Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What's Your Process?

Every writer has their own process when it comes to writing. Some outline down to the very scene before they write one word of story. They know what their characters look like, what their middle names are, and what color of underwear they prefer. (Okay, maybe not their underwear. But they do know a lot about their characters.Other writers sit down with just a glimmer of an idea, maybe a shred of a conversation, and start hammering it out without a clue as to where they're going. Of course, there are many other processes that can range anywhere along that spectrum.

So what's the right way? How should we approach our writing?

The answer is simple - whatever way works best for you.

I have a friend - we'll call her Karen Hoover, because that's her name - who creates booklets about each of her projects. She finds pictures of people who resemble her characters, she makes maps of her towns, and she outlines each scene. This takes her a little while, but then when she gets to the writing, she can knock out ten thousand words a day because she knows exactly where she's going.

Then I have another friend. Okay, I give - it's me.  I usually start out with a kernel of an idea, and I'll sit down and just start writing. At the bottom of my document, as I discover what they are, I keep a list of things I will need to go back and add later. I also keep a list of ideas for future scenes. I'm essentially plotting as I go, and then on the second draft, I'll go through and make sure it all makes sense.

Karen's system works for Karen. My system works for me. And you most likely have a system that works for you.

So whenever you hear someone talk about how you "should" be writing, take a moment to think about it - would that method really work for you? If not, don't worry about it. Whatever allows you to be the most productive is what you should be doing. Just as your craft is unique to you, so is your method of arriving at a completed project. Don't let anyone mess up your groove.


Donna K. Weaver said...

You're so right, Tristi. I'm a discovery writer. Like you, my first draft is my very long outline. I tried actually "plotting" with my current WIP, and it's not making it any easier a process. The first edit is still going to be a doozie.

Canda said...

Deanna and I have taken a little different process with each book. Sometimes we write in sequence, and sometimes we write the parts we like first. Sometimes we plot the whole story, and sometimes we pants it then check the story structure after writing the first draft.