Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How Does a Book Get From the Writer’s Head to the Page?

How Does a Book Get From the Writer’s Head to the Page?

Hard work?  Hours at the computer?  Butt in chair?  Blood, sweat, and tears?

Why would anyone do that?

Every writer you ask will have a different answer.  For me, it’s the feeling I get if I don’t write.  I can only describe it as ‘my brain itches’.  And when I agonize over some twist or turn or wording or event in the story and suddenly everything falls into place, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.

It’s very satisfying to create.  To take daydreams and turn them into words on a page or screen.  To make a story.  A story!  A concrete thing where one did not exist before.  A collection of words and ideas that might bring pleasure to another person.
So how does this happen?

  “Where do you get your ideas” is probably the most-asked question a writer hears.  If I’m feeling particularly snarky, I answer, “Sears,” or “The Idea Store,” or “Tiffany,” or—well, you get the idea.  The truthful answer is, “Everywhere.”  The analogy that springs to my mind is the compost heap.  Everything I see, hear, read, experience, think goes into the great compost heap in the back of my mind where it settles in and stews with all the other things there.  Eventually I extract a shovel full of...ideas.  All the disparate things have somehow formed relationships and have turned into something useful.

But an idea isn't a book.  A book is made of many, many, many...well, you get the idea..ideas.  The writing is only the first step.  This is how a self-published book comes to life: it gets written, revised, made pretty for the reader, published.  Each of those steps is composed of a zillion smaller steps.  Here’s the status of the current book under construction, Western Heroes: Grey.

Grey’s Progress  (yes, there's a way to go)

First Draft
Beta readers
Done!!! (sort of)
Cover & Format