Photo Diary

How I Write.

DSC_0010, originally uploaded by michael_jecks.

I’m almost there now. I know I have minimum seven more scenes to write, then it’s down to drawing maps, writing the author’s note, and editing, which means hopefully end of next week all will be done.

But it’s the last finessing that matters, I find.

I have to write fast because I always find that the story starts to take me over personally. The excitement of the story comes across, I hope, partly because I find it really exciting to write. If I was to write a thousand words a day, each of them carefully crafted and mulled over, I’d forget what the hell I was writing about quarter of the way into the book.

In fact some years ago I learned that the worst thing I could do while in a book was take time off. If I went away for a weekend, I would invariably forget where I’d put in all the red herrings and cleverer twists of the plot. I learned that if I had a weekend off, it would take up to a week to read myself back into the story. That’s not good!

Nowadays I work flat out, for about two months per title, putting the whole thing down on paper. Each day I read through much of what I did the day before, as well as prior scenes to remind myself where I am and why, and then I work. Usually I will achieve a minimum of 5,000 words. Sometimes I will manage 7-8,000 – but never more. If I get to that sort of level, it’s better, I find, to stop, and do something totally different, because if I continue I will achieve nothing the day after. I’ll be too tired.

After the first draft, I rework a little. Usually I need another clear week for this. It’s the finessing part, where I get the characters’ voices to be coherent and consistent scene to scene, where I make sure that there are no major plot holes, no missing red herrings or loose ends to be tied down.

And then it’s the scary period – the time when agent and publisher get their mitts on the thing.

Well, this time I don’t care. Because I’ll be going for a good, long walk. Hopefully in weather like that in the photo. Up to the stone row, then down to the south side of the moors to the longest stone row on Dartmoor – it’s over two miles long!

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