A reader asked me if I have a writing routine.
To answer that question, I would say that my methods keep evolving as I go, but here are seven things I do:
- Writers generally fit into two categories: plotters and pantsers. Plotters tend to fully outline their book before they even start writing. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants, having a general story idea, but creating the plot as they go. I’m a little of both.
- I use a one-subject spiral notebook for writing down thoughts which can range from a few sentences to full scenes or chapters (I filled 6 notebooks for Night and Fog). My first drafts used to be hand-written, but now I often work directly on a computer. My biggest challenge is organizing files on the computer (I’m getting better at it, but it could stand improvement).
- I create a data base of historical facts I might want to use in my book. I note the source of the information so I can find it when I need to.
- It’s easy to misspell names, places and things, especially unfamiliar foreign words. So I keep a file page with the correct spelling for when I do my editing.
- I maintain a file with character names and descriptions so that a brunette on page five doesn’t become a blond on page 250 (unless she dies her hair of course).
- To keep my momentum, I keep a page in my notebook I call Go Back and Add or GBA. If I’m stuck on something in a scene, I write a note in my GBA page to remind me to fix it later so I don’t let it stop me from continuing on. I also use it if I have to go back and change something. For instance, if a heroine’s car won’t start because of a dead battery as the zombies are closing in on her in chapter 32, I should show her battery needing a jump start in chapter 2. So as I’m writing the zombie scene, I make a note in my GBA to go back and add that detail in later (I write historical novels, so don’t look for zombie scenes in my books).
- When I finish a chapter, I note the word count, the page count and a short description of what each scene was about. For example:
Ch 8: 2680 words 9pp
S1: Gestapo visits de Jongh home
S2: Elsie and Peggy’s cold call
As I said, my methods are always evolving, so I would be interested in hearing about other writers’ routines.
By the way, if you read Night and Fog and enjoy it, I would be very grateful if you would post a review. I know not everybody likes to write reviews, but they help readers find books that might interest them and they let us authors know what readers like so we can continue improving our work.