How Does Ian Rankin Write?

Ian Rankin

I often wondered how really successful authors do it.

So I was pleased to catch a recent BBC documentary/video diary following Ian Rankin as he wrote his latest book. How do YOU compare with his technique?

  • January 2nd, begins first draft without knowing the plot or the protagonist (!)
  • Early March, draft finished, begins fact-checking, visits locations to check accuracy
  • April, begins revising
  • June, submits to editor, begins revising based on her comments
  • August, submits final draft to agents and publishers in UK and USA
  • November, publication in time for Christmas

And during the year, continues to promote his previous book and drops in on the filming of another of his Rebus books.

Personally, I match the first item only, so far. Actually, I knew the story and the characters I wanted to write, but felt that more backstory was needed. Now, as I hate interminable infodumps and frequent flashbacks, I had only one choice… to write a prequel first. Hence my dilemma as I sat at my keyboard to write “Succession!

So – how does your experience compare?

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