Erin Green Author - blog
Happy New year, folks! I’m hoping you had a glorious start to 2021 and are bursting with vitality for the days, weeks and months ahead. I’m totally ignoring the news and have locked myself into a creative bubble where I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.
My aim for the next 90 days is to finish editing the current Shetland book, deadline is 1st February, and begin a brand-new book. In fact, I tell a little lie there … I started writing a new book yesterday (for those who follow me on Twitter that won’t be a surprise).
Before I was published, I wanted to know exactly how an author wrote, planned and worked on a book. Despite many searches and media follows I rarely found authors who shared their time lines, working hours and the difficulties encountered. In this coming series of blogs, I’m going to share my progress as it happens. I’ll happily be honest about my progress and word count each time.
Two weeks ago, I created three new characters and made up a manuscript book in which I have stuck a glossy catalogue photo for each person. I’ve given each character their own page and filled it with specific details about them. This book becomes my sacred guide to this new book. I’ll write down any research questions, quirks or habits, plot details and even background history which comes to mind. I might not use it all but once its written down I can’t possibly forget an idea - which can come in handy when polishing a book or a little extra is needed.
I used post-it notes to plot the story arc obviously, on three different colours one for each character, and have ordered them into a feasible story line – which I’ve stuck into the manuscript book.
There’s no reason why I’ve waited two weeks to begin; it’s one of my quirks - I like specific dates!
On my laptop, I’ve now created a ms template, complete with dedication and coloured fonts relating to my character. I write in the first-person viewpoint so it’s easier keeping track plus, the bonus is I can feed my brain colour rather than the standard black font whilst I’m creating. I only switch the document to black font just before I send it to my agent and editor.
My manuscript prep includes creating an excel spreadsheet where I log chapter details as I write. Over the years, I’ve adapted my routines and records but this system is currently working for me so, why would I change? I know other authors don’t use additional documents but I like to know exact details while I create as it helps me when I am editing the book later in the process.
I also have a daily word count document which I complete purely as an inventory of my productivity. Again, I know many authors don’t keep such records but over the years I’ve been able to see my own development so, this document has proved invaluable. Last year 2020, I managed to write 315,675 words – I wouldn’t know that without my daily record!
Everything I do aims to improve my productivity and imagination – nothing more.
Anyway, 1st January 2021, I wrote ‘Chapter one’ of my new book. I haven’t got an official title as all my books barring two have changed their titles upon publication. I use a working title purely for my own benefit and discussing with friends as it gets confusing if you have several projects on the go, but I know my working title won’t make it to the front cover. I wrote 1406 words for the new book, edited a chapter of the Shetland book and did a little additional research.
I've already been on my dog-walk so, have pondered what I'll be writing later. Today, I’ll follow on with ‘Chapter two’ and edit more of my Shetland book – simple.