How do you work?

So there you are, sitting at your keyboard, tapping your pencil on your teeth and wondering how to move your novel on to the next level. Whilst waiting for inspiration, do you take the opportunity to review the story so far or do you leave well alone?

We all have our own way of working; we might have slipped easily into it, or we might have tried different methods and then settled on the one we like best.

I know one author who will write a few chapters and then hone them to perfection before moving on. I know another who starts with chapter one and works resolutely chapter by chapter to the end.

Me? I’m a bit of a meanderer; I start with chapter one with the intention of working through to the end, when I suddenly think of a new plot point and I jot it down. The thing is, as I make my notes, they start to morph into a full chapter. I have no idea where it will fit within the novel’s structure, but I know it’s too good to ignore.

As a result, during the process, I end up with say, chapters 1-6, chapter 8, and some assorted unnumbered chapters. As the novel develops some of those chapters might end up on the sacrificial table, being terminated for the greater good. Sometimes they become a pivotal moment around which the whole novel revolves, requiring a rewrite of all that has gone before.

Fascinating stuff, but how do YOU write?

Peter Facer



  1. As I’ve said already on Facebook. I hate wasting time. If I’ve written a 1k in a day then find I have to delete it as rubbish or I’ve wander away from the main plot following an idea which isn’t really needed that is time wasting.

    As I see it, it is better to write 1k words and keep moving in the right direction than 1k backwards. Once I’ve been to the post office I shall be back at my keyboard finishing another chapter today. Hopefully by the end of the month I may have a completed novel ready for a re-read and a few tweaks.

    My author friend wants me to finish the book ready to show it to her publisher. If they aren’t interested I have a competition I want to send it into, as they say nothing is wasted.

    1. I enjoy the writing process so much, that even a deleted chapter is never a waste of time. From those deleted scenes I’ve discovered character traits I didn’t know about, new areas to research for use elsewhere, new characters that, even if they don’t make the final cut, could find life in a future work.

      It’s simply a joy.

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