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I live in a quiet, historic town where the only exciting things to happen occur in books. Most days, you can find me with a cup of tea in one hand, hunched over my laptop as I write, read, or research.

Read an interview with me at USA Today.

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WIP Watch: A Work in Progress from Start to Finish

National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us and moving closer with every day. Those who have been following me for a while know that I not only participate every November, but I am also a Municipal Liaison (branch leader) for my area. Last year, I cross-posted some of the pep talks I sent to my local group of participants. This year, I wanted to focus a little less on writers and instead give my readers a peek into what it is like for me to write a novel.

Every author is different. We have different ways of approaching writing, different ways of structuring a novel, and different ways of processing the inevitable ups and downs associated with our passion. My approach is unique, as are the experiences I associate with it.

The essence of National Novel Writing Month is an aim to write the first draft (or, failing that, the first 50,000 words) of a novel during the month of November. If you follow the rules precisely, as I will be doing this year, you begin writing the novel on November 1st. Although it is October, there is still much for me to prepare.

I used to be one of those writers who wrote as inspiration struck. I can and have sat down at the computer knowing nothing more than the characters’ names and the general premise and proceeded to write a book in a month or less. However, turning writing from a hobby into a career has made me streamline my process so as not to waste time. When I don’t use an outline to write, the end result is a much bigger mess than if I’d laid out the plot in advance to minimize the amount of plot holes and deviations from the central story line.

Therefore, my books now take a lot of planning. I want to know plot, characters, personality, and setting before I ever start Chapter One. I have a lot of research and preparation to do, and only one month to do it! Follow along as I create a novel from scratch. I’ll let you know what it’s like every step of the way.

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