Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Writing Process

My dear friend Mirriam posted about her writing process and then asked others to share what their processes look like.

My writing process took several years to evolve.  Once upon a time, I plotted out every single tiny little detail in every scene and every scene in every chapter, but that was too structured.  It didn't leave me enough freedom.  I was basically writing the story in the outline and then writing the actual story wasn't as interesting.

Then, during NaNo 2013, I did the barest minimum of plotting and figured out the rest as I went along- which resulted in me leaving out several important scenes and character arcs that I could have incorporated with a bit more plotting.  For example, the first male lead was barely in the first draft at all, the second lead having taken over the story.  With a bit more plotting, I think I could have balanced them better.  (It didn't help that I switched stories five days before November started so I didn't have much time to plot.)

Currently, this is what my writing process looks like.

The beginning.  Plot and characters.
The nucleus of my plot tends to arrive with my main characters.  Neither precedes the other.  They come simultaneously, which means I spend a few days trying to untangle them so I can understand each.

General idea of the ending.
Usually the ending comes right on the heels of the plot idea and the MCs.

Character building.
I take each character apart with question after question after question and then put them back together once I feel that I understand their thought process and backstory.

Choose a theme quote.
Quotes are highly influential on me and my writing, so having a theme quote is vitally important to my process.

Plot three major signposts.
After I know the nucleus, the MCs and the ending, I figure out three big plot points; landmarks or signposts, so to speak.  These become the basis of the outline.

I plot my books using the rule of three typically (sometimes four).  I divide the novel into three (or four) parts, each part headed by a signpost, and then figure out what major arcs each part has to contain so the ending will come out correctly.  Any details that come along at this stage are scribbled down so I won't forget them, but then the rest of them I fill in as I write.

At some point along the way, the story will be charged with so much energy that it's pushing everything else out of my head and that's when I know I need to start writing.

When I finish a chapter, I scribble a few paragraphs of dialogue or details I know I want to incorporate in the next chapter or two.

Like Mirriam, I'm constantly referring to my pinboards.  Quotes that drive the plot and characters, faces, scenery, architecture, clothing styles, and random things that inspire me. 

I very rarely write without music playing.  I create playlists of the songs that are particularly relevant for that story and listen to it while writing.

I also watch movies/dramas and read other fiction in the same genre as what I'm writing, to help me decide what mood I want to convey.

And above all, I try to remember that a first draft is just that.  The time to put the story down on paper and (try!) not to stress the details too much.  Editing, re-writing and fine-tuning can come later.

Now it's your turn!  What are your writing processes?

Miss Melody Muffin


  1. Ah! There is that explanation of the research. ;)
    As for my writing process, it goes like this .... Daughter posts a Quote Quest ... Mother can't sleep one night ... Mother reads Quote Quest and has a brain flash of an idea ... Mother types until she can't keep her eyes open, then goes to bed ... Mother still has not finished scene ... Because she is not a writer - It was just a Flash in the Pan. =P

  2. WOW. That's quite an in-depth and organized method you have there! Just...wow.

    Heh, my writing process is so random and chaotic, I'd be ashamed to blog about it. :-P

    God bless, and happy writing!

  3. color me very impressed.... :) no wonder your stories hang together so well. they /feel/ like they know where they're going, which always makes me quite happy to hang on for the ride.
    and then I compare them to my utter seat-of-my-pants squirrel-shiny!!! plots and oyyyy.... XD

    that said, I read yours and Mirri's and then I whipped up my own blog post a few days later, then came back to comment on yours...and had to laugh because we both have 5 steps. XD LOL

  4. I find the plotting/writing processes of various authors to be interesting. I shared my plotting process about two years ago: http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-devious-plotting.html
    It hasn't changed much since then.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jack was going to comment. Then she signed into my email so I could do a blog post and I saw your blog here. and I am commenting now.


    You have a nice way to write. Sammy and Clara and I just steal Jack's computer and write whatever we can think of until she steals it back. I don't think we plot things. Or plan anything....

    Might be why we get writing stuck sometimes....but since we're not real Authors we don't care as much.


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