writing

A look inside how I write books

For a little look behind the curtain, I thought it might be fun to show you a bit of my process when it comes to writing a book. Once an idea finds itself lodged in my noggin, the first thing I do is print my worksheets (a list of tools I’ve created over the years that help me organize my thoughts.) Then, I get a notebook. I have a preference of spiralbound journals but any kind will work.

Blue is what I used for What Moons Do. Yellow is a three-book series, the black one is ongoing series.

Once my worksheets are pasted in my journal, I start with the first worksheet.

Who is my Hero? What problem do they start my story with? What do they want, and more importantly, what do they NEED? Always different things. The want is something they THINK will make them happy. The need is the CHANGE they have to make in order to achieve it. Yes, I do this before I’ve written a word of the actual story. Answering these questions starts to get my brain thinking. Scenes start percolating.

These ideas taken from the EXCELLENT book, Save the Cat Writes a Novel.
Highly recommend.

Step two: I tackle the theme. Now wait a minute, Danielle, how can you write the theme of your book BEFORE YOU’VE WRITTEN THE BOOK? Easy. Without a theme, you have no book. You have to know the ‘thing’ you want your readers to learn about your character before the story is done. Otherwise, there is no character arc. Thus, the theme is where you HAVE to start. You have to understand the thing your character NEEDS to pinpoint the theme. You know, that pesky thing readers need to learn by the end of the book. Your theme will help keep you on track.

Next week, I’ll talk about character worksheets, what mine look like, and show you other fun things inside my writer’s brain. Until next time…

Danielle Bannister, Author and journal lover

7 thoughts on “A look inside how I write books”

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