MY WRITING PROCESS
2013 brought the completion of a lot of things for me. I finished writing my third novel, The Diary Of An Ugly Stepsister. I graduated with my Master's in Politics and Policy. And I think I have finally figured out my personal writing process and what works for me. So I just thought I'd share.
STEP 1: IDEAS
Let me start off by saying I am a person with a mind constantly influx. It really doesn't take much to spark an idea for a story with me.
For example, my first novel, Goddess of Legend was born from a desire to write an adult romance about the Greek god Hades finding true love.
My second novel, Siren's Choice came from my love of all things mermaid and the desire to read about mermaids that looked like me.
And my third novel, The Diary of An Ugly Stepsister was an idea that came to me about writing a re-telling of the Cinderella myth from the viewpoint of a stepsister that is not so ugly. This idea came as I lay in the living room on the couch. Within about five minutes I knew what the story was going to be about.
You get my point. An idea for a story can pretty much be sparked by anything.
STEP 2: PLANNING
Some people plan and some write start from the hip. Plotting or planning everything out does not work for me. It stifles my creative process. I tried planning everything out for the first novel I ever started writing, For The Sake Of Convenience, but because I plotted every minute detail chapter by chapter for the entire book it killed my creativity. For The Sake Of Convenience is currently languishing away on my laptop. I made it to chapter 18 before I couldn't take it anymore and stopped working on it altogether.Since that first attempt at writing I have discovered that I have a pretty weird process.
A.When it comes to my planning I scribble on a flash card what the basic premise of the book is about. For example: romance, thriller, etc.
B.This is followed by jotting down a few notes about scenes that might come to me. For example: Someone dies. There's a fight.Etc.
C.Then still using notecards I write down the characteristics of the characters. This includes: Age, Race, Occupation, Physical Description, etc.
D. And lastly I identify what are the master plot lines that will be included in the story. For instance, murder, revenge, etc.
That's it. No plotting chapter to chapter. No outline. Now I'm ready to start writing.
STEP 3: WRITING
I am one of those weird people who cannot write at all on a computer. Don't get me wrong. I wrote papers for school on my laptop like nobody's business, but when it comes to creative writing my mind completely blanks. This is probably another reason why For The Sake Of Convenience is languishing away. I started writing it on my laptop. Bad idea. My mind pretty much freezes staring at a computer screen. If I can manage even a few words it is a real struggle. None of it comes easy.
So when I started Goddess of Legend I knew without a doubt I would not be writing it on the computer. Instead I bought a journal and started writing. Yes, in this age where people do everything on the computer I write in longhand. (So does my favorite author Jackie Collins). My journal of preference are made by PlanAhead. They are hard back journals that come in all kinds of colors and designs. I own about 34 of them. None look alike. My writing pen of choice is the Bic Intensity Marker Pen Fine Point Noir in black. I know. I know. It sounds weird but I've got to have these things to get my writing going. Which brings me to the actual writing.
I don't know how it is for other writers but when I write it's like there is a narrator in my head telling me exactly what to write word by word. Yeah it sounds a little crazy, but I'm thankful for it. I've had some other writers tell me the story plays out like a movie in their head and they write from there. Personally I'm happy for my narrator. But my typical writing output can range from a single scene, 2 pages, 5 pages or a complete chapter. It all depends on what kind of mood I'm in that day. I try to write 5 days a week, but sometimes it doesn't always happen.
STEP 4: TRANSCRIBING & EDIT 1
After I'm done writing the first draft in my trusty journal I go back and type up the entire story in Microsoft Office. This is a painstaking process as I hate to type, but it has to be done. So as I start typing up my story as I go along I start to notice mistakes I may have made in writing the first draft like spelling errors, incorrect tense usage, or sentences that repeat and need to be cut. This is my first edit of the novel and believe it or not quite a few things actually do get cut in the transcribing process.
STEP 5: EDIT 2
So after I'm finally done transcribing I print the entire novel. I can't edit staring at a computer. Mistakes don't jump out at me like that. I need paper and ink in my hand. So after its printed I put it aside. I think I might've put Siren's Choice aside from two to three weeks. Not looking at it gives your mind time to forget what you wrote and be able to approach the story like a reader. So I read the novel all the way through a few chapters at a time. Along the way I write notes down on a sticky pad and stick those to the beginning of each chapter.
The notes consist of things like: so and so doesn't make sense, over explanation, more explanation needed, incorrect tense usage, etc. So once I have done this for the entire manuscript it's time to move on to Draft 2.
STEP 6: DRAFT 2
So keeping my notes in mind I write draft 2 chapter by chapter using my original draft as a guide.
And there you have it folks. That's my very strange and convoluted writing process. I'm eager to hear what you think of my process. I'd love to hear what your writing process is like as well.