Book Release Date, The Writing Process, Writers Life

To Outline, To Plot…or not

A good friend of mine, who suffered through the last year of my writing edits and novel anxiety, asked me if I outlined my book before I wrote it, if I use plot charts etc. etc. I told her no, that my writing process was a little quirky, *surprise, surprise*.

How did I write my novel?

I knew the beginning and the end. I sat down and I wrote the story for me. It was almost like I was telling it to myself. I didn’t worry about grammar, spelling, edits, because when done, when I had gone from the first line to the last line, I deleted the entire draft. Yes, deleted, and emptied from the trash so that I could never go back to it again.

It’s a long process, it takes time to fill in all those gaps from beginning to end, but when I’m done, I know the plot, I know how I want to tell my tale. Does the real first draft, the one I keep, ever change from the one I trashed? Not the basic plot, but yes there are changes.

In writing Vykup: A Novel of the Koldun, which releases on August 13th, published by The Wild Rose Press, two characters took on completely different aspects. Kaat, the heroine, was at first a tall willowy blonde who dressed in ethereal fashions, by the end of the first draft, her appearance was totally opposite. Now she is a short, curvy redhead with a bob, who wears heavy fabrics, lots of embellishments, sort of a Gothic Gilt style. Kolya, the novel’s male hero, describes her as “dressing like a Czarina”.

Kaat was not the only character who demanded a change (yes, my characters make demands of me). Her best friend, Samantha, became her best friend, Sam. The character did not work well as a female, but much better as a male. There is another aspect to Sam that I won’t reveal, but he is a character I completely fell in love with. If there is a sequel to this novel, he will have a much larger role than in this initial book.

Any other changes? None quite as drastic as those two, but I initially pictured Kolya’s father as a stodgy, serious professor, he remained a professor, but in his first appearance in the real first draft, he became jovial and warm, and Kaat (and I) both love him.

All writers are different. I’m sure many would cringe at the thought of destroying a first draft, maybe see it as time wasted, maybe it is. All I know is I loved spending time with Kaat and Kolya in Vykup. Bringing Kaat through the grief of the death of her mother was the therapy that helped me deal with the grief of losing mine. But…that’s a subject for another blog post.

Vykup: A Novel of the Koldun  can be pre-ordered at this link: