Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday's Five... steps to writing a book

When a lot of people think of the things you have to struggle with when writing a book, they talk a lot about finding time to write, getting the right idea, having learned your craft and a million other things.

They don't tend to talk about the things that really make a difference to if the book gets written or not. It's the little things that make a difference. In my experience here's how writing a book actually happens.

1. First, obtain a sugar high. The best way to do this is to get a cake. The most effective ones are iced fairy cakes with sprinkles on the top (in the US, you'll probably find a cup cake that's similiar enough for the purposes of this stage in the writing process). It's important not to waste time, so eat this cake while you start up your lap top.

2. Somehow manage to drop one of the sprinkles off the top of your cake. Watch the sprinkle disappear into the tiny gap between the space bar and the body of the lap top. Shrug. Open up a document and start typing.

3. Find out that the sprinke has somehow wedged itself under the space bar. Discover that while there are some keys you can live without while writing a book, the space bar isn't one of them. Turn the lap top upside down and shake it from side to side. Blow underneath the keys. Tap all available sides of the laptop and try to shake the sprinkle loose. Between each step (...each of which needs to be repeated at least half a dozen times, because obviously what didn't work last time is bound to work this time...) repeatedly press the space bar and find out that it is still stuck.

4. Dig the vacuum clear out from the cwtch under the stairs. Vacuum the keyboard on you're lap top. Pray that none of the keys are loose and none of them get sucked up into the machine. Mentally try to work out which keys you think you could live without if that did happen. At this stage in the process it's important to forget that you like to write in the middle of the night. Wake everyone else in the house with the noise of the vacuum cleaner.

5. Test the space bar. Find it's working. Offer up prayers of thanks. Put the vacuum cleaner away. Appologise for waking every else up. Retreat to a completely different room to eat the rest of your cake. Go back to your lap top. Make yourself comfortable. Press the space bar a few dozen times to reassure yourself that it is indeed working. Try very hard to remember what the hell it was you were going to write in the first place.

Like I said, it's the little things that have the ability to make or break a writing session, lol. And yep, I have followed these steps - embarrassingly enough, far more than once.


Other news...

The date for Gaydar is definite. March 30th 2009. Very excited about that. I'll be making a page for it on my website later.

I started a new first draft. Fair Play. Wrote 2000 words of it yesterday. Not entirely sure what length I'm aiming for. Probably somewhere between 15-20k for the first draft.

I'm also starting a new editing project today. Sealing the deal. I'd like to send that off to someone by the end of the month. It's currently 12k, but I think it might go up to about 20k during edits.

I've also got a story idea that I'm tentatively hoping might be something that will come in at a word count under 5k. Short stories aren't my strong point, but I might give this one a good when I get a free day or two.

Don't forget that introductions are still going on at Writer's Evolution - it's the editors day today. Link in the right hand side bar.


Chelle said...

Too funny!!!

Merc said...

Hahaha! But you forgot caffeine--

1.2) Make sure you drink an unhealthy amount of caffeine, and spill some near the keyboard or power bar. Curse colorfully while dashing to clean up the mess before any permanent damage is done. Blame any household pets for the spill if they are conveniently around. ;)

(I use this step a lot.)

Great list though. :D

Good luck with your writing goals! I'm looking forward to March 30th now as well. B-)


Kim Dare said...

Thanks guys :)

I never got the hang of caffine.

At least I only take it in chocolate bars and tea.

I can't stand coffee - although for some reason I can't fathom, half the characters I write about seem to be addicted to the stuff.