Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Writing a novel: Day one

So, I thought it might be interesting to document my writing process for Neon City. I'm not sure how this will go, but it may highlight the highs and lows and triumphs and failures that pretty much every writer, I'm sure, will go through. Perhaps you're a reader, interested to see how an author plans and sets about achieving that mountain of a goal: writing circa 60,000 words (or more). Or maybe you're a fellow writer, looking for ways to avoid slipping up, giving up or otherwise WRITE!

I know I do that a lot.

Yet when I knuckle down, it does flow. I've now written - pinch skin - four novels. Would I give any of them 5 stars? No. But I'm hoping I would to the next one: Neon City. And if not that one, then the one after that.

All that is to say: I've been here before and just want each book to be better than the previous one. What I like about that is the formatted document is already done - sitting here with a title and spaces for copyright and chapter listings, and the oh-so-friendly About the Author at the end. I just need to fill the massive gap between.

I'm an indie author doing rapid release, so this book needs to be written in just a few weeks. I've given myself six. Other indies write more quickly, and slowly, have editors, don't have editors - whatever works for them. I write to this scale and have done since Nanowrimo a couple years ago, because it worked for me. I was inside the story every day. I believe that helped continuity of character.

I also write and copyedit in my full-time job, so I'm skilled at editing on the go. An editor colleague also reads and offers a proof. It would be great to afford a third edit on my novels in the future!

So that's 60,000 words in ~6 weeks, give or take. 10,000 words a week. My best day is 5,500 words - so it's easily achievable. I have a vague outline in place of where I want the plot to be, and 3 main characters pencilled out, and that's enough for me. So far, for each of the Neon series, I've set the first act up as an intro to location, mixed with mystery and a sense of foreboding. It will be no different here.

Time to get to know Xi Chen - my MC #1! I use an excel spreadsheet to outline the plot, but I rely on my characters to tell me where to go. As I get to know them, I often find myself cutting and pasting sections out or in, moving them around, or just shutting it down and letting the plot flow. Something I'm taking from the first three Neon books is complexity of character. Complexity of morality. Nothing, and no one, is black-and-white. And that's sci-fi at its core. I'm looking forward to mixing in a bit of cyberpunk.

Day Two

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