Writing Books/Writing a fictional novel
For many years, I've written news articles for newspapers. My life is journalism. But, I've been tossing around the idea of writing fiction. I've got the writing skills, but when it comes to writing anything other than news, I draw a blank. My question to you is, where do I start? Should I figure out my characters first? My plot? Or simply go with it and see where I end up? Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing from you!
You are asking me, "How do I go about writing a novel?"
I can only tell you how I write a novel.
I have to begin with an idea or a question. I have to have an era, a place, and a setting. I have to know my first character. Then I sit down at the computer and I type a sentence. And I type another. Perhaps these two sentences are not very good, but I continue typing. This exercise releases your creative mind and gets you out of the "editing" mind or into the right brain and out of the left. My characters come as they are needed. They simply show up and they tell me who they are and what part they are to play. I allow them to help me write the story. And here is the most important thing I do. I do not edit, correct, re-write, polish, or even consider doing these things until I have a complete, rough draft of my entire novel. The only thing I do is this: sometimes I feel the story going astray and I have to get back on track. Sometimes the going astray is where the story really needs to go and I go with it. It becomes a matter of "feel". Often I do not know what scene will be next or how the plot will develop or how the book will end until I get there or almost there. I have to trust my creative mind to lead me. It has never failed me. I also never allow anyone to read the story or any part of it until I have completed at least two rewrites.
Now to the rewrite process. This is where I restructure, cut and paste, delete, add, work for continuity, clarity and correctness. I do as many rewrites as I need before I am totally satisfied that I have made it as balanced as possible.
I suggest you try this and see how you go. This may work for you as it does for me, or it may not. You may need to do the outline procedure. (I never use outline and could not if I wanted to.)
Keep me posted and let me know if you are making progress.