that they can switch scenes and so that they have a purpose in their story direction.
I admitted that wouldn’t work for me, and Anna Martin was on the same page. We are clearly both easily bored. If I plan a story I lose interest, like in my head I know how it goes so I can’t be bothered writing it. I learn my characters as they go along, others know their characters. We are all different.
Which brings me onto Texas 6, Texas Fall, which is a step away from the way I normally write. Without meaning to it will, by its very nature, become a book with scenes in my head at the start. But this works, because I know Jack and Riley, and they don’t ever lead me astray.
I would love to sit down with other authors and find out how they write. Do they post-it-note and know in advance the entire story? Do they have the big scenes drafted and then spend time linking those scenes? Or do they do what I do and make it all up as they go along. It was incredibly interesting to see the split in the small group (we hijacked Charlie’s reading – sorry Charlie).
On the same subject, I tried out Scrivener. This is a program that I know a lot of authors use to work out the order in their novel and to have focused chapters, and even parts of chapters, that they can move around as they need to. A bit like a cork board.
I tried it, and it worked, for the most part, to get my head around the first few chapters of Last Marine Standing.
Then it stopped working for me, in a quite spectacular fashion. Today.
I realized I was changing my writing style.
Instead of flowing and creating the story as I was writing, I saw that actually what I was doing was writing in *chunks*, deliberately creating half-chapter size blocks that I could move if I wanted to.
That didn’t work for me. That isn’t me. So I exported the whole lot from Scrivener into word and now I am happy.
So… I am adding Scrivener as a tool that I can use in planning, and getting the beginning of the book sorted, but other than that I am sticking to Word.
However, the other thing I am trialing, and loving (!) is Aeon Timeline… more to follow on that one soon…
Update May 5th, 2019
I moved right away from Scrivener, I just couldn’t get my head around using it, as I don’t switch scenes around, etc – even as a Mac user, I still use MS Word to physically write my books.
I also use the following in support:
Aeon Timeline – the title says it all – it’s a way of managing the timeline, character ages, profiles, scenes, BUT I don’t use it to plan – I use it and update it as I write along.
GoodNotes on my iPad/iPhone to scribble down ideas etc (I can also doodle in this which is all kinds of cool!) – https://www.goodnotes.com/
One Stop For Writers a brilliant tool for character inspiration & emotion
Things I have tried and would recommend but don’t use much now:
I’m trying to pull all this kind of thing together in one place and you can find the beginnings of the directory here: