People seem to expect that since I started working on my book again in July, I should be at least halfway finished with the manuscript by now. How can I then tell them that in reality, I have not put one word to paper yet. Instead I have been very busy creating a world, populating it with characters, giving those characters lives and backstories. Up to 25 hours a week!
When I started writing fiction, I had no idea about all the things that a writer needs to do before she can start writing. My first draft was not very good, as I hadn’t thought anything through. I’m quite horrified to think what a crappy manuscript I sent to my beta-readers…
No matter, though. It was all a learning process I had to go through and I’m glad I did.
Writing fiction is planning, I find. Even though many writers see themselves more as ‘pantsers’ (as in ‘flying by the seat of your pants’: go with the flow, just start and see where it all ends), I am a real ‘plotter’. I need structure and order. I need to know beforehand where my story is going, before I can put it down on paper. Plotting takes time, but it’s a lot of fun. The pantsers claim that plotting stumps creativity, but that’s not true. Plotting is being creative and using the imagination.
The other day I had a conversation with my hairdresser, sitting in her chair, while she gave me a nice new haircut. Being an avid reader, she had never realised that it can take a long time before a writer actually starts writing the story and was surprised to hear that by now I have been working on my first fiction book for about a-year-and-a-half.
That’s a long time, but the pieces of the puzzle finally are falling into place. Last weekend I murdered my victim! Not yet in words, but I plotted it all out and it felt good.
When people now ask me how my book is doing, I might answer that soon I will be ready to start writing!
Have you ever wondered how writers acually write their books, or do you just enjoy reading books and that’s it?
Related post: Starting from Scratch
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