In a recent interview, Stephen King said the following:
I don’t think conceptually while I work on a first draft — I just write.
…And I had a slightly sad ‘Eureka’ moment of leaping into the air shouting ‘Yes!’. All very alarming, but then I have been working on first and second drafts of two as-yet unpublished books for the last two years. This, in addition to my job in digital communications and my somewhat disastrous attempts to bring up a teen, a pre-teen and a baby (now a Terrible Two).
Unsurprisingly, anything which makes me feel better about my writing process is a godsend.
Because I’ve realised over the last two or three years that this is what I do too. On a recent Faber Academy course I was taught how to look at the beginning of a novel in a more conceptual way. That was hard work. Necessary though, and it has transformed my writing.
However, it is extremely difficult to reconcile the conceptual approach with getting the story down into a first draft.
You can plan, but quite often the story changes a bit. Or maybe the characters morph into something a bit different from what you intended (which in turn alters the plot). Ugh. All good fun, but it messes up the beautifully conceived intro pages you’ve spent ages crafting…
So I’ve decided now, I’m with Stephen King all the way.
Get the first draft down then go back and craft!