How I Write a Book!

Hello, lovely Girls Heart Books readers! On my website and at school visits and things, people quite often ask me how you go about writing a book. Well, I guess there are as many different methods as there are writers (although most of them probably involve some kind of pen, laptop and chocolate-based incentive!). Anyway, I thought you might like to know about my way…

First of all, I get an idea. If it’s for the next book in the series, I might read back through the others to get into the world of the characters, and see where it feels like they want to go next. Or if it’s for a new series, I do a lot of daydreaming about what I might want to write (if you see me in a cafe staring into space, that might be what I’m up to!). Then I do lots of reading (even more than usual!), and checking out the shelves at libraries and bookshops to make sure there’s nothing too similar already out there.

Then I write loads of scribbly notes, and build them up into synopses, then chapter plans and finally the first draft of the book (yippee!). Mostly this happens at my desk (which is where I am now, writing to you) or on my bed or sprawled on the sofa or at the kitchen table next to my daughter Holly’s art session (in which case the notes will be covered in glitter!).

However, sometimes while writing a book, I am allowed to go OUT and see another PERSON (I mean, one who is older than 3!). This could be to meet up with one of my editors or my agent, to talk about a synopsis, or an edit of a draft I’ve given in. I know people say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but when you’re a writer there sometimes actually is (or brunch, or tea and cakes…). Last week I was out with my editor Katie from Stripes, to talk about the next book in a new series that we’re working on.

Finally, I go back to my desk, work on my draft until I’m fairly happy with it, then print it off and read through it tons of times, making even more changes and corrections. And then… the dreaded day comes… and it’s time to hand it over to my editor – well, attach it to an e-mail and click ‘send’, anyway.Β Chuck in a few (dozen!) Curly Wurlys, a couple of late nights, some trying on of clothes and shoes I think my characters would like in Top Shop (weird but helpful!) and some checking out locations where they might hang out, and that’s pretty much how I write a book.

Now, come on all you budding writers out there – how do you write yours? Do you have any strange or special things that help you?

34 thoughts on “How I Write a Book!

  1. When I write stories I normally write down a few notes and stuff then I head straight into it, I’ve yet to finish one though I think the story I’m currently writing maybe the one I actually finish πŸ˜€

  2. Hi Kelly =D Nice to see the real you.

    (did you die your hair? Looks wonderful :))

    Now, i’m abit strange how i write a story, i first daydream up the plot, then sit down and write it and somehow it unravels itself into a story. I HAVE to have a song to match the story or i carn’t write that story.

    I’ve always wrote like this, not sure why but i love it beacuse, when you just sit down with a blank Doc and your head, Wonderful things tend to happen! I don’t know anything but the first name of the characters, the TINY part of the plot and the song i want to listen to when i’m writing.

    SO, Thats me! πŸ™‚


    • Hi Laura! Have fun with Sophie tomorrow! I wish i could just let the story unfold on a blank doc like you, but that’s far too scary for me. Bits still do find their own way, though, and more plot links are revealed as I go along and that’s lots of fun! Kellyxx

  3. Hi Kelly,
    I’m new to GHB but I found it really interesting to hear how you write. I have to be a lot more methodical than you or I don’t actually get anything done! I write quite a full chapter breakdown before I set-off and once I start writing I tend to stick to it. I do go off-piste if I need to, but not all that much. I really admire the writers who can just sit down at a laptop or pad of paper each day without a plan and still know where they are going with the story, don’t you? Anyway, that’s me for today!

    • Hi Michelle, oh yes, I definitely need my chapter plans! I usually have at least have the final word count in notes before I start writing. I know it’s time to get on wth the writing when my notes say, ‘and then he says…, and then she says…’ when you’re that far in, there are no more excuses not to get started! xxx

  4. Love this, Kelly! I’m coming up to that dreaded click-send moment – though I haven’t actually written the end yet, so I’d better get cracking. Curly-Wurlys aren’t my thing though: large bar of dark chocolate and a great big pot of coffee are my besties through those last few days. πŸ™‚

  5. The best way I find to write a book is to just start as soon as I get the idea and think it up as I go. Usually though I get bored of writing and leave it for a while, but then when I start again everything seems to go better than in the first place!!
    I love your idea of checking out places and clothes that you’re characters would like – I think I might try that for myself!

    • Hi Ellie/Lulu, glad you liked the tip! I also just used to stick a pin in the tube map and go to that station, sit in a cafe in that area and write. It was a great way to discover new places. Sadly it doesn’t work now I live out in the sticks, though – if I stuck a pin in my local map I’d just end up in a wood or the middle of a heath (or if I was lucky, in the cupcake shop at the end of the road!). Happy writing, I love your method! Kellyx

  6. well when I’m writing or trying to start a story I (obviously)
    need chocolate

    But sometimes I have a small teddy bear to keep me compnay when writing!

    I know embarassing!

  7. Great post!

    Your ideas on how to write a book are really interesting!

    When I get an idea, I normally act out the rest of the story idea, and then write it down. It helps when you act it out because you know all your characters feelings and each point and what they’d do about it.

    • Hi Hikma, I thinking acting things out is a great way to find where a story is going. I do a lot of that when I visit schools – the girls are usually surprised to find themselves walking around in different characters’ shoes or replying to questions as their character, but you’re right, it really does help! Kellyx

  8. I tend to get an idea and then just sit at my laptop and type, letting the story unfold as I go. I have written one complete book that way and two that I am part way through.
    i like to have music on in the background when i write, but very low and soft.

  9. After years of writing poetry and short stories, I have decided to start on my first novel. I have been so intimidated by the idea of it that I’ve stalled completely. I adapted a short story that I wrote a few months ago into the opening of my novel and that was great but once I finished that…I wasn’t feeling it anymore. Now I’m at the point where I have thrown out that concept and I’m brain-storming new concepts.
    I guess what I’m saying is that I haven’t found my technique yet. I worry so much about planning too much or not planning enough. What you mentioned about chapter plans sounds great and I think that It would help me to have an idea beforehand of what I want each chapter to include.

    I think that these set backs and these things that I worry about are all just things that I am producing in my mind because I am intimidated and self-conscious. Do you ever feel that way about writing?

    • Hi Truewomanifesto,
      Yes, I definitely feel like that. It’s usually when I’ve done all the planning and have to start the writing. The way I get round that is not to start right at the beginning but at a bit further into the chapter, say, where I have more notes, or even a section of dialogue already worked out. Then i go backwards and forwards from there. In fact my whole method of writing is designed so that you’re never faced with a blank page or scary bit. I do all my research as I make the notes so it’s there in the document when I’m writing and I don’t have to break off to find it. And I write over my chapter plans, so I’m not working on a blank document but simply converting notes into text. I don’t know if any of that helps but it works for me anyway. Good luck with your writing, sounds like you’re really on the right track. Kellyx

  10. Hi, when I write I go to my room and take out one of my stories and write. I do this for about an hour a day, then I read it and check it again and change things that need to be change. Then I put all the stories together and send it off. The book publisher read it and say yes they would publish it. Now I’m on to my next book.

  11. Hi Kelly
    I HAVE to, and I mean HAVE to do all my daydreamy, scribbly, ideas stuff in one notebook. This notebook was given to me by my Grandpa, a few months before he died. It isnt the most beautiful notebook, but it is really special to me and I love it!

    • Thanks, Ella. It’s wonderful that you have a special notebook. You must feel like your Grandpa is there, inspiring you. Boringly I get those A4 notepads, pull most of the paper out and use them as folders, one for each book. That way they’re easy to grab to carry round the house, put in my bag etc. Then I have those A4 document folders for each book too, with all the old drafts and research etc in. I do have a special pen, though, given to me by a lovely girl for whom I was the one to one learning assistant in the classroom. I treasure that pen and as it’s a fountain pen I don’t let anyone else use it (mean, i know!). Good luck with your writing! xxx

  12. Hi Kelly,
    When I write, it starts with just thinking. I hold the story in my head for awhile and let it bubble, then when I have a character and a place, and just start writing (I hardly ever type, it feels un-natural to me) I usually need a box of Junior Mints or M&M’s to keep me company while I write πŸ™‚

  13. Pingback: Kelly Mckain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s