You can ask any one of a number of authors and you’ll hear a different answer.
My friends who write historical fiction or fiction set in a specific time period do tons of research to make sure their books are believable. If you want to see how that process works, check out Jennifer Niven’s blog.
Others, like some of my Lincoln author friends, spend years pouring over original source documents in archives across the country, make sure as they’re writing to footnote every single word they’ve plucked from someplace else, and get to do that lovely task of indexing the volume.
Gee, and we wonder why they don’t have time to blog about writing a book.
Some fiction writers, like Richard Paul Evans, also share their writing journeys on social media. If you want to follow the writing process and life as a writer busy with the publicity requirements of the trade, follow Evans on Facebook. He rarely misses a day of posting. And, when he’s working on his Walk series, he uses his blog to share his adventures on the road. For one book, he even solicited dumb jokes from his followers and used some of them in the story.
There are some of us, though, writers of fiction, who just step aside and let our characters tell the story. Richard Bach offers three simple little rules on how to do this in his book, Writer Ferrets: Chasing the Muse. The book is so good that I won’t share the rules here. Please, go discover them yourself.
I can tell you from experience, if you let your characters take your story and run with it, you’ll have a blast and your story will often catch even you off guard.
Try it. Just get out of the way and let the characters write the book for you.
© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012