People often ask me what the key to writing a book is. They haven’t yet but I’m ready with an answer if they ever do. To me the key is organisation, especially if writing isn’t your only job. Any writer, published or self published, has some responsibility to market the book themselves and alongside writing this can be an exhausting task.
If you’re willing/able to pay for such marketing services then it makes your life considerably easier. If not. Then you need to blog, interact on forums, use social media, all of which are time consuming tasks. I have a meticulous daily timetable that I usually formulate at the end of each month for the whole of the following month. It’ll include writing and marketing the books almost on a daily basis, with the flexibility to nudge things back a day or two when into the meat on the timetable if I do fancy a spontaneous social life from time to time.
I’m now realising that it it’s almost impossible to advocate organisation without appearing to be the most boring man on the planet, but I’ll plough on regardless. The organisation process for any book probably differs for each writer, and each writer will hopefully hit upon a method that works for them in terms of productivity. For me I plan meticulously (of course I do). I’ll work on all the characters maybe for a month, developing them and adding in certain dialogue that’d fit as I do so. I’ll then work on the story (although obviously most times I’ll have a vague idea to begin with), adding in any twists and turns as I do so. Love and death are always key pivots on which a story can turn so it’s always worth considering whether that fits into your storyline. From there I will usually put a word document into chapter by chapter format and then try and work things out almost scene by scene. Once all this is fed in it then allows me to play around with the order and re-read relentlessly. I’ll often have a character list and see if any character adds anything to each scene (this is also a process I add in to the edit at the end of the book).
Although I’m promoting the virtues of organisation I’m now going to be a complete hypocrite in the eyes of a lot of you and try and claim that flexibility can complement those intentions. Although the above is a blueprint of how I commonly approach writing a novel I find the process changes each time. When this happens I think it’s important to let things flow in that direction rather to interrupt any creative process in order to implement a plan.