Where and How I Write

In case you were wondering how a full time teacher manages to write, here’s a quick look inside my writing time.

Greetings all, and thanks for checking back in. I know it’s been a rather warm summer, and I just got back from a two week vacation/moving out party for my brother, who has been studying abroad in Tokyo for the last year.

English: Meiji Shrine Tokyo, JapanNeedless to say, two weeks in a country where you don’t speak the language can be both terrifying and enlightening. Just depends on whether you ordered the right food or not! (s’cuse me, I did not order the live squid with red bean paste filling, I ordered that eggy looking thing over there…. oh, that’s sea urchin ovaries? no thanks, I’ll have the rice.) Anyways, I thought that the ‘where and how I like to write’ post would be best done right now, as it’s a wonderfully quick and easy posting. Simply put, I write everywhere when I can and as much as I can – being a full time teacher during the school year, you can’t be picky, although I do tend to prefer weekends. I don’t normally set a word count per day, but a general ‘be at this many pages by such and such date’ instead.

Not specific enough for you?

Okay, I start by outlining my book in a journal/notebook that I picked up from Barnes and Noble. I find it slightly funny that something from B&N gave birth to something that is now carried in their online store. Usually I do a ‘whole book in one page’ type thing, then I go chapter by chapter. I know some authors do a lot of outlining. Outline this story arch or that. I can’t do that, nor do I have the patience to do that. I’ve done much of it in my head already. Did I mention that I tend to like writing late at night, with some dramatic music on? Personal favorites are from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack or other classical musical masterpieces. Although a few modern hits do show up from time to time. Hopefully my neighbors don’t think I’m slightly insane!

ShinkansenOnce I’ve outlined the chapters, I type them up. Sometimes I’ll refer back to my notes and sometimes I won’t. I’m fortunate enough to own both a mega desktop mac and a smaller laptop, so I took the laptop on my vacation and discovered that train rides are an AWESOME time to get stuff done. Between five airline flights, and probably a dozen train trips, I added around 10,000 words to Copper Centurion. I also sketched out the entire book in my notebook. You see, sometimes I’ll only outline the first half, then wait until I reach that point to continue the rest. I’m constantly tweaking and changing my story arcs. While the trains and planes may be loud, its loud white noise, not talking and cell phones, so I can concentrate. Otherwise, I need the music or silence to really focus on whats going onto the page.

After I finish writing this time, it’s off to the beta testers. I’ve been a lot busier this summer (even without a full time job) so I’m still only about halfway through CC, whereas last year I had finished Brass Legionnaire by this time. Goal is to finish it by end of October, and then let my beta readers have at it all of November. If you’re interested, PLEASE let me know, the more the merrier!

Oh, and I’ll be posting some lovely photos of the new digs later on for your voyeuristic enjoyment. But only if you are nice!

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

2 thoughts on “Where and How I Write”

  1. Glad to have you back! Sounds like an awesome trip even with the confusion of ordering edible food haha 😉

    I do the same thing with my writing, I’ll usually do more of a timeline instead of an actual outline and a lot of times I’ll end up redoing it half way through the book to fix timing of stuff. I will occasionally outline stuff especially when writing books dealing with historical events and then I’ll run the real events against the fictional ones so that I’ll make sure everything is timed right. Try researching and writing two books at once! Oddly enough if I were to mix up my WIPs ( a victorian steampunk mystery and a historical Roman Britain gladiator novel) it would end up being quite a bit like Brass Legionnaire! haha 😉

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