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The write way... Guest blog part 1

Posted on 19th March 2012

2012 has been very busy for me working with self-publishers and would-be authors so I thought it would be good to get an inside view from an author, editor, and as it happens proofreader, to give his views, advice and nuggets of information on the writing process. Richard Sheehan will be taking over the blog space for the next few entries, starting with his introduction below.
I hope it's of use to you, and any budding writers who have any queries, feel free to get in touch with Richard or me.

Writing a novel is easy, right? Given some free time and a good story - and we all have a story in us, so we're told - anyone can do it. At least that's sometimes how it seems.

The reality is that completing a good novel is an incredibly complex process. Much more so than most people realise and this misunderstanding is one of the reasons why I believe there are so many abandoned novels sitting dormant on PCs and in notebooks.

Many would-be writers begin writing with only a vague idea of how to get to the end of their novel. They start out full of enthusiasm and hope of emulating the Kings and Rowlings of this world and end up either giving up in despair and confusion or completing what is a mish-mash of plot, characters and story bearing little resemblance to their initial ideas.

What I intend examining in these articles is how to take the story in your mind and, by using tools and techniques that are readily available and quite often free, construct a novel that flows, makes sense and, most of all, excites your readers.

Read any book on the 'how to' of novel writing and it'll tell you that there are as many ways of doing it as there are writers. Speak to any writers and you'll discover that this is true to a degree. However, there are lots of common factors in their methods that can be drawn together to simplify things. In my experience, you can usually condense the process down to three main steps.

  • 1 - The planning stage
  • 2 - Writing the novel
  • 3 - Re-writing/revising/editing

Now, within each of those steps are many micro-steps, and this is where each writer differs. What I will attempt to do here is to simplify each of these steps as much as possible. I must also add that the information I will give is based on my own experience and that of other writers of my acquaintance. If there are other methods that you have used or have heard of, and that I've left out, these could be equally valid.

So, to begin (in the next blog entry)...

Written by Kate Haigh.