Samantha Wood, author

Notes on a novel: an essential element to plotting out any good story...

Secondly, and no less importantly, is this: for every book I plan to write until I’m so old I can no longer hold a pen – yes, I’m planning on going out still writing! – I will always be tired, or distracted, or not have enough hours in the day. That is life – everyone is busy, has to cook dinner, look after little ones, go to work, or whatever it may be – and without that outside world there would be no world inside my head. Life is where inspiration comes from; life is where all the good stuff happens. It can be easy to forget that in the secret world that we authors build for ourselves.

So I’m done for the moment. I’m sure there will be another draft, and possibly another after that. That’s the nature of writing, after all. This book, and the others that come after, will never be how I envisioned them in my head, because those books are perfect. Much like the one I mentioned earlier with the pretty river and happy cows and bucolic landscape. They will never be perfect, but if I can make them as good as possible, then I'm OK with that.

The Bay of Shadows is available now.

Firstly, notes are everything. I’ve always got a few notebooks on the go – read, around 10 – but gravitated towards this one because it has that string bit attached so you can always quickly find your page and, more importantly, it is big enough for me to sketch out my chapters and scenes in minute detail: chapter number, main issues, sub plots and questions I need to answer in that particular chapter, all drawn up in separate boxes for clarity. It is extraordinarily useful. I refer back to these notes constantly, and also find that the process of writing them down by hand triggers something in my brain that creates more ideas, which then feeds my enthusiasm for the story. It is also a great foil for not forgetting the ideas that come to you in the middle of the night. It really is an essential author’s tool.

IT FEELS LIKE A long time since I posted about the editing I‘d been doing on my next book, Under Ten Thousand Stars. A long, long time.  In actual fact, it was early August, so three and a bit weeks ago. Really? It feels like forever.

It’s the reason I’ve been missing in action on the blog-writing front, as I sweated over every single word in an attempt to recreate on computer the magnificent story that exists in my head.  That story is a ripping tale of love and lust, betrayal and heartbreak, all set in picturesque wine country with a sparkling emerald river and lush rolling hills. Sounds wonderful, right? It does. Or at least, it start with. The reality, however, was slightly different.

You see, I’d committed to sending off the completed draft by the last day of August, which meant I had to knuckle down and get it done – no matter what. So how did I make it through my editing, sanity intact? And what have I learned in the process? A couple of things, actually…

Tuesday 29 August, 2017

The beauty of editing, Pt. 2...