Since word got out about the publication of my debut novel, the support around me grew and grew. Obviously, the amount of people signing the pre-order list to bag their copy before the release date was a huge show of backing for my novel. I then had messages of congratulations, people who don’t read buying a copy because it was me, but one thing that stuck out was the messages I received seeking advice. It turns out so many people out there want to write a book they just don’t know where to begin.
I had messages from people asking about how much planning is needed. Some didn’t have the confidence. Some had ideas but didn’t know how to get it down onto paper.
My advice? Just write. It’s pretty simple, and some would argue very obvious, in the way I go about it.
Of course, I plan. I begin a notes page on a Word Document in which I write character profiles in detail, outlining exactly the kind of person that each character is. If my novel involves a series of dates then I turn an A4 sheet sideways and create a timeline so that everything is accurate. I roughly gauge how long my chapters are going to be. So it goes without saying that there is a fair amount of planning before I begin but I never get too hung up on this.
After that, I just write. And write and write and write.
I don’t necessarily know the ending. I have an idea, but I can tell you in my experience so far having written two novels – it always changes. Things develop as I go, my personal circumstances may change or something in my life happens which influences events in the book. I might be doing something one day or listening to someone tell a story when an idea strikes me and develops my plot line.
My writing process is a journey as much as I wish to take my readers on a journey.
But if you’re sitting there stuck with where to begin, my main advice would be, and Dawn O’Porter says it too, WRITE.