I hesitate to say I’ve read everything there is to read about the process of writing a book, because there will always be more to say. Is it better to plan in detail or should you just go for it and fix everything afterwards? Should you list everything there is to know about your characters before you start, or should you get to know them as you write, following the same sort of process as your readers? Each time I am convinced anew that I “should” do it this way.
But as I embark on a fourth draft of my first YA novel, I realise that, like children, every book is different, and there is no winning formula. Each book will take as long as it takes. Some books need forward planning, others need you to just write and see where they take you. Some start quickly, flounder, and then need re-drafting, re-writing. Others takes ages to gestate, but then mature quickly. Some need lots of attention early on, but then behave themselves as they mature, for others, it’s the baby steps which are difficult.
I wish there was a magic time saving formula, but each book just takes as long as it takes, but one thing I am sure about, is that the first draft is just you telling yourself what the story is about, and what will affect your productivity is how much the story means to you. And I’m not convinced you know that until you start to write.

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