Writing a Book
“How do you start writing a book?” That is the most difficult question to answer. After considerable thought, I’ve decided that there are two approaches to writing a book. The particular path chosen by the author is very personal and quite different.
The first method is for the author to begin with a basic idea then begin the research for the background of the story lines. This writer will devote a great deal of time and effort exploring all aspects of his story before putting one word into the manuscript. The book becomes the fleshing out process for all of the research.
I know very little about writing a book in that manner. My style falls into a second category of the creative writing process. For authors, such as myself, the process is much more instinctual. The only time I research information for one of my stories is for historical context, details or clarity on a specific topic, such as when a particular railroad was constructed or a certain gun became popular. Other times, I use research to identify clothing styles common to a time period or appropriate for the time of day.
My latest work Bo Henry at Three Forks is an example. The original seed of the idea came to me in the middle of the night. Whether the inspiration seeps into my mind during the night or during the day, it dominates my thoughts. When that happens, I am compelled to begin writing and put the ideas down on paper. I can only compare it to a seed that starts to grow. Sooner or later it develops into a story.
The scary part for me is that if you were to cover my eyes and ask me what the next word would be, I couldn’t tell you. Uncover my eyes and the words flow onto the page. The story is as new to me as it is to a first-time reader. I can’t wait to see what happens next! I type very quickly and make many mistakes. Getting the story out of my head and onto the page is most important. The errors are corrected later.
The research I mentioned above does not happen until the second pass through the book. I make those changes at the same time I am correcting many of the typographical mistakes made during the original writing. But the story is done. That is what is most important to me.
Writing my books is easy and fun. It is what comes next, the correcting, research and polishing is the hardest work, and for me, the most difficult.