This week we’re sharing a new feature – Best & Worst. It’s not the best and worst for everyone, but what is best and worst personally for the blogger. For example, this week we’re talking Best & Worst Writing Process. So I’m going to share what writing process is the worst for me, and what is the best.
So I’ll start with…The whole “vomit the first draft” thing. For those unfamiliar, it’s the idea that you just write the first draft without fixing anything – you just write it all out…word vomit. This does not work for me. I know, for some people, this is awesome and works super well for them. I am not one of those people. I get incredibly anxious and frustrated, and it actually makes it difficult to write at all.
Now for what works best for me. I think a lot about the main characters. And, I mean, a lot. About them, their motivations, their familys, their lives. I don’t write all of this down. I will jot some notes down, especially if something is going to factor heavily into the story, but that’s it. It’s really just me, spending some time with the characters, getting to know them.
I outline my stories. Now, by outline I don’t mean tons of pages with every detail (that process isn’t the WORST for me but it’s a close second. Long outlines with every minute detail makes me feel as though I’ve already written the book at that point.) My style of outline is a list of the big moments. Things that absolutely have to happen to get my characters from the beginning to their happily ever after at the end. For series that have an overarching story arc through several books, the outline is a bit more detailed but not much.
Once I have that, I start writing, working my way to that first big moment, then the next, then the next. I try to be flexible, because some of the best moments in my books, in my opinion, were when the story or characters veered off of my intended path. That’s when I start talking to myself.
It’s not a complex process, but it works for me. A bit of structure – a wee roadmap with all the main points on it – and some flexiblity to accept and work with the sidetrips my brain (aka story and characters) take me on.