The Process

If you haven’t realized by now, writing is hard. One of my acquaintances recently described it as a monumental task. He was talking about writing a book, and not necessarily a novel.

I’m strictly a novelist and it’s my nature which drives me to be such more than it is my preference. This may come off as weird or possibly arrogant, but writing non-fiction is a turn-off for me. Perhaps that’s immature but with half a century of life behind me, I have to argue. When it comes to entertainment, I’d rather be entertained than moved, but if the story is familiar or has a wholesome idea behind it, I’ll usually give those a shot. No matter what form of media, books, movies, music, whatever. Still, I’ve not had a perfect life so the analyzation of imperfections I’d rather reserve for the drinking hours, if at all.

But this is about my process, the process I use to write a novel, which is evolving constantly. This is also an advertising shot since that’s in my bucket of responsibilities as well. But, my goal is to leave you with some insight about this craft without sounding holier than thou since I’m a long way from being considered a Veteran of this game.

As you can see from the pictures accompanying this post I use a lot of notebooks. For me, it’s about motivation more than it is about strategizing. Or even plotting. I’m not discounting either especially not plot since your story will likely not make sense without it. But most of all what I’m employing when I take notes, read them, analyze them, is a focus on the story within the novel.

What makes a novel a novel most of all is its intrinsic link with the very meaning of the word. Although millions have been written, they are each unique and special in their own way. From the story that is told and how it extends the author’s mind to the readers and follows through to the book’s design, layout, and cover. It’s all about creating something no one has seen or read before and presenting it (the writing) in a way that either overwhelms the reader or satisfies their hunger for what the novel’s presentation offers.

It’s a huge task to accomplish, and one which is usually not carried out daily unless one is already established. Although, the more you write, the better you get, so speed and efficiency will eventually be yours to wield as well.

First Phase – You love the idea of it.

I write one word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, at a time. Most of the books I’ve written so far have been somewhat easy to articulate while in the first stages of this process. I can come up with a few thousand words pretty easily in the beginning, a minor spurt of enthusiasm which I ride all the way to its grave. Right around Part II of the novel, things change, buyer’s remorse sometimes occurs, and there can be moments when the idea isn’t as good as it was initially.

Such is to be expected especially if you are indeed an Author because most likely you’re on your own at this stage of the development. This is where the notebooks come in handy. They help with regaining your focus and further ideas and plots sometimes become obvious once the material has had a chance to build up.

After I’ve regained my composure from the unbelievable dread I sometimes get after committing to such a project, what comes next is a rather defined focus on what it is I’m trying to tell. My most recent publication is titled A Vampire’s Tale, but it’s also a cop’s story, and the story of a lonely guy, and the story of an aged and wise warrior. Three harrowing characters wrapped around the idea of a set of Manuscripts that can decide the fate of the Vampire world.

So, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have some free time on my hands. My son is grown. I have no wife, and everyone I know is either retired or shortly on their way. That’s the edge I have which helps a great deal since there isn’t much pressure other than what I put on myself. The con to such a situation is that it’s entirely up to me to get it done. I have no editor in my back pocket, nor illustrator, although I can handle that part, nor a simple beta-reader. It’s my ship alone in which I sail across these seas. Which makes it kind of an adventure, which isn’t that bad, but I’ve had plenty so when the waters are calm, I’m certainly appreciative of it.

Second Phase – The many storms, and many trailing calms

Once I begin pecking away at the second and third parts (I like the 3-part story structure) my mind begins to wander towards other aspects of this domain. How to sell it or if it will sell? Will I find an editor this time around? Hmm, maybe my baby sister will beta-read for me?

Worries and doubts by the shitload is what I find myself buried in and before long the writing has morphed into a bout of drinking and sobbing while dust gathers upon my keyboard.

Another storm which always passes, resolving into a calm which is most enjoyable.

For me, this phase is about will, cunning, a measure of skill, and most of all focus. You’ve dedicated yourself so most likely you’ll eventually get it done. But life can always declare the priority, so sometimes the writing has to wait. This means when you return to the workbench, you may be overflowing with joy once you’ve returned, or you might be a little slighted. Because writing is not only about translating your idea or your story into words onto paper, it’s also about translating your association with the world.

The storm that brought you here won’t be the last. The key is to get better at riding out the storm or if possible, avoiding the storm altogether. No one can control the weather yet, except a character in my upcoming Novella, COMPUTORS, so you just have to get used to it. Just remember that it will pass and how you rebound is what shapes and defines you into a better writer.

Third Phase – Packaging it up

By this time, I’m well into Part III and pondering the ending of the book. At the same time, marketing and promotion of the book are heavy on my mind as well as the final cover and if I can attain some of the resources I need. Sometimes some procrastination finds its way onto my ship, at which time we’ll have our usual friendly discussion about the value of life and just who the hell’s in charge here before I throw him overboard. At this stage, Rum is my preferred solution to such ailments.

Regardless of how long this phase takes it’s the time to relax, ease back, and try to give the work a fresh pair of eyes. As indie authors, most of us aren’t under any kind of deadline other than the ones imposed by whatever responsibilities we have in our daily lives. So, taking your time is the best advice I can give you. It can wait. The longer you take the better it will be, and before you know it, you’ll have another jewel for your shelf if no one else’s.

End Products

That’s the process for now. It will change because life does whether we want it to or not.