My Writing Process
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: writing is a very personal thing. It’s quite subjective, and something that works for one person might not work for another. Some people plot, some people (like me) can’t.
These Writing Wednesday posts are only meant as advice – some information I hope is useful (like this guest post by Rebecca Sky on writing a query letter to an agent), and some tips and suggestions (like this post on how to start your story).
The way I write might not work for any of you guys, but I love reading about how other writers work, and it’s something I get a lot of messages about. So here goes!
I don’t plot. I’ve never been able to work well with plotting. I’ll end up with two totally different stories when I try to plot.
Instead, I come up with my characters first. I think about what characters I’d like to read and my story forms around them. I’m a big fan of character-driven stories, and think they’re really fun to write.
Once I’ve got my characters, I come up with some kind of blurb. A loose idea of where my story will go, what it will be about. It’s about as close as I get to actually plotting.
I tend to dive straight into writing once the ideas have formed enough to give me something to go on. I usually have to rewrite the first chapter a couple of times – maybe changing between first/third person, or past/present tense, or just changing the style or setting I start out with. It can take a few attempts to get right, but once I get a first chapter I can move on from, I’m set.
I don’t typically give myself writing targets either. I sort of did when I did NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in a month) and I did when I was trying to finish my third book, Out of Tune, on a deadline for my publisher.
But I’ll just write as and when I want to. I might sit down and not want to leave my laptop for lunch or to use the loo because I’m just possessed by writing this story. Or I might not work on something for a month. It fluctuates. Once, I wrote 55,000-odd words of a fanfic in one week. And I didn’t even spend the whole week writing. I was just so caught up in the story that I didn’t even stop to think too hard about it.
If I get really stuck, I might rewrite or delete the last scene/chapter(s), but I don’t edit until I finish writing the book and have a whole first draft.
When I’m in editing mode, I’ll leave the finished first draft for a while before I go back to it to edit. I’ll make notes when I edit – to keep track of continuity and plot holes and things like that.
(Want to read more on editing? Try this post!)
I don’t like starting a new book that I’m taking seriously until I finish the one I’m working on. I might write bits of fantasy stories or fanfic for fun on the side, but my ‘serious’ projects, the ones I’d consider publishing (either online or as a physical book) I work on one by one. I’ll make notes of any new ideas or jot down odd scenes I think of though so I don’t forget by the time I start the new book.
When it comes to publishing, I don’t think I’ve had a ‘conventional’ enough experience to really know what my process is. My first book was mostly already edited when it was published, ditto my second book. My third book had a complete overhaul and was mostly rewritten before we started editing before publishing, and then I had a novella published that was my first book that went through my agent first, so there was more editing with that (because there were more of us looking at it).
So that’s more or less my writing process! I work around characters and key plot ideas, and I don’t usually think too hard about what I’m working on until editing stage. And as you probably already know from Writing Wednesdays posts – I write the kind of book I like to read.