Ok, so we’ve all wrote a story at some time or another. Whether it’s a school report or as a writer. But have we ever sat down and thought about the steps it takes to write a story, good or bad?
As a writer I’ve got several things I do. First, I’ve got to be inspired. I have people all the time telling me to write about this or that. Well, for me it doesn’t work that way. It’s got to come to me in one way or the other. Sometimes it’s in a dream or just a daydream. Those are the best. My novel “Ghost Lover” came to me in a dream. Well most of it anyway. It was as though I was possessed by the stories and characters. They ruled my life for a while as I put the thoughts in my laptop.
Second, most of my books have had a general outline. When a story idea comes to me I immediately try to sit down with pen and paper and write down the story in outline form. This way I don’t forget the basics. It would be nice to sit in one sitting and write a finished novel. If you have, please relay the story to me? What’s funny is sometimes as the story evolves so does the outline. Most of the time I make each line in the outline into a whole chapter.
Third I write a character sketch. As I get older my memory slips some 🙂 I hate to constantly be going back in the story to remember a name or place. As I add to a character or introduce a new place or person I write it down. This helps speed up the process.
Fourth, now this is the important part. If you’re writing and you lose the momentum in a certain spot, just make a note of a key spot to come back to. Then go forward and most of the time that inspires you to go back and finish the lost spot. Most of the time continuing the story helps. I usually know the outcome of the part, but the middle is somewhat fuzzy. Writing the ending helps to give you inspiration for the middle.
Fifth, keep the interest. Don’t give away the ending mid way. That really makes a story dead to me when I’m reading a book and the author gives away the whole story by the middle of the book. Then the ending just goes stale. So keep the momentum building. Maybe even have several momentum building moments that build on each other.
Sixth, the writing process does not end with the words “The End”. I’ve said this in several blogs. It is very important to read your story to yourself, even out loud. If you just finish and hand it to your editor, you’ve left off a big step. Every time I read a story over it brings on extra thoughts. I’ve added whole chapters just in one reread. Do it, don’t leave it to the editor. You’re the writer, take charge.
Seventh, Now that you’ve reread and rechecked details, now you’re ready to hand it to the editor. To me this step is the hardest, you’ve got to write a description. How on earth do you condense a huge novel or even a short novella to a couple of lines? Well, make sure you leave the reader guessing. If you give away the whole plot on the back of the book why would they want to read the book itself?
Eighth, so the writing is over, the editor has it and you’ve got the description. Now if you haven’t already set up the cover, now’s the time. Make sure the cover has something to do with the book. A vampire on the cover isn’t good if the book is about a horse ranch. Make it interesting and eye catching. Yes, you’ve got to pay a little to get the good pictures, but it’s well worth it. My first couple of covers were totally stocked pics from office. Not cool!. After they were published I said “YUCK”. My editor is an awesome cover designer. I tell her what I have in mind and she usually finds the pictures for me based on my idea. What’s funny is the latest book ‘Rekindled Flame’ had a completed cover before I was anywhere near finished.
Ninth, now just sit back and wait for the finished product. Go publish it and enjoy the knowledge that you’re a published author. Don’t worry at this moment if someone likes your work. Just check that off your bucket list. Wait a little while before you worry about if people like your work. Remember you’re going to have those that don’t like your style writing and others who love it. Go with you gut and enjoy yourself. If you get nothing but bad reviews you might want to recheck your work, but if you get good and bad then you’ve probably done alright.
These are just the steps I go through, maybe you do your steps totally different.
As always, good writing and May God Bless You!