I think every author writes about their process at some point or another, there’s something fascinating about seeing how other people work. How other authors put together a novel. So here’s mine. It’ll probably be a bit rambly 😛
First things first, I only write when I’m inspired. I absolutely, whole-heartedly, do not believe in or do the “just sit down and write” and the “writers block is BS” thing. I am not going to sit down and try to force myself to write, I have big opinions about this and I’m quite happy to shout said opinions if I need to. 😛
Now that that’s out of the way we’ll start at the very, very beginning shall we? The spark of the idea. That can come from just about anywhere for me. Perhaps a character in movie formed a seed in the back of my mind, maybe a flower caught the light in a peculiar fashion, or a song could have grabbed my attention. For me the book starts with a character and an opening image.
I’m an incredibly visual person, so it’s all images for me. The very first book I wrote started with the image of a shifter woman in a park running and hiding from a group of people. It unfurled into a 120k novel from there. The next started with my views on angels, that being that they’re sociopathic assholes. The image was one of a mixed group of beings in a bar waiting for the angels to show up so they could jump them. Another was spawned from an image that lingered in the back of my mind, an odd sensation. That turned into the image of a young man in a small tribe in the foothills just above the plains, he and his best friend had to do their rites into adulthood.
You get the idea, images, so many images.
Once I have that opening scene I write it down, as is. This is where we see if it’ll go any further. Some scenes stutter and die after 800 words, others make it to perhaps 2,000. It’s the ones that grab me, that reveal other characters and expose new worlds or takes on this world that go somewhere. When one of those appears I pull out my planning book and make notes. I need colour. So I use coloured post-its, the more colours, the greater the variety the better. I also have coloured drawing pens to write in. Colour’s really important, very visual brain remember.
I’ll make notes on the main character, who are they? What do they look like? What’s their goal? Then I’ll note down the essential bits of the world, the relevant bits that have an impact on that opening scene and the following ones. Everything will start to unravel in my mind and I’ll chase it down writing down notes as I go.
In the past I would have just written the draft from there. Now I’m far more serious about this whole making money from my fiction thing, so now, I develop an outline.
My outline is written both by hand, that goes in my planning book, and then digitally. The digital one is updated regularly and is much easier for that. The physical one is good for my brain, planning is done by hand.
The outline itself is a minimum of 60 plot points. They’ll have anything from a sentence fragment to 4 full sentences each. For example, “Meet Felix & the pack in Cafe Silhouette. Get the required information, but need to use wolfs bane.”
I may do a post on my outlining process, I’ve done a lot of research and reading into story structure and all, and I’m a developmental editor, so there’s a lot of thought there. Anyway. Less rambling.
Once the outline’s down both physically and digitally I write. I write in Typwritter – an in browser word processor thingy. I love it because I can change the background image and all, again, very visual brain. The background gets changed depending on the book and the scene. It’s wonderful.
On the days that I write, I’ll write anything from 1,200 to 12,000 words. I tend to write a lot more in a session at the beginning of the book and at the end. In the beginning it’s all shiny and exciting and full of possibility. At the end it’s exciting because it’ll be finished and woohoo. The middle is gloopy and complicated and full of thoughts of “is this what the story needs here?” “Do I have the right emotion in this scene?”
Once the first draft is completed, I compile it to a word doc – all writing gets saved in Scrivener. A copy gets sent to my BFF for safekeeping and reading. Another I keep and label with DRAFT ONE. Then I forget about it for a minimum of a week. I plot out another book, I write another book, I read lots of other books. Don’t give me that look, you know I’m a book lover 😛
Then when the time’s right I dive in and edit it. Once I’ve done my pass I throw it at my poor editor and we go through the editing process and then it’s published, and I dance.
Now it’s your turn! Tell me about your writing process. Feel free to write your own blog post as long as you notify me either here or on Twitter so I read it and sate my curiosity 😛