Hope you enjoyed the video!
Several of you have asked me about my writing process. I’ll say this much: conceiving the idea for a novel is the easy part; completing an entire manuscript can seem like a nightmare. In the video, WEbook wrote: “Two years later Good God Bird was finished…”. This doesn't explain that it was actually four years after I came up with the original idea for the book.
My typical regimen is writing quite late at night with some form of hot caffeine nearby (coffee, Earl Grey, etc.). But the normal routine wasn't getting me anywhere. I had thrown out countless first chapters, changed narrators three or four times, and even considered turning it into a nonfiction novel at one point.
To finish my novel, I knew that I needed to be somewhere that could inspire me. So, I went camping. My parents and I have been camping in Arkansas for years and, over the span of two weeks, I wrote the bulk of Good God Bird in the middle of the night in my parents’ travel trailer.
One thing I noticed myself doing as I worked to complete my novel was imagining myself as my main character. I realize this may be a stretch for some, depending on who you are and the general plot of your novel, but I found it to be so helpful to try and think like the narrator instead of myself. I would ask myself “what would Cullen Witter do in this situation?” and it seemed to open up many doors for my story.
That summer it took me a little over a month to finish my manuscript. When I typed the last word I was in my apartment, in the middle of the night, and I remember being sad that I had no one to call…no means of celebration…no ability to shout up at the heavens that after talking about it for so long and thinking about it and obsessing over it, I had finally done it. But, looking back, I’m glad it was just my novel and me, because writing Good God Bird made me realize how personal of an experience writing really is. I genuinely mourned for my characters when I was done. I think falling in love with an idea is the first step to anyone’s writing process, and then finding whatever it is that inspires you and just going for it. You may go days or even weeks without one word, but don’t give up. If it’s the right story, you’ll somehow find a way to tell it.