Working on something new: how I write

Posted on January 19, 2016

How I write Allison TaitI’m writing a new story at the moment, feeling my way into the characters, discovering new things about them as I write. This is my favourite part of the whole writing process, this ‘getting to know you’ phase.

It’s the one reason that I don’t think I could ever become a true Plotter, as much as I can see the benefits.

I’ve written about 15,000 words now. Most of them have come easy, a simple matter of writing down what seems to be blowing about in the ether. But some of them have been very, very hard.

I think of these sections as dark tunnels, where I’m writing cautiously, syllable by syllable, not exactly sure where I’m going. And then, suddenly, I see light and it’s a headlong dash into wide open, flowing country of the next section.

I love the surprise factor of writing this way. I’m learning about my characters, tiny little details, things that make me think ‘why?’. I’ve learnt to trust these tiny little details, leaving them in place, moving forward, trusting that the story will unfold and somewhere down the track there’ll be an ‘aha!’ moment and the reason for that tiny little detail will be revealed.

I can do this now, because writing The Mapmaker Chronicles taught me that the writing brain works in mysterious ways. Tiny little details that I had written in book one, because they were part of the characters and therefore part of the story, came together in book three in ways that I would never have imagined had I consciously sat down to think about it.

Which is not to say that I am without fear about where it’s all going and whether I’ll get there. Writing without a map does mean that you can find yourself in the wilderness, thirsty, tired, and wondering if you’ll ever find civilisation again.

Wish me luck!

Allison book signingAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


  1. Erin

    How fascinating, the details coming together from book 1 to 3 🙂 Wishing you luck

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks Erin! Have been so buried in the new book that I’m late to responding…

  2. Cindy Jones

    Thank you Allison! I’m working on my first novel and you described exactly how I feel at times. But knowing I’m in good company really helps!

    • Allison Tait

      That’s great Cindy! Hope the novel is going well.

  3. John James

    I’m working on a new hope-to-be-a-book at the moment – the third book I’ve ever started to write – and you’ve described the process exactly…


    Sometimes the words flow out of me – sometimes the crawl – but being the third time I’ve started a new book-in-progress, I know what you mean – it’s my favourite part of the process too… It’s all those little “Ah-Ha!” moments when you suddenly understand something – a character’s motivation, or their back-story, or how the overall structure looks clearer all of a sudden…

    I may never be published, but it’s still so much fun creating people and worlds that never existed before…

    • Allison Tait

      It’s all about the pleasure of the process!

  4. colleen goth

    I really enjoyed this! I too am in the midst of writing – this time trying my hand at a novella. I am more of a plotter but I do find that writing takes on a life of its own.

    Good luck with the poll!

    • Allison Tait

      I’ve been watching your progress with the novella – congrats on getting it finished and good luck!

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