Friday 6 February 2015

The Book Cycle with Kendra Leighton

Today I am pleased to welcome author, Kendra Leighton onto the blog. Kendra is the debut author of Glimpse, a Young Adult book inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem, The Highwayman, which was published by Much-In-Little in June 2014.
When I wrote the first draft of Glimpse six years ago, my writing process consisted of…well, not much! I didn’t plan, didn’t think much about characters, I just had fun and wrote what I wanted. The result? A novel I had to revise so many times I couldn’t begin to count the drafts. Glimpse 2009 was a very different creature to the Glimpse published in 2014, and that’s a good thing!
Two manuscripts later, and my writing process is much different. There are countless ways to write stories, but here’s what I put Glimpse through when editing, and what I do now with new books.

1) First comes the idea. Unlike some authors, I’m not a big notepad user (I love cut and paste too much!), so everything goes into Scrivener on my laptop. I brainstorm ideas until they’re big and shiny enough to excite me, and pin images onto Pinterest. I love Pinterest’s ‘secret boards’ function for this—all my as-yet-unpublished books have a secret board.
2) Next, I work out my characters. I use a process I learnt during an online writing course called Discovering Story Magic by Laura Baker. Laura runs her course about once a year, and I can’t gush about it enough. It’s all stuff you might be able to find in writing books, but Laura makes the process so clear and gives tons of feedback. (End of gushing!) So I work out my characters’ goals and flaws, taking care that different characters conflict with each other and/or cause each other to grow, and then I use that to help build the plot.
3) My next step is to map out the plot chapter by chapter. I find this a bit frustrating as I’m itching to get going by this point, but it’s much easier for me to get the plot right before I start than when I’ve already got a finished draft.
4) First draft. This usually takes me six months or so, as I like to go back and edit my previous day’s writing before I write something new.
5) I read through my draft, making notes on things I want to change, then edit until I’m happy. I don’t keep track of draft numbers, as I’m usually changing little things all over the shop. Unless I’m forced to, I never start a whole new draft—I’m one of those odd types who wholeheartedly prefers editing to drafting!
6) When I’ve done as much as I can on my own, I give the manuscript to someone else for feedback. I wait for their notes, make edits as appropriate, then send out to someone else. Repeat until it’s finished! (Sounds so simple…*wishful sigh*)
Glimpse by Kendra Leighton — published by Constable & Robinson in 2014

Book Summary
Liz just wants to be normal. Her life is anything but.
Seven years ago Liz lost her mother and ten years' worth of memories. When she inherits the infamous Highwayman Inn, she hopes the move will be a fresh start. Then she meets Zachary. Zachary who haunts her by night and in dreams; who makes her question everything she is and wants to be; who seems scarcely real - yet makes her feel so alive.
Inspired by Alfred Noyes' classic poem 'The Highwayman', Glimpse is a ghost story, a love story, and a story of a girl fighting for her future by confronting her terrible past.
Twitter: @KendraLeighton

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