Hello, everyone, Liz Borino here. On January 25, 2012, Gifts from the Past, the third in my Taylor Twins series hits online retailers everywhere. So, I thought, “Hey, I have three novels and a short story out. I must be an expert.” … Are you done laughing? No? I’ll wait. We good? Great.
I’m not an expert, but I do know what works for me, most of the time. Below is the step-by-step to my insanity…I mean my writing.
- Turn off Facebook/Twitter/email and your phone if it’s smarter than you.
- Find a ‘what/if’ question to start out and then answer it. For Expectations (the start of my series) the question was “What if two identical twins had to meet undesirable requirements to procure a very desirable sum of money?”
- Fight the urge to post your question on Facebook.
- Realize that you have to get more specific. No matter what question you decide upon to start your book, the answer will always vary depending on who answers it. What identical twins? Where did they come from? Where are they now? How old are they? What are their hopes, dreams, and struggles? Really get to know the main characters of your books. Get in their heads and then likely they’ll get in yours. This is where it gets really fun.
- Many authors turn to an outline of their plot at this point. These authors are calm, collected, and most of all, organized. I am none of those things. So, after talking to the characters for a while (the time varies, much like dating) I figure out where the story begins, some plot points in the middle, and usually the ending. Some of these things can change while writing. As you get to know your characters and story better some plot points no longer work. Example: the wealthy mother who practices attachment parenting is not going to consider an abortion if she gets pregnant again. No, she’s not.
- Get back on your social media site of choice and connect with other writers. They are valuable resources for mutual encouragement and eventual betas.
- Now, turn off your internet again and limit the use of social media to a specified time in a day. Otherwise you’ll get so caught up in getting and giving encouragement that you won’t get any writing done.
- Now…write. Take those characters and listen, let the outline guide you, but not bind you.
- Let it sit for at least a week, preferably a month if you can stand it. You need to create distance between you and your story to see that it is not in fact perfect. It won’t be. Trust me on this one.
10. Now, edit. The tiny things that don’t quite add up, they need to be fixed because readers are not as dumb as people treat them. You won’t do this just once either. Hopefully you go over it twice. Then, once you believe it can’t get any better, call upon those betas from social media to tell you that in fact it can be better. You may even need to pay an editor.
Here’s what I know for sure: Writing is hard, sweaty, and sometimes bloody work (don’t ask), but it’s worth it. The fact that you want to write a novel means that you feel you have something important to share with the world. A story can inspire the masses, or just one person. Either way, find a way to share it. Keep doing it, but before you can you must turn off social media.