This week’s video talks about the biggest lesson I learned while writing Dreamlander and why I probably shouldn’t have had to learn it.
This little series of ours can’t even begin to cover all the many lessons I learned while writing my fantasy novel Dreamlander. But I think I can say the most dramatic lesson was one so obvious I shouldn’t have had to learn it. And that was, in a nutshell, don’t skip the prep. Now, as someone who wrote a whole book on outlining, you’d probably think outlining would come second nature to me. But this wasn’t always so. Prior to Dreamlander, I had successfully outlined two books. I knew the benefits, I enjoyed the process. But with Dreamlander, I just didn’t do it.
There were a number of reasons for this, the biggest of which was that I was burned out on prep after having to abandon a previously outlined and researched book. I just wanted to dive in and write the darn thing. So I did. And I got stuck because, without an outline, I had no idea where the story was going. So I stopped. I wrote an outline. And then, finally, I started writing again. And—bam!—the difference was incredible.
This whole idea of not skipping prep goes far beyond just outlining—whether that’s your cuppa or not. After my experience with Dreamlander, I certainly believe outlining is the most important part of the prep. But you also have to make time early on for other occasionally unattractive tasks such as research, character interviews, sometimes even a few practice scenes just to figure out the proper POV, tense, voice, and style.
The thing is most of us are writers. So what do we want to do? Write. We don’t want to outline. We don’t want to research. Sometimes we don’t even want to edit. But these are all vital parts of the process. We can write without them. But we’ll never become authors without them. So learn from my mistakes and take the time to do the needed groundwork before you even start that first chapter.
Don’t forget to vote for which prize you’d like to win in the Dreamlander Launch Party Grand Prize Drawing on December 2!