Over the past few months, I've had quite a few people ask me how I'm able to write a novel and what the process looks like. Well, here it is.
First, I honestly pray. Each of my novels and/or stories is written for the purpose of sharing God's grace with my readers no matter what walk of life they are in. My prayer focuses on picking characters and situations that will provide the best environment to share the Gospel to an audience that needs to hear the truth. Ultimately, we all need the truth, and sometimes hearing it in a fresh way through the lives of fictional characters can mean the world to someone. I know I've had quite a few books that have brought me into a deeper understanding of God and my faith. I'm so grateful for those precious books that someone took the time to write.
Next, I choose my time period and an interesting central conflict for the book. Everything in the novel will revolve around resolving the conflict. Every choice the characters make, every situation or side conversation they have will ultimately contribute to the resolution of the problem.
After there's a problem to solve, logically there have to be people to solve it. Character creation is where I would say I spend the majority of my time in planning a novel because let's face it, there's a million ways your characters can get from point 'A' to point 'Z'. What makes the best path for each character depends on who that character is. What is their personality? How do they think? What are their flaws? Will they react to the conflict in a positive or negative way? How will they respond to other characters in the novel? Each character has to be consistent. I try to take time before I start writing to create characters whose attributes and flaws will point the reader to Christ through the difficult situations they may encounter. As I get to know my characters, I can start writing the story.
Most of the time, I have already planned the beginning and the end of a novel when I start writing. However, I try to be flexible with the middle. I usually don't know what choices a character will make until I start writing for awhile and get to know them better. As I said before, there's a million different ways to get to 'Z', and I make writing decisions for each character based on who they are and how I want their life to reveal something about God's truth.
Ultimately, my characters take me on a fun ride as new situations and heartwarming moments arise because of who they become. It's always fun for me to finish writing a first draft and do my first round edits. I get to see how all the tiny pieces fit together into a larger picture of God's grace.
That's the basic process. A lot of prayer. Some initial planning. Spend time with my characters. Share God's grace.
The end. :)