Novelist Len Deighton has an article in the Word Craft section of the Wall Street Journal online. It came at an opportune time.
Lying in the tanning bed this morning, I was meditating and praying about what my next writing project should be. When I arrived home, smelling a bit toasted, I sat down to check Facebook and saw that book reviewer extraordinnaire, Curt Jarrell, had posted a link to Deighton’s article. Thank you, Curt. I don’t mind starting a new project with a little direction from the Universe—and a friend.
“Facing the Hard Questions Before Chapter One” is an overview of Deighton’s planning process for writing a novel. It’s fairly general, but it’s always good to understand a writer’s approach to starting a new book. He makes an important point that I’d like to quote here:
I always have a “consideration period” during which I ask myself if I can live for a year or more with a book, its subject and perhaps its characters. Several projects did not survive this initial test.
This is something I need to consider. I hope to post more about my planning process in the coming months. I don’t want to give anything away, but perhaps it will prove helpful to you to see how a shophomore writer gets into and develops a new project.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about how you get from the idea stage to practical planning.