What’s Your Writing Process?   Leave a comment

Getting prepared to publish has all sorts of new and interesting activities — like letting Smashwords “interview” me. One of the questions was, what is your writing process?

This coincided with a debate on Facebook about the same subject. Half the group believes you should just bang out the whole story like NaNoWriMo suggests and the other half was resisting assimilation.

My writing process is pretty unprocessed, I think, but writing it down for Smashwords helped me to consider what it is.

I start with characters.

Or, really, they start with me. I’m doing something else — reading a book, hiking, quilting, filing at work — and a character starts to form. He or she has things to say and sometimes those things are worth considering and sometimes they are just a fleeting moment in time. If the character hangs around for a while, I start to write about him or her. If other characters appear for the character to interact with, then I start taking the story seriously. Up to that point, it is just something to distract me from whatever I’m doing that isn’t writing.

Characters interacting with one another require a context, so I begin to build a world — a room, a town, a car — and then I have to decide where this story wants to go. It’s at this point that I start to draft an outline and maybe sketch a floor plan or a map. I might google photos to find some of the scenes in the story. I might find some music that I feel provides the appropriate atmosphere. If the story is set in a specific location or involves certain activities, I will research it on the web or at the library.

I bounce from project to project because I find this stimulates the creative juices. If I concentrate on any project for too long, I begin to lose interest. I usually write a section at a time — an event. And, then I go do something else. Maybe I work on another story, maybe I sew a quilt or shovel snow or go hiking. Maybe I just go wash dishes. When I come back, it’s a day or a month (once it was several years) gone by and I have to read what I’ve previously written. Maybe I do a little editing then, but no major rewriting. Then I write the next section and the cycle repeats.

Which is why I don’t think I could do NaNoWriMo. I have never actually done that worthy exercise, though a friend and I challenged each other in a personal version of three months. The “past” story line of The Willow Branch was a byproduct of that. I didn’t like all the continuity errors and I nearly scrapped the project in frustration. It’s not that I can’t write a novel in three months (though I think it’s highly doubtful that I could do it in one). It’s that I don’t think it will be any good if I try. However, I will attempt to write the sequel of The Willow Branch (The Shadow Forest) in six months, so I can spend the next six months editing it and preparing for publication. We’ll see how that rolls.

Posted September 27, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Writing

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