The Writing Process

While my new novel, Remote Access is meandering through the publishing process, I thought it might be interesting to share some thoughts on the writing process, at least what works for me. The one comment I get more than any others when I’m doing a book signing is, “Oh, I should write a book.” My answer is always, “So…do it.” Here are some initial thoughts on one person’s approach to writing.

Most important to me is to make sure you have a story that can be teased out into a book. It takes me awhile to come up with one. There’s inspiration everywhere, but it has to be something that interests you. My latest thriller is woven around today’s political climate, which is of interest to me. Lots to write about there. A Perilous Question arose out of an actual question I was asked by a teenage girl at a dormitory we had helped fund in Tanzania, Africa. The Vanishing Wife came out of a thought I’d always had about how awful it must be when a loved one disappears.  It just needs to be something you can get your teeth into. Of course, I’m talking about fiction. I found when our son and I wrote our non fiction book, Kilimanjaro and Beyond, the story just unfolded the way it happened. It was the same for I Guess We Missed the Boat.  The point is, the story will be much more interesting if you have some connection with it.

My experience now that I’ve written my fifth book is that there’s no right or wrong way to approach writing. There are those who sit down at a certain time every day, five days a week and write. I call it writing on command. Kudos to people who can do that. I have to write when I feel the urge. If the words aren’t coming, I walk away and pick it up later.

Some people prepare detailed outlines before starting. I heard a well established author say he writes over 100 pages of outline. It’s a great way to avoid writer’s block. Others fly by the seat of their pants. I’ve developed a hybrid style. For Remote Access, I wrote a high-level outline in a software package called Scrivener, and then proceeded to let the characters take me where they wanted to. I was sometimes surprised by where they went and how the story unfolded and that’s one of the joys (to me) of writing. I always tell people when I’m writing that I can’t wait to finish writing the book so I can see how it ends.

That’s enough for now. Next time, I’ll write about settings and detail in your writing. When Remote Access is published, I will be sharing some thoughts on the publishing process.

In the meantime, if you have questions, fire away. I would be happy to answer.