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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Playing Frankenstein: The art of writing a book

Frankenstein's monster

Between journalism work, photography, my nature website, and my novel, it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day right now. The second draft of my second book IS coming along though, slowly growing as I add in extra details and scenes, now that I know exactly how the story pans out.

Everyone works differently, and it’s important to find your own way of writing, a way which works for you. For me, though, I like to think of the process of creating a book in the same way as creating a person from scratch. It is literally a body of work in my mind’s eye, and that thought helps me differentiate between the processes involved.

The first draft is a little like a skeleton and major organs. Get this right and there is a strong base for everything else.

With the second drafts I am adding muscle, nerves, veins and arteries. I am ‘fleshing out’ with all the wonderful detail that gives depth to a story and brings it to life.

Next will be draft number three, where I cut out extraneous material – a bit like liposuction for the body of the book.

Finally I will be busy with the editing, a sort of beauty treatment: think deep cleanse, exfoliation, and moisturiser that will make the skin glow. I am polishing my words, checking for mistakes, and getting everything just right so that the finished product is as close to perfect as it can be.

Of course, then I shall have to work on the cover, and that is the clothing, hair and make up of the piece. Getting my book ready for her party, trying to create something eye-catching.

Let’s hope she turns into the belle of the ball – and not Frankenstein’s monster.

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