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Back to work!

After I finish a book, I always take a couple of months off before I start the next one. It gives me time to enjoy some reading and to let the events of the previous book percolate before I venture again into a new world. So, I have had my little break and this week, I have started on the research for my next book, Book 3 of The Emberjar.

Quite a few people have asked me about how I write my books, and what sort of order I do it in, how much planning I do before I write and so on and this seemed a perfect time to write a little about that. The first step, which gets me ready for the next journey, is to buy a brand new file, new notebooks and new pens. I don't do most of my actual writing in longhand but all of my planning is done with pen and paper. Once I have those things, I start to write down things for the book. To start with, I don't write too much about the plot. the initial stages are all about the research and world building of the location of the story. Each story has a new place to visit and enjoy, and I very much enjoy building up those worlds - planning what they look like, where they are situated, what the people are like who live there, what their social systems and beliefs are like. I also plan what is found in that land the plants and the occupations of its inhabitants, the stories and the clothes, the arts and the knowledge and so on. That's the stage I am at at the moment with Book 3. I think you're really going to enjoy this new land! After that is clearer in my mind and all written down on separate pages in my notebooks, I move on to planning and drawing out the plot arcs. I use timelines (which become more and more complex as we learn more and more about Talla's life and the places she visits), and flowcharts to get my head around the different plots and ensure that they all fit together well. When I have a broad plan of how the plot will go, I look at the questions which may have come up in previous books and consider which ones will be addressed in this book and what new questions might emerge as a consequence of the actions in the new book. Often at that stage I will begin to write the actual story, but the phases do interweave and often something will come up which then changes an outcome or a plotline and I have to rethink. Sometimes my characters take the story in different directions to the way I originally envisaged it, and its my job to know when to let them have free rein and when to rein them in! Its very early for any teasers for Book 3 but I can tell you one thing - part of the story will take place on an island....

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