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The Way I Write by Christoph Fischer

Published on Saturday, February 2, 2013 by

I write novels almost exclusively and am always working on one; the idea for which usually sits with me for a long time while I try to find reasons why this story will never work. At this stage I am usually editing an old novel or still writing a different one so I am under no pressure at all to find a good new idea. Over time I find myself easing into an idea, making amendments to the original concept and finally coming to the point where I sit down and say to myself: “Hey what, give it a try.” It usually works, I have only stopped two out of 9 projects so far.

Most days I sit down as soon as I have walked the dogs in the early hours – I am a compulsive morning person just like my father – and write. The first idea of where the writing is going to take me today announces itself gradually and then suddenly demands to be written down, maybe just in sketches or as a collection of material for specific characters. Once I have started however, the story begins to tell itself and just seems to take off. While the structured part of me wants to hold back and plan the story line and events, worrying that it will be mayhem later and I will have a lot of inconsistencies and errors, everything seems to fall into place by itself: characters rebel, plots change and I have a hard time keeping up with it.

This kind of casual story telling often causes me grave concerns and self-doubts that my writing is just mindless rambling without a proper foundation. I console myself that I am not writing a murder mystery or a complex thriller but historical fiction, but the worry stays with me. Yet, every time I plan a scene or plotline it becomes disappointing for me as a writer to write it – I call it writing by numbers – or too stereotypical and too worn out. At approximately page 60, I stop and go back over the first few chapters. I am glad to say that I feel much happier when I go back over what I have written and I can see from a new perspective where the story might be going.

At page 120-ish the same process happens again and by then I usually am beginning to understand a little more how it will all come together and why I am writing this story in the first place. At this point the idea of a title often is born.

Once the story is finished / has found an ending, I go back over it several times, finding mistakes of continuity or other errors. I tend to leave the story like this for a few months before returning to it over and over again.

I feel lucky to be able to write the way I do. Whenever it comes to scenes that need to happen I find myself bored and uncomfortable, preferring the unknown and unexpected to the predictable and planned.


Christoph Fischer was born in Germany as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where lived in Loughborough, London, Brighton and Bath, where he is still resident today. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

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