I’ve been thinking about the writing process lately and I thought that I’d share a few thoughts on the way that I write.
My writing is quite fluid. I don’t start out with a hugely detailed plan as I’ve found to my cost that this actually just makes me not want to write the book! I have a whole file of incredibly detailed plans of books that I’ve never gone back to.
Instead when I start a book I have just a loose idea of the plot and a more in depth understanding of my characters – what they look like, their backgrounds and the way that they’d react to situations etc. I also have a whiteboard on which I have written scenes that I want to see in the book. These have included scenes in past books such as the Dirty Dancing scene from ‘Keep Me’, the jogging scene from ‘Promise Me’ and the moment that Nell takes centre stage in ‘Trust Me’.
Once I start writing, things often take quite a different turn and things happen that can totally change the direction that the book was heading. This therefore means that my more detailed planning can, and does, occur while I’m in the middle of writing, as I check and check again that everything works and ties in with the other books. My Beggar’s Choice books are all standalones but they run alongside each other so everything has to dovetail. This led to a lot of hair pulling (my own) and frustration with Bram’s story as I had to make his actions in ‘Trust Me’ make sense in his own book.
I love the fact that different things can happen once I start tapping away on my laptop because it’s led to events in the books that I never foresaw. I had planned a totally different ending for Sid and Nell that didn’t include her car accident, but I needed him to really grovel and that was a step towards that. Also Bram’s wooing of Alys over Europe was never planned, and occurred as a result of my reading a travel article about Europe while I was at the dentist.
I think my musing on writing has mainly been caused by my new book. It features a character Matt who cropped up in ‘Keep Me’. Originally he was just meant to be a one line character who entered the book in an early chapter as Bram’s assistant. However, when I finished writing that chapter it was to find that he wasn’t just his assistant but was actually his best friend. After that he had a habit of cropping up in the rest of the book, to the extent that I couldn’t let him go in my head.
I spent a while day dreaming about his happy ever after and then people started to write in asking for more of him. Before I knew it his story was in my head and I couldn’t get it out, and when I realised who his happy ever after was going to be with, I started writing. Originally I planned to write a novella or just a short story for my website but as normal it grew and grew into a full story.
Matt and John’s story has been the most enjoyable book that I’ve written so far which just goes to show that plans aren’t always the best thing. I fell in love with both of the main characters and it was a wrench to set them aside when I’d finished. I hope you enjoy them. I’ll be in my office making things difficult for myself with the next book.