Hey everyone! I'm back again today and you guessed it! It's another guest post! This one is from the author of the newly released book Other Breakable Things, Kelley York and is about her writing process and advice she gives to new and aspiring writers (which is super cool especially since it's the final stretch of Camp Nanowrimo and I'm still trying to meet my goal)! You can also find my review of the book here: Other Breakable Things.
One of the most common questions I’ve seen authors asked—especially by newer writers or aspiring authors—has to do with our writing processes. Do we plot everything out ahead of time? Do we write as it comes to us? Do we write in chronological order or skip around? What about revisions and edits? What’s the right way to write?!
It’s like asking an artist what the correct way to draw is. You’re going to get thousands of answers because it depends. So while I can’t tell you what the “right” process in, I can tell you a little about my process.
Every single one of my books begins with a character. For HUSHED, it was Archer. Vincent for SUICIDE WATCH. Chance for MADE OF STARS. I start fleshing that character out and ask questions about them: Who are they? What do they like/dislike? What hobbies do they have? What’s their background? Who are the people that impact their lives? (Then those characters I can take and do the same.) Almost always, at some point in this stage, I start getting ideas for a plot involving these people. I’m extremely character-driven while other writers might focus more on plot first. Again, both ways are awesome. There is no wrong way.
First drafts are ugly things. Always. There are days where I have little motivation and my writing is horrid, but I do my best to get the words down because they can be fixed later. While 90% of the time I write chronologically, if I find myself completely stuck on a scene, I’ll make some notes and skip ahead to come back and fill it in later. It’s the only amount of jumping around I can do. At this stage, I try my hardest to limit my editing, because if I get bogged down in editing-as-I-go, I’ll never get the damn thing finished.
At this point, I do a round of edits catching any huge problems and I try to clean it up so I have a decent second draft. This is the point where I’m (usually) confident enough to send it off to my. Her response includes an editorial letter. This round of revisions, for me, is the hardest because it tackles all the big problems of the book: characterization, pacing, plot holes. Every other round of edits that follows are a piece of cake in comparison.
(“How many rounds of edits are too many?” Depends on your book. I know people who’ve worked on the same story, revising and revising again, for years. But when you have a publisher and an editor, you don’t get that kind of time. If you’re a first-timer, my advice is to revise and edit until your manuscript shines. The less work an agent or editor thinks they’ll have to put into it, the better.)
Finding your groove and what process works for you is a process in of itself, and your process might even vary from book to book. So, what’s the right way to write?
Answer: all of the above.
That's it for this post! Let me know what you liked or what you learned (I know that I always love reading about how other authors write, especially ones who's works I've read and loved) and also tell me what you want to see next! I think the next post I will have up in a review for a book I read a while ago so keep an eye out for that. And to make sure you don't miss any of my updates, go and follow me on social media, @BrookeEvans2001 on Twitter and @thecozylittlebooknook on Instagram.
Brooke's a high schooler who loves to read all sorts of books. She's happy to be able to share all the books she's reading with all of y'all.