This is definitely true of my own ‘process.’ Only my debut book Panther was relatively straightforward. Everything else I’ve written has needed innumerable redrafts, rewrites, and rethinks before finding its way. However much I might have planned before starting, there’s no process which puts me on a straight path to the finished product. I find the book along the way.
It’s messy, but it seems to be how I work, so I make the best of it. I’m also lucky to work with excellent editors.
The book that netted me an agent but didn’t sell was a dystopian YA thing that started life as one book, swelled to a completed trilogy, and was then boiled back down to a single book.
The Fallen Children, published next year, stalled numerous times, and for a long while featured an entire third part of around 20,000 words that was eventually cut.
My next YA project, according to my agent, ‘needs a lot of work.’ I have no doubt it will end up as something completely different to its current draft (which is already the third).
I’m haphazardly making the point that we shouldn’t be too hung up on the idea of a writing process. Although writing a book requires hard work and discipline always, it’s not something that can be automated. What matters is getting the bastard over the line, whatever it takes.