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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Creating a Text – Brian McGilloway

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?

Each story begins for me with an initial premise; a body found on the border, a born again ex-con, a gold mine in the Donegal hills. The premise will float about in my head for a while, during which time I build the layers around it; the main crime, a connected crime and so on. Then I consider the characters involved, try to see links between them or interesting places for them to go. Sometimes, I tease out plot points, or lines of dialogue whilst cutting the grass or driving to work, which I’ll jot down on the back of envelopes, bills, receipts in my pocket. Before I start writing properly, I gather all these scraps together in a notebook and draw up a general plan, a few lines per chapter, for the first third to half of the book, with a summary of the second half and ending. As I write the first section of the book, I revise as necessary and re-plan a little. I tend to write about 1000 words per day, when I can. I seem to hit a natural pause around a third of the way through a book, where I stop for a week or two, take stock of what has happened so far, and get fired up for the next section. Often the story will have gone in an unexpected direction, which makes it all the more interesting for me to write, but which requires some reworking of plot points. I tend to revise slightly as I’m going along (especially the first few chapters), then read and revise several times after the first draft is finished.

Brian McGilloway is the author of Borderlands. His website is called Brian

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