September 25, 2017
Writing comes in different stages. There is prewriting, drafting, self-editing content, proofreading, and allowing someone else to edit what I write. After that there’s formatting, cover design, and marketing. I could start at point A and go straight through to book sales. I don’t do that. Rather, I start new writing projects at certain times of the year whether I have finished the entire publishing process for previous books or not. As I am writing this, I just finished writing the final edits on Book VI of the Locket Saga: The Anvil, and my next nonfiction book: Write a Book to Ignite Your Business. In addition, I am still working on Book VII of the Locket Saga: Two Rivers. This Sunday I started Book VIII of the Locket Saga: As yet, not yet named book.
NaNoWriMo for the Ninth Year!
Every year in November every year for the past eight years, I have entered and won NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month. During November all over the world, hundreds of thousands of novels are started. In order to win, the author must write fifty thousand words of a first draft of their novel.
It is my understanding that November is for writing the first draft, not necessarily for starting to think about writing the book. That is why toward the end of September, I start the writing process with prewriting. The pre-writing includes several different activities that I like to have done before I start the first draft in November. These include: determining the basic plot, main characters, and doing at least the initial research.
The Basic Plot
I have determined the basic plot of this upcoming book. It is sort of a continuation of Two Rivers. Two Rivers is primarily the story of Isaac Thorton and Rebecca Miles and Isaac’s journey with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This book is the story of Andrew Mayford who goes south to Natchez, Mississippi. Although he has gone down the Mississippi several times by flatboat, in 1811, Andrew becomes the first pilot of a steamship down the Mississippi, changing the way Americans relate to the Mississippi forever. Of course, this is an actual event. During my research for previous books, I discovered numerous interesting facts about these series of events that I think should be told in fictional story form.
The Main Characters
There’s Robert Fulton, a man named Livingston, there’s Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt who went on the trip, their two young children, and their servants and of course Andrew. All of these characters need to be developed from just names on a page to what I as the author view as living breathing people. One of these servant girls is Andrew’s love interest. These are called character sketches.
I love research! Research takes me from a vague idea of what happened to feeling as though I was actually present at that time and place. Because this story is going from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Natchez Mississippi, I will need to research not just what those two cities were like at that time but also every city in between. Also there were specific Native Americans they met along the way and a major historical event that directly related to the journey of the steamboat. I have to research this as well.
One of the big research projects that I am currently working on is reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. It was, of course written a few years later, (1863), but the book does relate to the Mississippi and to steamboats which is exactly the topic this book.
It is a Start, Just a Start
This is not all there is to the pre-writing process, but it is a beginning. However, by the time November comes along, I will be ready to start that first draft.
Need a Good Title
As stated earlier, I still don’t have a good working title. What do you think would make a good title for this book?