My Writing Process – Guest Post by NE David


Guest Post – My Writing Process

By N.E. David


One thing I’ve learnt from reading posts about people’s writing process is that no two authors do things the same way. You need to choose the method that suits you best. This is a summary of mine.

But firstly, what genre do I write in? To choose a genre and thereby define my writing is something that’s forced on me by the market. I don’t start out by thinking that I’m going to write a crime novel for example, although crimes might be committed in my book. I don’t start out thinking that I’m going to write a romance, although there may well be a love interest. I begin by thinking of the story I want to write and the genre comes afterwards. In my case, I guess my work must be literary fiction since it doesn’t ‘fit’ into anything else.

And that’s ok for me because my concept of literary fiction is one where the author is trying to express an idea or give some insight into the human condition. My intention in writing is to express a character through telling a story. For instance, in my debut novel, BIRDS OF THE NILE, the character is Michael Blake and the story revolves around the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

Secondly, why do I write what I do? I once heard somebody answer this by saying that they didn’t choose their subjects, their subjects chose them. Ditto. One of the reasons I write at all is because it helps me make sense of my life so most of my stories are in some way personal. Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of plots in my head, some of which have been there for decades, and I’m driven to set them down on paper before it’s too late. It’s compulsive and I write to try and explain the world as I see it rather than to some kind of stereotype.

So how does my writing process actually work? When I first began writing I wrote freely and without very much planning. Now I’ve turned professional, I’ve adopted a more professional approach although it doesn’t always work out that way. Here (for the purists amongst you) is the theory.

Step One : I begin with a rough idea of my central character and storyline. I will almost certainly have a good idea of the opening scene, maybe even the opening line, and similarly the closing scene.

Step Two : Having decided to take a piece further, I write a synopsis of the whole plot and flesh out the storyline. I then write character studies for my main protagonists, say a page on each.

Step Three : Then I take a deep breath, sharpen my pencil (I write longhand), clear my diary for the next six months and sit down to write a first draft. The key thing is to finish it and I find that the best way to do this is by not going back to review a single word, even if I know something’s wrong. That way danger lies, trust me.

Step Four : Put it in the drawer and let it rest. At this stage I take another piece out of the drawer (here’s one I prepared earlier) and work on that.

Step Five : Some time later (it could be up to a year) I take the first piece out of the drawer, read it and weep. But however bad it is (and it will be) by now I’ll have invested too much of my life in it to throw away. So I draw up a plan of how to fix it.

Step Six : I fix it – or at least the major bits. This doesn’t involve the prose by the way, that comes later. What I’m talking about here is the structure and the plot.

Step Seven : Now I fix the prose with a line by line edit.

Step Eight : A final edit for spelling, commas, layout etc and I’m done. Phew!

This whole process can take a total of two years of my time and those two years can be spread over several more. BIRDS OF THE NILE for example began with a trip to Egypt in January 2009. That generated half the story but the rest had to wait until after the revolution. The book itself wasn’t published until September 2013.

Well, I hope this has been helpful. If you can take something from it, good luck to you. If not, then it may give you increased confidence in your own methods. As I said at the beginning, we all do it differently.

**Footnote : The ebook version of BIRDS OF THE NILE is currently on offer for $0.99. Purchase: US / UK 


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About N.E. David

N.E.David is my pen name but my proper name is Nick. I began writing at the age of 21 but like so many things in life, it did not work out first time round. Now older – and hopefully wiser – I have taken it up again and I have successfully had a series of short novellas published both in print and online. I have no personal or political message to convey but my objective is merely to entertain the reader and I hope this is reflected in my writing. Besides being a regular contributor to Literary Festivals and open mics in the North East Region, I am also a founder member of York Authors.

 My debut novel, BIRDS OF THE NILE, is published by Roundfire.

Stalk Him: Website / Twitter



BOTN Front Cover 1Birds of The Nile

Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Amazon wishlist

When Michael Blake takes early retirement from the British Embassy in Cairo, he books a long awaited birding trip. But halfway up the Nile he meets Lee Yong and things begin to change. Their tour guide Reda isn t all he seems either and when the Egyptian revolution kicks off, Blake finds himself embroiled in a tangled web of love and intrigue. Set against the background of the events of January 2011, Birds of the Nile is a powerful story of loss and self-discovery as three disparate characters, each with their own agenda, seek to come to terms with change. Part political thriller, part love story, Birds of the Nile is N.E.David s debut novel. Poignantly written, it reminds us of the complex nature of global cultural interaction and how, as individuals, we try to deal with it.




There were times when he thought he could see the light – or at least sense it – a faint blur amidst the general darkness. He knew it was there, for each morning when he shuffled across the bare boards of his room and threw open the shutters to let in the day, he remembered how it would come flooding in, great long shafts of it slicing into the space between the window and his bed, the covers turned back, the sheet still warm from whatever rest he had managed the night before. Then he would feel it too, the heat of it on his hands and feet, and for a minute or two he would bathe his face in it, slanting his chin upwards toward the sun which even at that early hour still had the capacity to burn. It would strike him how pleasurable this was, and rather than go to the bathroom for his morning ablutions and take the risk of boiling a kettle and pouring scalding water into a sink, he would remain by the window and wash himself in a brightness he knew but could not see. And so, in this way, another day would slowly but surely begin.

On this particular morning he had woken with a jolt. The dream which had continually afflicted his sleep had returned and was plaguing him once more. He had thought himself free of it, but it was back and with it the suspicion that it would never truly leave him.

And yet it always began so well. He would find himself running in the midst of a large crowd, almost like a herd of buffalo charging across an open plain. He was filled with a feeling of joy and light-headedness and he imagined he was carrying something in his hand (was it a flag?) which he seemed to hold aloft as if in triumph. Then he would become aware of the noise, the raised voices of the tumult surrounding him, the shouts and cries of the crowd and the deep rumble of stones landing on corrugated sheeting. And somewhere at the back of his throat he could taste what he thought was the bitterness of gunsmoke.

Then the dreaded moment would arrive, preceded as if it were a herald’s trumpet by the loud whinnying of a horse. The massive beast and its rider would suddenly appear out of the confusion and rear up before him in fear. He would find himself staring at its hooves and a moment would pass in which he could hear nothing save a strange rattle as though a tin can were being kicked down the street. Then it would fall silent again for a second before everything erupted in a deafening roar and the searing pain would begin.

Here he would jerk himself awake and sit bolt upright in the bed, his upper body drenched in sweat and his breath coming in short, sharp gasps like those of a panting dog. He would stay there, his arms pushed back against the sheets behind him until he had finally calmed himself and told himself that it was only a dream. But after a while, when he felt ready, as if in the hope that all life since had been part of his imagination too, he would gradually prise his eyelids apart to test the reality.

Yet still there would be nothing.

Eventually, he would swing his legs over the edge of the bed and instead of trying to fall back to sleep and risk a repeat of the same painful journey, he would make his way across to the window where he would open the shutters once more.



It had begun almost immediately after what he called ‘the accident’. As the battle raged around him he had lain for a while, semi-conscious, and his first recollection was of being moved onto a stretcher, the stabbing pain in his shoulder jerking him rudely awake. Later, as he forced himself to focus on it in an effort to bring back the moment, he recalled the dry dusty smell of canvas and, at his side, the cool touch of polished wood.

They must have taken him back to the camp because rather than load him straight into an ambulance, he was physically carried some distance. He remembered that well enough, the bouncing ride performed at the trot, his unhinged shoulder flapping from side to side in agony. When they mercifully came to a halt, he was raised up and taken to a chair where he imagined himself seated as if in a barber’s shop. Someone was talking behind him, then a woman approached (he could tell by her scent) and she began to apply first aid. As his head was being bandaged, just as he’d seen done before, he reached out for her arm and felt her sleeve between his fingers. And yes, it was a leather jacket she was wearing.

“Are you the same …?” he asked. Although as soon as she replied, Am I the same what? her voice told him that it was not the girl he’d met earlier.

And all the time he kept telling himself I will get through this. Don’t panic and it’ll be alright.

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.