What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
This is an intriguing question which I can only answer if I first break down what I think my own writing process is.
I have only published one young adult book, While the Bombs Fell, and I have recently finished a much longer work for a young adult audience, Through the Nethergate. I am currently working on a novella called A Ghost and his Gold which is set during the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa and the first book in a trilogy about a world in the throes of climate crisis and the fallout from the fourth industrial revolution.
My writing process for WTBF was rather experimental as it was the first longer and more complicated story I attempted. It involved a lot of historical research which was enjoyable but time consuming. I learned a lot about developing a historical timeline of real events first and then fitting your story around it so that the timing all works correctly. I only realised that I need a historical timeline after I had finished the first draft of the book so I took me a lot of time and effort to go back and turn the entire story around and remodel it onto the historical timeline. I’ll never forget this lesson, that I can promise. I also learned a lot about dialogue and showing not telling as I have previously written non-fiction books which have a different writing style.
I carried my learning experiences from WTBF through to TTNG up front so the structure and flow of this book was much smoother from the beginning. That made my writing experience easier and quicker. The developmental edits for this book were much smaller from a structure and story line point of view, and more around a developing emotion and showing rather than telling perspective. Another steep learning curve.
With my two WIPs I have had a good idea of the basic story outline up front and have fleshed it out as I go along. I research each new section as I write it which is why my word count rarely exceeds 1 500 words in one sitting as the research is time consuming and I check to a number of sources for factual accuracy. I am doing my best to show and not tell and build in the emotion and description as I go along. I wonder what my new developmental editing points will be?
Going back to the question as to what is the most difficult thing for me in the artistic process, it is getting the detail and emotion into the story in a compelling way. The facts need to be conveyed in and interesting and natural way that fits in with the characters and the story and this is hard work and requires effort and deep concentration for me.
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