JK Rowling takes to Twitter to reveal her complex writing process to fans

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Susan Devaney
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Author JK Rowling has given an interesting insight into her structured writing process on social media. 

If there’s one author who knows how to write a best-seller, it’s JK Rowling.

After being rejected by 12 different publishers, Rowling went on to sell 450 million books (and counting) worldwide of her much-loved Harry Potter saga.

Which is why, when some of her 14 million followers on Twitter started to ask her about Lethal White (the upcoming fourth novel in her Cormoran Strike series), it led to an impromptu Q&A about her writing process.

“I plan a lot. This particular novel’s plan comprises a vast, complicated, colour-coded table showing all the suspects, with blue ink for clues and red ink for red herrings,” Rowling wrote, revealing that she uses a colour-coded system.

Rowling added that she keeps it old school by putting pen to paper before using Microsoft Word (admitting that she’s not a fan of the program).

“Pen, paper and then Microsoft Word,” she wrote. 

And that the thought of a blank page is both thrilling and terrifying:

“The wonderful thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting. The terrifying thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting,” she wrote. 

One social media user then asked the writer how she visually plans a story’s structure:

“Do you create a visual plan like that for all your novels? I read The Cuckoo’s Calling a month or so ago and I kept thinking about how much planning must have gone into the story beforehand.”

Rowling tweeted back confirming that she plans by adopting a table form.

“Yes, I plan a lot and usually in table form. In the case of the present novel, I had the idea for the plot in 2013, but its undergone huge revisions since then,” Rowling tweeted. 

As all creatives know, sometimes you can be distracted by many ideas at once which is why Rowling then quoted fellow accomplished writer William Faulkner:

“‘All (writers) have failed to match our dream of perfection… That’s why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won’t, which is why this condition is healthy’ - William Faulkner”

We’re off to put pen to paper…

Images: Rex Features