I thought I’d participate in Write or Die Wednesday, which is hosted by my friend Mia and her friend Vashelle every other Wednesday. I’ve been wanting to participate in this for awhile but I’m never on top of it enough to have a post ready, but I loved this prompt so I wanted to be sure that I participated in it. I think WODW posts will usually go up on my writing blog, but since this month is NaNoWriMo and I’ve talked about it here, I thought I’d put this up here. This is my process for writing fiction, not blog posts or poetry.
I don’t do a lot of planning ahead of time, but I need to know the beginning, middle and end. I generally have a few ideas for different scenes that I work in as I write. I also need to know the character’s names before I begin; they don’t feel like real people to me until I’ve spent some time on a baby name website looking at different names and their meanings.
I like to have a notebook for each story that I write. I tend to carry this with me everywhere as I’m working on a novel. All of my thoughts and ideas go into this. As I start to think ahead, I jot down different things that will take place and will even outline scenes, if one is on my mind but I’m unable to sit down and write at that particular moment. I’ve adapted the plotting/notebook system that Susan Dennard details in her How I Plan a Book series into my own writing process. When I first read these posts her thoughts resonated with me and as I started to try and adapt her process into my own, it morphed with my own process and became something that works for me.
I can’t plan ahead too much, though. If I do, it takes away from the sense of discovery and from some of the fun of writing. I know there are a lot of writer’s who say that they don’t enjoy drafting, but I love it. (Unless I’m in a really difficult writing period, of course.) I really enjoy when the story is first coming to me and when the writing flows, it’s exhilarating.
There comes a point as I’m nearing my “middle event” that I create a more detailed outline until the middle. And as I’m nearing the end, I know that I need to wrap things up, so I sit down with a blank scrap of paper to create a more detailed outline.
I always use small notebooks, like Composition Notebook sized or the half sizes of a regular notebook. An 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper feels a little too overwhelming and I like smaller sizes for planning. I’m not sure why.
If I write by hand, I need a pen, but I prefer to write on my computer, especially if writing is going well. My hand can’t keep up with my thoughts.
And, of course, it helps to have my pup by my side. Just call her my little muse.