How I Write

I improvise. I try to plan as little as possible.
I plan for A to happen, then B to happen, then C to show up and kill D. When I did that, it seemed forced. I love not knowing what’s gonna happen to a character. It’s in the back of my mind all day.
I write every day. I do this to keep the story fresh and to keep myself accountable. If I said to myself, “I’m gonna write when I have free time,” I’d never do it. It’s like working out. You have to make time. I sit down for one to two hours (sometimes three) every day and write non-stop. I don’t pause to think and plan. I just go. I let it all out there in the first draft and I save the editing to when I’m completely done.
I try to know my characters through music. I always listen to music while I write. The music helps me develop the vibe. A couple of weeks ago, I finished the first draft to my first novel. The working title’s “Mad City” and it’s a crime thriller set in present-day Miami with a young protagonist. It’s fast-paced and rough, so I listened to new hip-hop for the two months it took me to write it. Hip-hop’s my default anyway (Logic, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, DJ Khaled, etc.). I love hip-hop. And I wanted to blend that sound and mood into my story.
The novel I’m currently writing is much different. My protagonist is a 65-year-old man from Savannah, GA. It didn’t feel right listening to Drake while trying to live in this guy’s head. So I’m listening to what would have been popular during my protagonist’s early years: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brother, Charlie Daniels Band. Music helps me live in the time and place I’m trying to write from.
So, for me, writing should be consistent and improvised. I ask myself what would realistically happen in this situation, and I write it. Then I keep going.

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