How-to-Tuesdays

How I wrote my first book

How-to-Tuesday #11

I promised I would write a post about my writing process and I always keep my promises, so here goes nothing. Let me start this off by saying I’m not an published author, not even close. I’ve never had any classes in creative writing and 80% of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but maybe my process can help someone else and that is all that matters.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I started writing stories when I was still really young. When I started High School I read more and more YA novels and knew that that was what I wanted to write too. When I was sixteen I started creating this story and I have probably spend the next 3 to 4 years building the world in which the story takes place and writing the first book. I wish I could share the writing with all of you, but I wrote the story in Dutch… I’m sorry!

So how did I get started?

Honestly, for me the beginning of every story kind of just happens. I spend a lot of my day just daydreaming and creating characters and scenarios. One day I was in the car with my family. We were driving home after visiting my grandmother. It was pretty late and I was staring out of the window. I was really tired and this poem/prologue just wrote itself. The next few days, I kept thinking about the prologue and the story just started to unfold. Before I knew it I was immersed into the world of Zoë (the main character). It was never my intention to actually write the entire story, but I kept going back to that particular world. I wanted to know how it would end. I knew I had to write everything down and that’s when the next step in my process started.

I started creating, what I like to call an event map. It’s a chronological word-cloud of all the main events that happen in the story. I’m basically creating a timeline for the story. It helps me connect one event to another. This process took the longest. Sometimes my brain things of two or even more possible events that could take place simultaneously and I have to write the storylines for all these possibilities before I decide which one is the best.

Most of this process consists of me lying down in bed and letting my brain create the different storylines. For me it’s like watching a movie that I can control. Maybe this sounds weird, but my brain has always worked like that. I write everything down and basically have this notebook filled with possible timelines for the story. Sometimes I would even draw stuff. Wait, I’ll take a picture of it!

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Taking a look into this notebook is basically the same as taking a look into my brain. Once the event map is done the writing starts.

This was really a process of trial and error. My writing has changed a lot over the years and this story was written over a period of 3 years. I had to go back and rewrite certain chapters. Sometimes I would go back to the event map and create an entire new storyline.

I finished the book more than ten times and would keep going back and changing things. The file I have on my computer right now hasn’t been touched for more than 2 years. The truth is, I send the manuscript to different publishers but was rejected, then university happened and after that I forgot the manuscript even existed.

It is funny though, after I finished the first book, the story kept going. The timeline for the second book is already in my head and I have created most of the event map.

In February, I’ll be starting a new job and once I’ve had some time to adjust to the work I want to start writing the story again. I’ve thought about maybe translating the story into English. I want to try and see if my English is sufficient enough to write a novel.

I don’t know if anyone thinks this post is interesting, but here you go. This is my writing process.

Have a nice Tuesday!

Ps. I’ve decided to write a separate post about the actual story. This post was already getting really long and I didn’t want it to get boring. I will post that blogpost tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even translate the poem/prologue that started it all into English!

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9 comments

  1. See I have a similar problem I have thought about writing before but I get so many ideas I can’t keep them straight and writing it down like you do wouldn’t help me either as I would tend to get lost in all my notes. I think sticking to writing shorter things works better for me as it is easier to keep track of.

    I would love for you to translate some of it into English so I could read it, and now that you’ve had a few more years of live and experience you should go through the manuscript again and polish it up some more if you think it needs it and get back to submitting it again. Don’t give up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been trying to find the time to start working on it again. Now that I have a fulltime job finding time to write has become a lot harder. But I’ll keep you posted and I will probably start sharing some longer stories on my blog as well.

      Like

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