I hope you had a good week and are enjoying the Labor Day Holiday. It’s always a little bit of a bittersweet day, because it marks the end of summer. So no more vacation for a while, the warmer weather will end soon, and we all go back to work or school, and will have a long winter to get through before we can enjoy our summer holidays again!!! I hope you had a chance to enjoy a long weekend, for these final days of summer.
I thought of an odd topic the other day. My agent mentioned it to me recently, and I’ve seen the subject brought up on the Internet once or twice, about me. So I thought I’d answer you directly, and let you in a little more on how I work. The question is “How do I write so many books?” and Does someone help me write them, or many someones??? The fast answer is that No, No one writes them for me or with me or helps me. I do all the work and all the writing myself.
Amazingly, many very famous writers get help with their books now. I can think of two very well-known authors who literally have a “group” of writers they assign the work to, to write the story with them, or for them. I guess they give them directions. I’m not sure how it works, because I’ve never done it. I’ve heard that one of those authors assigns one chapter to each person, and they write it for that writer. Personally, I don’t see how you can call yourself a writer, if someone else writes the books. Also, if you know the author of a book (or maybe even if you don’t), when you read the book, you hear that author’s voice in your head, almost as if they are reading it to you. Every writer has a distinctive voice, and you “hear” them when you read their work. So how does that work if 3 or 4, or 10 different writers have created the book? I would think that it creates a jumble of voices telling the story. And every writer’s style is different, so that’s a lot of styles in one book. And many authors now aren’t embarrassed to admit that they don’t write the books themselves. I think that’s kind of sad. (And I would hate having anyone co-write a book with me. I want to do all the writing, and the concept myself. I am not a collaborative writer. I work alone. I have a researcher who helps me dig out research and facts on a subject, and an editor who corrects my work when I finish a book, to make sure I haven’t made some glaring mistake. But I write the entire story, and the entire book myself. ALL by myself!!!
My process is that I get an idea, sometimes just a little piece of an idea, a theme, or something I’ve seen or heard about or read in the news. I then begin to make notes, and jot down ideas for a book. That part can go on for months, and often does. And eventually I write an outline for a book, with all the details. I outline it chapter by chapter. And I make a list of research I need (about an industry, or an illness, or historically, like a war or a famous battle.) After my editor reads it and tells me if the idea makes sense and sounds good to her, then I sit down and prepare to write it. It’s always a very anxious moment when I start a book, wanting to do it justice, hoping I will get it right. I continue to make notes on the outline while I write the book, to fine tune some of the details. While I’m writing, I don’t see or talk to anyone (except my kids), I don’t go out, I don’t see friends. I work 20 or 22 hour days, sleep for a few hours and go back to work, so I don’t lose the thread of the book. It’s a long, hard, slow, intense process. (Most of my outlines are 35 to 40 pages, and the first draft of a novel is 300 to 400 pages. When I finish the first draft, then the book goes to my editor, who eventually sends it back to me, with notes all over the manuscript, with suggestions of things she doesn’t like or I need to change, because it’s too confusing, or too fast or too slow, or the emotions between characters aren’t clear. When I get the manuscript back with her list of suggestions and polite critiques, I then correct the manuscript, add whatever research is needed, and it becomes the Final Draft, and I send it to the publisher. I see it one more time about a year later, which is my last chance to make corrections before it goes to the printer to become a book. (It takes about 2 years from when I write it to when it comes out as a finished book.) It’s a slow process in writing and in publishing.
One thing is unusual about my work is that I often work on 4 or 5 books at the same time, at different stages of the work. I work on a whole book and then move on to the next one (I don’t do a chapter here in one book and a chapter there). It’s a great advantage being able to keep track of several books at once, and I can work on several books at the same time, to finish for you.
I LOVE doing what I do, and I work hard. I love writing, it’s rewarding and fun and exciting at times, and drudgery at other times. And if you hit a dull spot, or a dead spot, you just have to keep on going until you find a way to make the “dull” spot better and more exciting.
My kids and my writing are my life, and fill my nights and days. And I can promise you that I am the ONLY person who writes my books, or even edits them. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would share the work, or collaborate on a story/book/ or manuscript. Writing is so ENTIRELY personal. It’s what comes out of your head or your heart, it’s what you want to say to your readers, and what your soul wants to say. I talk to you through the books, and I can’t imagine letting someone else share that conversation with you or “mess with” my books. My books are sacred to me. And I hope that they are meaningful to you. And it’s just me sitting here 20 or 22 hours a day, No elves. No gnomes. No little fairies with pens poised over the page.
I just wanted to clear that up with you. Rest assured, I am totally dedicated to the work, and as long as I have breath, the books will be as good as I can make them, and I will be here all by myself, pounding away on New Books to show you!!! Happy Reading!!!
Have a Great Week! love, Danielle