How Do You Write A Book?


I was recently asked “how do you write a book?”  Well, I don’t know.  It just happens.  There are a million books available on how to write a book, but I can’t personally give the answer.  How do composers compose?  How do painters paint?  I don’t know how they do it, I’ve tried to compose music and I suck at it.  I’ve tried to paint and I’m better at composing music.

The process is different for everyone.  I can say I’m a plotter or a pantser, both would be true.  When I sit down to write, I have a basic understanding of what is going to happen.  When I start writing the book, I might as well throw out whatever I’ve spent time plotting because things are going to change.

For me, writing starts with an idea.  “Oh, that is so frickin’ cool.  I could so turn that into a book.”  And away we go.  I have a beginning, some stuff for the middle, and the ending.  Everything else just appears on the screen as it enters my brain.  Sometimes, the endings are much different than what I thought they were going to be.  I was sure that Brenna was going to kill the bad guys and live happily ever after… Despite plotting four books, I knew the entire thing was in trouble when I finished writing Dark Cotillion.  The books that followed did not adhere to the story I had plotted.

In Tortured Dreams, Michael was supposed to die.  He lived.  Unfortunately, in the books that followed, I had some trouble remembering that I didn’t kill him in Tortured.  I’d write a couple of chapters and realize he was missing and I’d have to go back and explain why he was missing, usually because of some mysterious injury or illness or a rogue cactus that just had to be touched.  The Teddybear Cactus worked out great, but was put in well after I had finished Mercurial Dreams.  My content editor said “hey, what the hell happened to Michael for four freaking chapters?”  And I responded with “oh shit, I don’t know.”  Luckily, I had just watched a documentary on something that mentioned Teddybear Cactus plants and thought; “that’s what the hell happened to Michael, he just had to touch it.”

And it worked.  So I left it.  It turned out to be rather funny, but it was thrown in to keep from having to rewrite several chapters with a missing character that I forgot about.

So how do you write a book?  I still don’t know.  Maybe that’s why I wonder if I’m a real author.  Aren’t authors supposed to know how to write a book?

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3 Comments

  1. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. My feeling is that authors don’t write books, they tell stories. A book is just the story put together for a reader to read.

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  3. Maria D.

     /  June 22, 2014

    I agree – I think a writer is just a storyteller who puts the story on paper or ebook or whatever format (could be paintings on a wall for that matter)

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