Tuesday, 6 July 2010

How do you plan your writing?

I haven't posted for a while as I've been recklessly busy. One day I'm going to turn up at the wrong bookstore on the wrong day! In the ten days since my last post, I've signed a lot of books - at Waterstones in Hitchin, Waterstones in Harrow, and WH Smith's in Brent Cross. Tomorrow I'm on a panel of Crime Writers at Gayton Library in Harrow, then off to sign at Waterstones in Norwich on Saturday.
ROAD CLOSED officially launched this week.
DEAD END, which will be published in 2011, is with my small circle of readers who are beginning to feed back comments. There's still a little more work to do on the manuscript - and I really need to sit down for a couple of days and read through it closely but also fast so I have every detail in my head. I'll tackle that task after I've broken up from school next week as I want to give it its due.
I've decided on the title for my fourth book in the series - but you'll have to wait and see what that is. This week I've been working out the plot and am getting very very excited about it. I can't wait to finish the synopsis my agent wisely insists on so I can start writing it. In the meantime, I haven't even finished my plan yet - but my research is under way and my plan is moving forward.
Having completed three books, I feel like quite an old hand now! So this is how I work.
1) make a sketchy plan on A3 paper. I divide the sheet into five columns, one for each part of my book, and I list the chapters down the columns, a chapter name and very brief notes to remind me what the chapter is about.
2) write a chapter by chapter synopsis from my plan, giving details
3) write the book
That should be it, but of course there's more
4) realise something doesn't work - rethink and rewrite
5) have a brainwave - rethink and rewrite
6) notice a dreadful gap (or gaffe) in the plot and have to revise completely...
That's just the initial stages of writing a book. Then come the agent, publisher and editor... and more rethinking and rewriting...
So forgive me if I don't post for a while. You know what I'll be doing, when I'm not at school.
So far I'm at number 1) and have already radically changed the whole idea twice. Now I've come up with an idea that I'm happy with, I need to complete my A3 plan... How will Geraldine solve the mystery? Is there enough suspense in the plan? Who, exactly, is my killer - there are so many possible characters I could create to play the villain here, but who shall I choose? And what is in store for Geraldine in book 4?
I wonder how other people plan their books?

12 comments:

HelenMHunt said...

That all sounds like good advice. Hope you get a chance for a rest soon as well though x

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Helen, a good sleep would be good... on the train to Norwich on Friday I expect - although I may be working on my plan for book 4 then - no, on second thoughts, the sleep gets it!

Debs said...

You're always so busy. Good luck with writing No 4.x

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Debs. I have a few ideas in my head... And still have to finish off DEAD END. I hope your writing's going well.

Rick said...

Sounds great, except what is A3 paper!?

Pat said...

So glad it is all going so swimmingly.
It's great to see talent and hard work reap the benefits and you and Sally Hinchcliffe have got me enjoying psychological thrillers.

Leigh Russell said...

Thrilled to read that, Pat. I hope you enjoy many more.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Rick - A3 paper is twice the size of A4 paper, which is the size of normal typing paper... in the UK anyway!

Lesley Cookman said...

Glad to see you're doing so well,Leigh. How on earth do you get all those appearances? I'm jealous!

Good luck with the next one.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Lesley, I haven't heard from you for a while. I must nip over to your blog and see what you're up to. Sadly, visiting blogs is one real pleasure I no longer have enough time for. I think I'll just pop in and take a look, and end up engrossed in reading some fascinating post and commenting... too little time!

Middle Ditch said...

Enjoy your time off Leigh. You must take a break going on this breakneck speed you are.

I enjoyed reading your first novel (finally got around reading it, I hang my head in shame)

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Monique. I'm on holiday from school now so don't have to get up so early. That's a break for me. And lots of time off :)