Sunday, May 23, 2010

The writing process...

I get the question about my writing process a lot. How do I take the ideas in my mind and make them a book? So, I thought for this week, I’d lay it out for all to see how one author does it.

1. Some write a plan, but I don’t. Well, at first anyway. I start the first chapter with just an idea. Example, for The Willow, I knew it was going to be about a girl who finds herself brought into the Otherworld. The first chapter is always the hardest for me, but once I get the first scene established, the story starts to present itself.

2. From there, I write a chapter as it flows. I never know what the next chapter will be about until I’m done the previous one. Usually, it’s halfway through when I know what needs to happen in the next to continue the story.

3. Normally when I write a chapter, I only do actions and speech at first, because that is definitely the easiest part for me.

4. Once I have the guts of a chapter done I go back and fill in descriptions and thoughts. When I have the speech completed, it is easier for me to imagine what is happening as the conversation is going on and filling in all the little details.

5. After I am done that, I go back and read through the chapter to clean it up making sure it reads how I intended it to.

6. Then, I move onto the next chapter.

7. After I am halfway done the book, I start from the beginning and re-read the entire story, to tie it together, clear up any loose ends and to add in parts that are crucial to the story line that are missing.

8. It is normally at this point, when I start to plan. By this time, the story is peaking and the danger begins to surround the characters. I usually have an outline and plan 3-4 chapters at time. This is when I know what needs to happen in the story for it to come to an end.

9. When it’s all said and done, I re-read it once focusing just on the story line to be sure it’s solid and nothing is missing. Then, I re-read it once more to clear up grammar issues.

10. Then, it’s off to submissions.

And that is how I write. Every author has their own style that works for them, but the idea is to find out what works best for you and just dig in.


Rebecca Royce said...

I wish I could plot. I think it would help me. But I find that once I plot, I lose interest in the book. Each chapter has to come to me as its own entity or I lose total motivation to keep writing. Thanks for sharing!!

Stacey Kennedy said...

I can't plot till I get half way through - it just never works out if I try.

Sandra Sookoo said...

I plot out a few chapters at a time. Sometimes I'll have a general outline of how I want the whole book to look. For me, I've found winging it makes me lose my way in a book. This way, it saves on the rewrites LOL :-)

Annie Nicholas said...

I'm the anti-pantser. LOL

1. I create character ARCs.
2. Plot escalating story conflicts.
3. meld story arc/conflicts with characters.
4. then I plot the whole story by doing a couple sentences saying what each chapter will be about. Who's feeling what and why.

I have to do this because I write my book all day long in 10 min. intervals between my busy schedule. I don't have time to re-read chapters and stuff to know where I am and what needs to be done. It also cuts back on any re-writes and why my plots can be so complicated yet still make sense. Once I'm done writing, it gets a beta or two, then one more re-read by me.

Allie H said...

I once tried to plot an entire book but soon found my characters grew defiant and wanted to go off in other directions. Now I generally also go one chapter at a time. Thanks, Stacy!

Stacey Kennedy said...

Annie & Sandi - Yes, the only downfall, is the re-writes. They are usually pretty extensive. :)

Allie - I'm glad I am not the only one :)

J Hali Steele said...

I get an idea that usually comes with character names, lol. I write my synopsis, then I grab hold of my pants and let fly! Allie, my characters get very defiant too! Maybe Stacey can help us W(h)IP them into shape.

Kristabel Reed said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I tend to write the first couple chapters on the fly then try to plot out only a couple chapters at a time. Learned the hard way that my characters often don't like what I have planned for them and insist on their own ways. Probably better in the end, or at least truer to their personalities!

Stacey Kennedy said...

J Hali - Now that's a great idea!

Stacey Kennedy said...

Kristabel - that is exactly what happens to me. No matter what I plan it never works out, so I eventually gave up trying :)

Christiane France - Author said...

I'm basically a pantster. If I try plotting, my characters get annoyed and do something totally outrageous. However, if I get stuck, I find making a list What Has To Happen Next can be helpful.

Christian France