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  • L.M.Thornburg

Small Talk

I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I learned or some of the differences I found from writing my first and second books.

The first and biggest difference was the time frame. It took me three years to complete the first draft of my first novel and only three months to complete the first draft of my second novel.

I'm sure a large reason was that the books are part of a series. I already knew most of the characters and the basic setting. It was easier to know what actions my characters would take because I knew them better with the second book.

Another thing that I learned writing the second book was how I work best. I've finally settled in to a bit of a routine with my writing which is nice. At the beginning I would "try" to be a pantser. (In case you don' t know, a pantser is someone who doesn't really plan much out but just writes or "flies by the seat of their pants." The other type of writer is a plotter, which is self-explanatory.)

I should have known that pantsing is not for me. I like writing lists and having schedules, but I still tried to make myself write this way at first. And I did it, but it was pretty painful, teeth-pulling without drugs painful. So then I decided it might be easier if I at least tried plotting a little ahead of time.

And I discovered that it definitely is, for me. I have always had this romantic notion of a writer sitting down at their computer, their muse coming to them and they bang out a novel. I do think there are some people that this works for, but I need a bit more direction.

So, I began taking some time to write a short outline of each chapter. I didn't take a long time on this and only the bare bones. I usually take 30-60 minutes on the weekend to write a short synopsis of all the chapters I'm planning to write the next week. It doesn't take me very long because I spend quite a bit of time thinking about my books when I'm doing things like showering, walking the dog, folding laundry, etc. So I already have a general idea of where my story is heading.

Once I figured this out, my writing flowed so much faster and easier. I could sit down knowing the basics of what I needed to write and get it done. It made writing more fun and not so torturous. It took away all of the fear of not knowing what I would be writing because it was outlined for me.

I suppose the most important thing I learned from writing my second book is that no two authors are the same. What works for one might not work for another. Just as the best time for writing isn't the same for everyone, neither is the method. I spent a lot of time reading about how others authors write and trying to make myself fit into their working plan. But that just doesn't work. You have to find what works best for you.

Good luck and I hope this helps!


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