Writing a book can happen in many different stages. Some people are planners. They sit down before a single word is written and map out their entire book. Other people, like me, are more fly by the seat of their pants.
There is a popular TikTok video that goes like this;
Reader: I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Author: Girl, me too.
That describes my creative process very well. And not just for books, for everything. Before starting something, I never read the directions, and I write my books as they come to me, usually scene by scene. Sometimes I don’t even know what the next line of the text will be. I write what feels natural.
Part of my reason for this is that I am just not a planner. The other reason is that I believe it helps my stories be more realistic and relatable. If I have to ask myself every few lines, “Okay, now what would they do?” it makes the whole story flow better.
Relatability is very important to me, especially when I wrote The Defender series. Alexia was based on me, which meant she had some issues to work through, like depression and anxiety. This meant that I had to spend a fair amount of time describing her and giving her the traits that would make her relatable to others who struggle with the same afflictions. I wanted to create a character that struggled as I did, something to make her relatable to so many of us. But that didn’t mean I knew what, or how, I was going to write her.
Alexia formed over time. I had no idea which scenes would help describe her or how I would show her weaknesses and strengths. That all came very naturally. As I said, I am not a planner, and I go with the flow.
This method has a few advantages; I save time upfront, I’m not stuck to a single line of thinking, and I can spend more time on world-building and character development upfront because I’m not worried about getting to the next scene. This is not to say that planners don’t spend time in these areas. To be honest, I have no idea how they work, and why would I? I’ve never been a planner. But if I had to guess, I would say that planners probably feel more confident going in because they know how it’s going to end and, for the most part, how the story is going to get there. They are probably also more likely to be able to build in twists and turns because they have mapped it out and can tie things back together more efficiently.
I do believe that there are pros and cons to each method, but for me, I can’t imagine being anything other than what I am. I write from the heart, make my characters relatable, and build worlds that pique readers’ curiosity and transport them to a different time and place.
I like my style, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, this one or another!
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