Join me for part 1 of my series on my writing process and what inspires me to write the Merlin series, Atlantis Rising and more.

(This is part I of a two-part series on how I write. For part II, please click here.)

It’s the question fans always ask: “How do you write your stories?” Writers say they hate this question, and probably some really do. Because the writing process can be a fragile structure of instincts, research, emotion, and whatever talent we’re fortunate to possess, held together with the proverbial spit and bailing wire. Sometimes we’re afraid the whole thing might tumble down if we look at it too hard!

But writers also love this question, because however genuinely modest he or she may be, nearly any writer loves talking about their own writing. Or more precisely: how they got the core idea for the story, the bursts of inspiration that pushed it forward, the key insight that helped tie the narrative together!

So: How do I write my stories? Well, first of all, I still write my first draft of any new novel by hand, usually sitting in my study on the top floor of my house, with the view of the gorgeous Colorado mountains keeping me company. Feeling the texture of the paper and ink, and seeing the story progress down the lines of the page, gets my creative juices flowing.  Even if I have to ice my left wrist at the end of a long day, it’s worth it.

Before I’ll even start to write, though, I’ll usually create a lengthy description of each character. That helps me to “see” the characters in my mind, hear their voices, know their good and bad sides, and start getting to know them and care about them. I also need a big question or two that needs answering, like “Can spirituality exist without religion?” or “How can a person overcome their deepest hurts?” or “What difference can one person make?”

Finally, I need a place that feels so inviting, mysterious, and beautiful that I’d love to travel there myself!  If you’ve read any of my books, you know that the places are just as important as the people in my stories. And while there are many inviting towns (and some unfriendly ones) and even a city or two in my novels, the wild natural world is where my characters have most of their adventures.


  1. Pingback: Part II: How Do You Write Your Stories, T.A. Barron? » T. A. Barron Dev

  2. Reply

    Ari Abramovitz

    September 23, 2013

    I love your book Merlin right now I’m on book six of Merlin: The Dragon Of Avalon can not wait to read the next one

  3. Reply

    Randall Andrews

    September 24, 2013

    As always, I’m so appreciative for these insights into your writing experience. Thank you, sir.

  4. Reply


    September 24, 2013

    The places are definitely my favorite part of your books! Too bad they don’t exist, because some of them I desperately want to visit!

  5. Reply

    Elizabeth Varadan

    September 25, 2013

    I’ve loved your Merlin series, and I’m looking forward to your new book. Enjoyed learning more about your writing process.

  6. Reply


    September 25, 2013

    So, my question would be… when you begin to write and you are holding the big questions in your mind… Can spirituality exist without religion, How can a person overcome their deepest hurts, Can one person make a difference… do you already have the answer in your own mind or do you discover the answer as you write the story? And if you do discover the answer as you write, can you describe for us how that happened for you with one of the books you’ve written?

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