While I’m waiting to hear news about my first book which is under submission to a publisher, I’m working on my next book.
My first book has taken about five years to write, starting from when it was initially a picture book. I will never, ever, ever write a book like that again! I had an idea, wrote it in two sittings as a picture book. Then I grew it into a middle-grade book by writing 500 words a day at 5.30 in the morning before the kids woke up. I had no idea where it was going, I didn’t know anything about my characters before I started and I had no knowledge about how to structure a book at all.
So this time, I’m doing the complete opposite! I’m spending months daydreaming and planning. I’m going through my writing books, answering prompts on theme and setting and secondary characters. I’m drawing mindmaps and taking long baths. I’m writing lists about the things I do know and lists about the things I don’t know.
I’m hoping to finish my planning by the end of the month, then start writing. The writing is the easy part – when you know where you’re going!
This is both a daydreaming and a planning stage. The daydreaming comes about when thinking about the main character and what he wants most in the world, who will stop him and how all that will unfold.
The planning part is thinking about where all the events will fit into the structure of the book. What happens that disturbs the protagonist from his usual life and propels him into action? What happens in the middle of the book to turn everything around and surprise both the protagonist and the reader? Will the protagonist triumph over the antagonist at the end?
I’m having a great time because it’s so creative. Some days I write pages and pages of notes, some days I reread a writing book. Every single time I move my story forward because I have a flash of insight about why a character is behaving a certain way or I have an idea about where I could place a particular scene. And even though at times it seems like I haven’t achieved anything – I can’t say I’ve written 1,743 words today – this book is starting to take shape, even if it’s all in my mind and notebook at the moment.