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.
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