The Writing Process

 

At one point I made Alex from A Clockwork Orange force me into productivity!

 

Now that Mistaken is out there, when I am not working to promote it, I am typing away at Possess. Or at least trying to anyways. I guess its been a little while since I was working on a first draft. You forget what it feels like to start the process over again, and I think with every writer, while there are certain similarities, each of us have our own process of doing things. No one way is better than the other as long as it gets your story where it needs to go. Processes can even change with each book too.

Here is how  mine currently looks.

  • An idea pops into my head. More like a question. These are followed by several more  questions.
    • What if I wrote about a girl that moved into a haunted apartment?
    • What if she moved there because she was on the run from someone?
    • What if the last tenant died… supposedly from suicide? What if he wanted to let someone know what really happened?
    • What if the girl ends up working for the dead tenant’s best friend?
  • So then I start taking these scenarios, and coming up with the beginning of an outline. I am definitely an outline. I need order in my life. I CANNOT vomit on a page and go like some do with their first drafts. I need some sort of road map.
  • As I am outlining, I start to think about what kind of characters would fit into this story.
    • I look up names/name meanings. For this story I actually looked up some Irish names until Nolan and Brody hit me. Harley…I just like that name a lot.
    • Come up with the basics— looks, heights, ethnicity, general attitude, some background.
      • Comparing the characters to the outline, I start to figure out motivation for the things they do in the story.
      • For example: Why don’t ghosts scare Harley? She grew up with a mom that did witchcraft, of which she never saw anything to convince her of their existence. Or anything paranormal for that  matter. She flat out refuses to believe Brody is really haunting the apartment until he quite literally comes up and hits her in the face.
      • Figure out what their character Arc looks like. How are they starting this journey? Where are they going to end up?
      • Figure out relationships between each character, big or small.
        • The crazy Scottish baker? He isn’t just there to make fun of Nolan. He watched Nolan and Brody grow up. He can tell Harley things about them that Nolan flat out refuses to.
        • The snarky bartender? She facilitates Harley getting a job at Finley’s, attempts to play matchmaker, and is generally Nolan’s voice of reason when he needs one.
        • Harley and Nolan? —I’M NOT GIVING EVERYTHING AWAY !  🙂
      • Research—This actually happens some before and a lot during the writing process. Whether it is researching weapons, injuries and healing time, symptoms. Looking up pictures.  Sometimes I claim to be researching when I am just looking up cool shit on the internet though…there I admit it.!
      • Draw diagrams. Here is one of Harley’s Apartment.
  • Then I write. I have started using Scrivener for my first draft and I have to say I love it.
    • I write in scenes, then incorporate those scenes into chapters.
      • Each scene has a singular main purpose, generally. I scribble that purpose onto a post it, and leave it next to my laptop as I am writing.
      • I generally aim for 2,000 words per scene, but depending on what it calls for, it can be shorter or longer.
  • Sometimes during the drafting process, I can get stuck. Sometimes listening to music helps, sometimes forcing myself to get the words out via WriteOrDie also helps. Many times a combination of the two works.
  • When I am really really stuck, driving around and listening to music also tends to help me come up with ways to fix potential issues in the plot.
  • Another thing that helps me is holding my roomie or my husband captive and forcing them to listen to me talk out the issues. If you don’t have anyone you can force to listen to you, maybe just talking out loud to yourself might help. Just make sure nobody is around to witness this.
  • I like to keep a word count going and have a general goal in mind. If I exceed it, that’s fine, but I also want to ensure my pacing is good and I am not adding a bunch of fluff.
  • Sometimes while writing my first draft, I realize some of my sentences, some of my words, are not the ones I want. They get the basic idea across so I let those stay as place holders until revisions come around. Why? There is no point in getting stuck because you cannot come up with the perfect way to say something at that very moment. It took me several tries to get the ending to Mistaken to where I wanted it. I just attacked it every single time I did revisions. Until I was happy with it.
  • There are some scenes that I don’t like to write, either for the above reason, or because I just want to get to that fun scene I know I have coming up. I force myself to get through the more difficult and use the the fun/exciting scenes as my carrot (more like carrot cake) to keep me going.

 

This is the general flow of my first draft process, some things change, some things move around in order at times. Other times, despite what I try I still end up stuck and can’t squeeze out more than 2 sentences that day. I do try to work at my writing every single day if possible though. It’s less of a want, and more of a need at this point.

2 Responses

  1. A very honest and insightful piece. Will tweet it & recommend my followers take a look. Good luck with your writing.

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