A Life After A Life After All
A Life, After A Life, After All
Life's road has many detours and I'd like to share with you, in my second blog, the process of my experience, writing my first books. As you read in my first blog, I knew what I was writing about in the first chapter of the trilogy I’d started. What next? I had no idea how anyone else wrote, so I tentatively stepped onto the most exhilarating learning curve of my life.
There were important decisions to be made. That dangling carrot, just out of reach became my goal, but I quickly realised if I actually caught it; game over for me. This being a totally new experience, I decided not to make any monumental plot or character decisions and run with whatever popped into my head. I’d already scrapped four thousand words once, which changed everything and set me on a more exciting road. Did it hurt to kill my creations? No. I wasn’t scared to hit the delete button now. It obliterated what sounded rubbish, so fast -- feeling a fool lasted for a second and it was gone – leaving the carrot back in my thoughts and just out of reach; begging me to catch it again.
Once the trilogy books were finished, I wanted to write a series and decided to attack it the same way, because it was thrilling for me to write like that; by the seat of my pants. I wrote a sentence with an idea that appealed to me and came up with a good title; hoping it would keep everyone guessing and intrigued. I sat down and opened up a Word document and typed whatever came into my thoughts, waiting seconds for the next branch to grow from it – that process sending me on a diverse path with no idea where it was going or where it would end.
Don’t get me wrong; I went back when I’d finished a scene and filled in and deleted things which halted the flow. It was totally unexpected I could write this way and I quickly found out, I couldn’t do it, if there were any distractions. Focus for me is key. When I’m writing, I sometimes look sideways to make sure I’m still in my room. It’s like being in a dark tunnel, with only the screen in my vision and thoughts pouring out of my head. I touch-type, thank God, and the flat bed of the notebook I write on has sped that up, too.
Writing Crime fiction is very challenging, but I love it even more than creating the first three books. I have to be more disciplined because I want the books to read fast and not seem laboured.
I’ve found a formula that works for me. I keep a list of characters, noting when they’re introduced into the books, and leave chapter and page numbers beside them. I’ve got four books inside my head and they run on, from one to the other, without a break. I’m always referencing conversations the characters have had in the earlier books, and I have to be able to recall every detail quickly, so the reference on their locations in the texts has been invaluable.
I won’t pretend it’s been easy – It’s not. I write large 5 or 6 thousand word chapters and then write a synopsis, so I can refer back to it quickly and not have to trawl through the books looking for something. I couldn’t write a short book if I tried. All of them have been over 130,000 words and if I’m away from it for any length of time, I read the last two or three chapters to get my head back into their world, before carrying on. I may have read each book fifty times, before they’re finished, ensuring continuity isn’t lost, as that could ruin everything for the reader.
I’ve written them in a way so that all of the books, even from the middle of the series, reads like a stand-alone book. It’s the only way I can work it and not get in a muddle.
I hope the formula I use may help someone, who’s stepping onto that learning curve for the first time, like I did. It’s worth it to develop a system that works for you. Sticking to it and developing mine has brought me tremendous joy, so I can assure you it’s worth the struggle.