I get asked a lot about my writing process.
What do you do first? How long does it take? Panster or planner? How many hours do you write a day?
Usually I ask why they want to know. Do you want to write a book? Are you currently writing a book? if the answer is no, my answer is simple. “I just write and revise until I’m happy with it.” The Writing Process isn’t exactly riveting cocktail party banter. But for those truly interested I share what works for me.
I’ve been writing for 4 years and my process has stayed the same but that’s because I’m all too familiar with writing academic essays and so have naturally integrated many of those same time-saving methods.
There are a thousand books and ‘masters classes’ that spend hundreds of pages and hours of video time detailing the process. Mine doesn’t take that long to explain.
First and foremost, everyone has their own process, a way to approach novel writing that works for their time, life, skill level, and talent. In no way is my way the best or only way. It’s only My Way because it works best for how I create and think.
It’s a good idea for writers to learn about other authors’ processes. It can inspire, motivate, or just be an affirmation that you’re normal. Whatever normal is. LOL.
- The initial idea for a story comes to me. Sometimes it’s inspired by a trip, a photo, another story, a book, or an article. I grab my computer and hash out a rough plot line. There 7 basic story archetypes: overcoming the monster, rags to riches, the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy, and rebirth. My plot will fit into one of them.
- Research. Research. Research. Not just googling, which is fine but not the end all be all of research. I always end up buying out-of-print books that have more information and details than I’ll ever need or a reader wants to get bogged down with. The skeletal story—the conflicts and characters—begin emerging, grow flesh and personality.
- Charts and tables. I make a cheat sheet of facts about geography, food, topography, weather, clothes, weapons, religion, jobs, and other relevant historical facts. I also make a character chart.
- Plot a rough outline. Rough. Basic. Prelimanary. Maybe 2 pages. It’s not etched in stone. It shifts and changes as the story emerges and grows more complex.
- First draft writing. I aim for 2000 words a day. I often do more. Sometimes less. The words and vocabulary are shit. The sentences, abysmal.The dialog, cringe-worthy. The rough draft includes Notes to Self like add detail, add emotion, and identify plant/animal/bug/food. Minor characters don’t have names yet. As I write, I add character names, personality, gestures, appearance, things they say etc to my character chart. I don’t worry about grammatically incorrect sentences or wrong words. I let the story and characters flow out of me. I get the story down. I’d never in a million years show someone my rough draft.
- Second draft. I add in the sensory details and address Notes to Self. I change the telling of emotion to the showing of emotion. I work on mood and detail. I rewrite every sentence. Every sentence. I delete paragraphs, slice dialog, and write from the heart. Or maybe the gut. Probably both.
- The third draft is tweaking and rewriting. Again. And again.
- The truth. I stop counting which rewrite I’m on. I’m done when the characters breathe and the words sing.
love and hugs, Autumn
I’m giving away 4 Amazon gift cards July 11th to celebrate the cover reveal for Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World. Find giveaway information on Twitter, Facebook, and IG.