Writing Neurostones has been an adventure of the mind. While my first book, Firestone, took over two years from concept to publication, this one has been completed in eleven months. I had a finished and self-edited manuscript ready in nine months which I sent out to beta readers and my editor for two months of corrections, critiques and insights.
The disparity between the completion time of book one and book two has as much to do with my diminished learning curve this time around as it does with changes in my process. While last time, under the advice of the first book on writing I’d read, the excellent On Writing by Stephen King, I penned the entire book in the manner that King describes as ‘pantsing’, writing by the seat of my pants without any outlines or ideas on where the story was heading. This was fun as I didn’t need to worry about spending months on an outline, but it left me with a huge amount of editing after the first draft was completed, fixing plot holes, repetition, timeline errors and so forth. Much of this could be attributed to my lack of knowledge of the craft of writing also.
At any rate, I decided to try a different approach for Neurostones, where I made chapter headings in Word—say chapters 1- 30 to begin—and spent a few weeks brainstorming and populating each chapter with dot-pointed ideas and characters. I didn’t get all the way through the outline before I started to itch to begin, but I’d managed to map out a very rough sketch of the first two-thirds of the story this way. This sped up the process a lot because I rarely had times where I didn’t know what to write at the start, and by the time I’d got to where my outline stopped, I had a pretty good idea of where I was headed.
Although I put my name on the cover, the finished product belongs as much to my wife and kids as it does to me, as I try to carefully steal time from them to work on the story. Though I tried to always write while my family was asleep or otherwise occupied, the writing still manages to creep into daily life, sometimes in the manner of my distracted mind while I was off with Kai planning his next adventure, or working out how to best describe the next setting, or my total absence while I’d lost track of time at my desk and missed hours of playtime with my kids.
I hope you enjoy reading my stories and I hope to see you again.