There are lots of different ways to write books, but there’s only one way that I’m intimately aware of…and that’s my own method! So what is my method, exactly?
Well, the answer is that it’s evolved over time.
When I wrote my first book, I started an outline. Just a few bullet points per chapter, all the way up to the middle-ish part of the book. Then I started writing. My focus was task-oriented. This happened, then this, then this. Not a whole lot of thought on themes, or character arcs, or any of that good stuff. I was just trying to get through it…flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak.
Needless to say, I rewrote it oh, about eight times over in the next 5 years before publishing it.
By the time I wrote Hunter of Legends, I was focusing more on themes first, with character arcs and the magic of the world set first before going too much into detail about what happened. I only knew the beginning, a scene in the middle, and the scene at the end. Everything else was filled in on-the-fly.
Seeker of Legends involved lots of characters and plots coming together simultaneously, and took a bit more planning.
For my newest series, I spent a year-and-a-half thinking about it before putting pen to paper. Then I bought a little notebook and wrote a few dozen pages of little notes. Snippets of scenes, magic, character arcs, humor, etc. Then I made a complete outline. Then - and only then - I began writing. And unlike any of my other books, where I just wrote until I finished, then read it and edited it, I’ve been going back and editing the whole book over and over again after completing a few chapters.
My day-to-day technique for finishing 2-3 books a year is simply to write something every day that I physically can. I average anywhere from 3-7 pages a day over each month, depending on how much free time I have. A first draft running 150,000 words takes me 2.5 to 5 months to finish now, and I spend a good 2-3 months editing before I publish. The physical act of formatting and publishing a book (both ebook and paperback) takes me about 2 hours. It took 2 weeks the first time I did it!
Every book I write now has been brewing in my brain for at least a year-and-a-half to two years before I start writing. I order a book cover six months in advance before I even start writing, and have to finish by the time the book cover is due to be done. Helps to keep my nose firmly on the grindstone!
So that’s my process in a nutshell. What’s yours?