Writing a book is fun! It really is - there's just no other word for it...unless you consider it's always hard work. The imagination is a giant boiling pot and everything wants to come out at once.
At the last writer's conference I attended, authors stood up and spoke a bit on their process. How do they begin? Do they take notes and write a full outline first? Do they use a computer or note cards? One published author believed that it's almost impossible for an author to simply sit down and just write without hours and hours of prep work. Well, that's pretty much how I do it...sort of.
I always begin by writing the summary - the book summary that is. The little tease that would be found on the back cover or inside flap. I do this first because I like the little tease! It's where I get my initial excitement for the project and it also tells me the basis of the entire story. Once that's complete, I write character interviews. I basically interview the main characters as though I'm in the room with them just asking questions (I've discovered that the Scrivener software is a great way to organize these, but pen and paper work just as well). I make observations about what they look like, find out what they like and who they are. Once I know the characters, I write the end. Yes, the end. It's a rough writing, but I want to know how it's going to end. Of course, the ending changes, but by doing this, I direct the story in the direction I want it to go, without too many deviations. Even I end up with a few surprises along the way though.
You can't forget your research. Even if you're writing fiction, you don't want to make mistakes in your timeline or have Cheyenne occupying territory where they never actually went. Next, I sit down and write the story. Yep, no formal outline or note cards strewn about. In the end, I probably spend less than two to three hours on prepping for a story before I sit down to write. For some that may seem like a lot, but for many authors, it wouldn't be enough. I keep my research books and notes handy for quick reference, but the story comes from me and so I just let the words come.
This first book was no different. It took more time to create the cover than it did to prep for the story. In the end, it's worth every moment. I've learned so much as a first-time author and the only reason I've learned what I have is because I jumped right in and just did it. If you truly want to be a writer, you must write!