i start with an idea (that usually can be explained in just one sentence) and go from there.
i might have some plot points i'd like to hit during the course of the book, but nothing is ever set in stone.
i'm not sure how common my method is, but it works for me. i've never been the kind of writer that makes a detailed outline, marking every twist, turn, reveal and arc. i'm not even the kind of writer that decides on how the novel will end before i write it. i start with general ideas, and through the course of writing i find my path.
i've always said my books write themselves, and really it's true.
but sometimes my books stop flowing on their own. i wouldn't say they hit a wall, but they definitely stall, and that's when i have to take an honest look at what i've produced and decide what my next step will be.
this is what's happened with my latest work in progress.
i've had the idea for this novel for almost three years, but i didn't get serious about it until january of this year. i knew what i wanted to happen (generally) and where i'd like to see it end, but i had absolutely no road map. i just sat down and started writing.
originally i felt this novel needed to be written in third person. i have two main characters and i thought an omniscient narrator would work best.
the writing flowed and i'd found my path, or so i thought. you see, my male character has been a dream: super easy to write with a very distinct personality. my female character never quite seemed as complete as her counterpart. soon i began to struggle with her chapters, sitting in front of my computer trying to conjure up what would happen next to her.
that's when i realized i needed to make some major changes.
sure, my female lead needed a makeover. but that's not the only thing that needed changing.
i realized, even though i'd employed the use of a third person narrator, i wasn't using it to advantage. the narrator wasn't omniscient at all, and was only giving the reader one point of view - that of either the male or female main character, which is exactly what i wanted. i only wanted their two perspectives throughout the novel. it became clear there was only one thing to do and that was change the narration from third to first.
i had to trust my instinct though i did have concerns - would having two first-person narratives confuse the reader? would the pages be filled with "I"s and "me"s?
i did some research and found it is not uncommon for there to be two characters written in first person. i even read nick and norah's infinite playlist to see if, as a reader, i could enjoy an entire novel written in this manner.
happily i am now rewriting. the narration change has been the easy part. tossing all the chapters focusing on my female lead was a little painful, but totally necessary. now her character is much stronger and her motives clearer (though if i'm totally honest, still not as easy to write as the male) and the novel is once again flowing. here's hoping that my book continues to guide me toward the right path!