Jordan Jacobs Guest Post: The Writing Process for Samantha Sutton

We're excited to have Jordan Jacobs guest post today and talk about his writing process when creating the story, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies. You can check out our review of the book HERE!

Jordan Jacobs

I’ll never again write a book the way I wrote “Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies.” I would lose my mind.

I started years ago with no real plot to speak of--just a thrilling, real world setting and a set of characters that I loved. I went along scene by disconnected scene, placing Samantha and her compatriots in uncomfortable situations around the ancient site and seeing how they talked, fought, or thought their way out of them. I wrote and rewrote each piece, until I had pages and pages of polished anecdotes about a girl and her archaeological adventures.

But that’s not a book. And while the contours of a plot did emerge in this process, it took several months of outlining and painful cutting to draw the story out. When time came to put it all together, fitting a scene in its place could sometimes require a total rewrite of the one that was meant to come before, so that each finished section would start off a backward chain-reaction--all the way to the start.

This made for a painful slog.

But it did have its advantages. Working back-to-front meant that each tendril of the story had firm roots. And by adjusting my characters’ behavior through several variations of each scene, I got to know them very, very well.

Even so: never again. Writing the second book in the Samantha Sutton series, I’ve used a hybrid approach, following a loose outline and proceeding from beginning to end. If I feel inspired to skip to a later scene, I let myself, but then work my way back from there to avoid the tortuous experience of linking everything together.

It’s an evolution that I’m grateful to have behind me. Still, my initial approach gave me a much greater appreciation for careful plotting, and for characters whose actions are dictated less by the situations they find themselves in and more from their personal makeup.

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