The writing process is different for every author. So we asked Maxym M. Martineau to describe the writing process for her debut novel, Kingdom of Exile. Take it away, Maxym!
I’m always so in awe of the authors who can plot. I’m talking about the ones who create storyboards, creatively move sticky notes around that are color-coded and beautiful, write scene-by-scene outlines before they even begin drafting… That level of plotting is so incredible to me, and totally not the way my writing process works. It just goes to show that there are different approaches to writing a story, and mine is just one of many. So if you’re curious how Kingdom of Exiles came to life, then keep reading (and expect no sticky notes, save the ones I slapped on my desk with upcoming due dates).
Drafting Kingdom of Exiles
So normally, I tend to start with a lot of pre-writing activities: drawing or designing maps, filling out character bios, spending hours on Pinterest, creating playlists on Spotify… Only once I have a concrete idea of the world, who’s in it, and some music to jam out to while I write do I actually start drafting.
I’d say this process is about 85% accurate for Kingdom of Exiles.
Why? Because Noc is an insistent man who came to me in a dream while I was writing a different project and demanded to be written into existence, pre-writing be damned! Basically, I rolled out of bed and immediately went to my computer and began word-vomiting everything that came to mind about him and his love interest, Leena. Then, once I felt like I did him some semi-decent justice, I paused and started my regular pre-writing activities (specifically, a map of the world and of course, Pinterest for the beasts and characters).
With the map designed and my cast of characters fully fleshed out, I kind of lose myself. Because I don’t plot (seriously, I wish I could), I just fall completely into whatever is happening on the page at that very moment. I let the characters speak to me, and since I’ve spent time understanding their individual motives and goals, I let them drive the plot. Sure, I vaguely know what I want to happen (characters need to get from A to Z somehow), but exactly how they get there? That all happens in the moment.
General Writing Habits
I get really absorbed in my stories. Like, don’t-talk-to-me-unless-you’re-bringing-me-coffee absorbed. Which brings me to a couple things I must have when it actually comes time to write:
In a perfect world where I constantly have coffee at my disposal, have little disruption from outside people, and the perfect playlist, I can write relatively quickly. The first draft comes out in a blur, and then the editing is where I finesse and fine-tune plot points. I typically don’t hit writer’s blocks too often, and I’ve never been the type of person to leave myself notes, like, “insert battle scene here” or “and then they kiss and makeup.” I’m such a completionist, that even if it holds up my progress, I won’t move on to the next scene until I have something, even if it’s a hot dumpster fire, written on the page.
So there you have it! If I had to sum up my writing process, it begins with a dream, followed by pre-writing, then word-vomiting, then editing. And coffee is a constant throughout. So is music. That was the perfect recipe for drafting Kingdom of Exiles, and I hope it continues to serve me well as I move throughout the rest of the series!