What?  Writers have a process?  Well, the good ones do.

Let’s get this out of the way right up front.  I have written two full-length novels and have started a third.  My style and process is known as being a “pantser” in the writing community.  This means I do not have an outline or pre-determined track for my story.  I make it up as I go…actually my characters talk to me and we wrestle about it.  I don’t recommend this for just anyone as it is like doing a high-wire act with no safety net.  But, for those of us who like it, it can be a lot of fun.  I get to be as surprised as my readers as my tale unfolds.  I begin with an idea or “what if” thing in my mind, but after that I am on Toad’s Wild Ride!

I begin with the selection of the main locations where my story will take place and often this will entail some research which I do at that time.  I write about things I know as often as possible, but when I need more, I find it and learn about it.  Then I create my main character and secondary characters.  I make sure they have the necessary skills and traits that will enable them to do what I need them to do within the storyline.  If necessary, I add another character along the way to give me the ability to pivot my plot in the direction I want it to go.  I don’t like rewriting large portions of a book, so I give these things a lot of thought while in the creation process.  Then, I turn my characters loose on the world and allow them to do wonderful and crazy things and encounter incredible danger along the way.  I don’t like killing my characters off very much so this is always a challenge for me.  I’m a softie.

I alternate between different plot lines in my book frequently.  I don’t want the reader to get bored or bogged down, so I use short chapters and alternating storylines to keep it moving.  Stephen King says the main thing to remember is, it’s all about the story.

I do a lot of revisions and editing while I am writing the first draft which is not the norm I am told.  But when I have completed it, I have something fairly solid to work with already as I begin final editing.  I just prefer it that way.

I allow my wife and no more than two additional beta readers to review my draft and I take their impressions into consideration.  But in the end, I follow my own instincts.  Then, off it goes to the editor and then the publisher.

This is how I do it.  Pantser or Outliner, makes no difference.  You do what works best for you!

Larry Hamilton 

Author of The Atlantis Codes and Critical Mass

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