I don’t suppose many of us would want to witness the slaughtering, chopping, mincing and squeezing involved in sausage-making. Book production is slightly less gruesome, but unlike the manufacturing of the foodstuff, books don’t all follow the same method. It’s a safe bet that if you asked a group of authors how they go about writing a book (and I often chat to writers here on the blog) there’d be as many explanations as writers.
There seem to be two main processes, but it’s a spectrum. At one extreme are the plotters; those who plot everything very tightly. They will have pages of notes, flow-charts, biographies of characters – in fact, before they write the first word, the story is laid out and they just have the task of putting flesh on the bones.
At the other end of the spectrum from the plotters are the pantsters; those who write by the seat of their pants. They come up with a story idea. It’s usually something you could outline in a few sentences. Then they start writing. Sometimes they don’t even know how it will end. The story evolves and the characters start to live. It’s amazing how many people say that their characters ‘told them what to write’. It’s a kind of ‘voices in your head’ situation in which they don’t take you away.
I suspect most of us are somewhere along that arc. We know what will happen. We know the result. Some people even write the end first. It’s a journey and if the author enjoys it, there’s a good chance the reader will too.
Now I’ve got to have sausages for tea!