I wrote The Hidden in about 8 weeks but re-wrote it in 16. I wrote The Residents in 8 weeks and the re-writes in 2 (with my partner editing). I’m now writing a new novel, The Stolen Ones, and I’m trying to slllooooooowww it down. I’m one of those weirdos who just has to be writing something. It’s a hobby that’s now turned serious and I just can’t stop!
After writing The Hidden, I needed something that’ would take my mind off the submission to publishers. So I quickly wrote The Residents. It’s a fun, easy-to-read novel which was written purely for entertainment purposes. I wrote it to see how quickly I could write a locked-room cosy mystery, and I pulled it off…quickly. But it didn’t feel right to me. The Hidden was fast too, but I took great care in feeling the novel, characters and scene while I wrote it. It felt serious, real, honest, confronting, a real slap-in-the-face kind of novel that makes one think. I wasn’t caring about the time-frame it took to write, because it didn’t matter. I only cared how it felt to me. It was carefully written, thought out, reflected over. It was what I wanted to write.
The Residents didn’t have that and still doesn’t. It was what I thought I should write. Locked rooms are all the rage right now, and I love to read them, so I thought I better go with the popular genre and write one. Turns out writing what you LOVE is better than writing what’s POPULAR.
The Stolen Ones, feels like The Hidden and I’m trying not to rush the write. I’m looking at each sentence and wondering how to heighten it. I’m feeling the characters and it’s making me emotional, and that’s how I know it’s good. After now writing 2 novels, half of a sequel and now the start of the fourth novel in less than a year, I have figured out what I’m doing right and how to improve as a writer. I hope these tips help you…
1)It doesn’t matter what you write, just write and you’ll get better with practice. My writing has elevated in leaps and bounds because I’m writing every day.
2)It doesn’t matter how long it takes. If it feels emotionally charged and you’re pulling the facial expressions when your characters are talking and feeling intimately personal with the characters to the point where you actually start feeling like them, then you’re onto a winner.
3)You have to LOVE writing it. And I mean, you can’t wait to get back to it, like a good book. I didn’t have this with The Residents. It felt more chore-like and less of a joy to write.
4)Who gives a fuck about how long it takes? I had so many writers comment on how quickly I wrote The Residents, but that doesn’t mean anything other than I have 5 days to write and I sat down and did it. It doesn’t make the story any better.
5)Write what you really want to write. That’s why I LOVE writing The Stolen Ones and The Hidden. Because they’re me. I couldn’t write sci-fi and love it like I do with these two. Write what you want to write. I mean it.
6)I tried being a pantser while writing The Residents and it left my structure feeling really awkward and like I didn’t know where I was going, whether it was fast enough or too slow. I’m now a plotter and I was with The Hidden and I always know about 10 scenes/chapters in front, what I’ll be writing. It gives me clarity and control. It helps with pacing, structure and turning points.
7)Re-read over the chapters before and re-read them aloud. Again, I did this with The Hidden and The Stolen Ones and didn’t with The Residents, and I was forgetting events/activities/thoughts that I’d mentioned before because I wasn’t reading back over it.
I think that’s it for now, but I know I’ll be remembering these tips in future. It’ll save me a lot of time and energy and I hope it helps you too!
Thanks for stopping by,