As a member of several author groups as well as writing critique groups, the question is often asked: How do you write a novel?
By this I don't think they mean open the laptop, settle down with a cup of coffee and then quietly open a vein, [or maybe I do!] but where do you start?
As a historical novelists, I am often asked if I complete all my research first, making copious notes to refer to throughout the writing process. Or do I look something up as it's needed?
Do I start with an opening scene and let the characters write the novel themselves as their thought process become part of me? Or do I set out a chapter by chapter structure with the goals and conflicts laid out in order to be strictly followed?
I have met, well some I have met, but most of them only virtually, both types of writers. The seat-of-the-pants type and the ones who use novel writing software to plan every conversation, dscription and piece of action. Then there are writers who have no idea where their characters will take them but are drawn into their world where the solutions miraculously evolve. Then ther are those who write the ending first and work backwards.
I'm a planner. I sketch out each chapter and list the scenes, decide where I am going and set off in that direction. I don't always end up where I expect to,. Sometimes my characters change and do some evolving of their own, so their roles become either more instrumental to the story or less so.
I'm not saying I have to work harder than those authors who formulate a basic idea and then let the words flow out of the end of their fingers, but in a way I envy them. So which kind of writer are you?