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How I create the worlds you love

20210607 – June 7th – Aaryanna Abbott

Creating My Story Bible
I create an extensive excel file with twenty sheets and thousands of columns and rows. Think of this as a single drawer in a filing cabinet. It holds my world building, family trees, character sketches, outline and ideas.

Characters and Coffee
I settle into my favourite chair with a warm coffee and imagine them next to me. What information do I need to know in order to turn the new stranger into a best friend? It’s an interview, often out loud in talk show style. I gain the answers to 128 intimate questions.

Write What I Know
Any scenes previously shown to me by my character I write very quickly in a single document with line breaks between for future use in my novel.

Discovering The World
During our interview, the character often reveals some of their world but not everything. Under 29 categories and 890 questions, I build each city, country, continent and finally their world.

I typically know how my story begins and ends, but how do I get from one point to the other? I write a single line for each chapter then as my zero draft progresses, my characters laugh and refuse to follow my tidy outline. I’m continuously at odds with my stubborn characters and have to rework it accordingly.

Zero Draft
Not everyone’s zero draft will be the same. Mine is the complete story, written how I think it will appear in the final draft. Sometimes descriptions evade me. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favourite aspect of writing. When I’m not inspired to write it, I will leave a red line of text telling me what is needed then I move on. I will visit my red lines each day and see if anything clicks.

Alpha Reader
This is my cheerleader. Someone who reads everything and knows my story bible almost as well as I do. They’re invested in my story and characters and want to read everything in real time, no matter its condition. Sometimes passing over a scene eight to ten times. They offer you excitement when yours has waned. They will brainstorm with you and help you discover what is lacking. I call mine Ashley.

The Dreaded Edit
Authors/Writers often refer to this as draft one. It’s my most heavy edit and takes months to complete. I remove unnecessary words, change over used words, strengthen my sentences, check my consistency, ensure I’ve used more than 3 senses and finally check my grammar and style.

Further Drafts
From one draft to the next, each with another objective. These include motivation/emotion, actions, dialects, magic/creatures and beta reader drafts.

Beta Readers
I collect beta readers as I draft. After the fifth draft, I send them the first three chapters and wait. Beta readers have every intention of reading but sometimes, life gets in the way. That’s why having more is key in case some have to fall off. Each time I hear from them I will send more copy. It’s important that my beta readers understand what my expectations of them are.

Final Edit
This is my beta edit. Did several readers have an issue with anything? How can I fix those for them? This is where ‘The End’ is written for the final time.

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