How do you invent your stories?
AHHH! What a terrible question. The answer is, ‘I don’t know.’
True. The same as all novelists I start with a blank sheet of paper – it is unimportant whether the paper is real or virtual. The important thing is that it is blank: no words, no ideas, no plot – nothing.
So what happens then?
Dimly, in the back of my mind, there is a ‘thought’. It can be a phrase, a scene, or even a whole story – but it is always bare. It is the skeleton, the basic idea.
Once the idea has congealed in my mind, I write, more or less, the last chapter. This gives me a point at which to aim. The finishing point. The end. So many writers finish a book with questions still pendant. That is okay if there is a sequel planned, but if it is a one off it is not fair on the reader.
Then is the hard work: I write, rewrite, then write again. I cut scenes, add scenes, destroy a whole idea, but finally, I get down to the basic plot, sub-plot, and characterization I like.
After about a year – maybe six months if I’m not working on the day job, I have a book. BUT NO!!! It hasn’t been edited, or even revised by other authors.
So then is the agonizing time. You receive criticism from your peers – and it hurts!!! Even if it is constructive criticism, it is not really welcome. However, you read it and sometimes, once in a while, you even adapt the book to the criticism received.
Of course, you always have to right to reject everything – but to be honest, it is better to, at least, consider the criticism offered.
Publishing is easy these days – however marketing is a nightmare..
In my next blog, I’ll explain about marketing a book. I can’t market my own, so I will not give advice. I am looking for a person to market my books on commission – as I don’t employ an agent, I’m willing to pay more or less what an agent would get. Let me know if you are interested.