I have been friends with Tatiana Kukanova since we were in high school together and what brought us together was our love of reading and writing. After school, I decided to go down a different path from Tatiana Kukanova but we have always stayed in touch to talk about the hottest new novels or for inspiration for our stories. Whilst I write in my spare time, Tatiana Kukanova is an accomplished author who has written some beautiful stuff. I spent a little bit of time with Tatiana last year as she was starting a new project, to find out what her writing process looks like.
Pen to Page
Tatiana takes around 6 months to even write down her first words for a story, in-between there will, of course, be plenty of note-taking and research, but in terms of actually writing the piece, it will start much later. I sat with Tatiana and looked through her reams and reams of notepaper, packed with ideas, characters, background information and to put it bluntly, wild ramblings. All of this is what she will then use to piece together the story and what looked like jumbled up information, will eventually be pieced together like a puzzle, to reveal the completed work.
Tatiana Kukanova has always been of the belief that the characters drive the story and not the other way around. With this in mind then she will use some of the months prior to writing, to understand and work out her characters. These will not just be basic 2-D profiles of a character, Tatiana wants to know who they are and why, where they came from and how they arrived. This months-long process ensures that Tatiana gets to know her characters and their mannerisms, which help the story to really flow.
Something which many people overlook is the level of research which is required before writing a story. The novel which Tatiana was working on last year had a strong crime element to it and so she spent a lot of time with people working in law enforcement, reading through crime histories and case studies and basically finding out as much information as possible so that she could write the story with conviction and with honesty.
Pace and Intensity
Part of the reason why Tatiana invests so much time in this preparation stage is that when she begins writing she doesn’t like to stop, she will never write a novel over the course of a year because she knows that she will lose her flow, get bored or risk losing the essence of the story. And so after the hefty research and character formulation period, Tatiana will get to work and fire out the story in no time at all. She is able to do this because of the background work and the result is a story which flows well and which easily becomes the vision which she had when she first conceived the idea.
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