WODW // My Writing Process

A peek at my novel-writing process. // dreams-etc.omI 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.


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  • Reply
    Angela @ Setting My Intention
    November 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing. It’s really interesting to read about everyone’s writing process. I’ve only dabbled in fiction, but want to check on the blog (?) that you referred to. We have numerous barely used composition books around the house from our sons so this sounds like a great way to use them up!

  • Reply
    Sara Strand
    November 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I really need to start carrying a notebook in my purse again because I think of some really great ideas for stories, but also blog posts, and I’m always sure I’ll remember and of course, I never do.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I love what you said about needing to know the names of the characters before you write. I never really thought about it before. I’m totally the person who just uses “he” and “she” and doesn’t think about names until the end, lol. Which makes for a fun revision process. But whatevs. 🙂 I’m so glad you joined us for WODW and it was so cool to read your process. Thanks for sharing! xo

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 2:50 am


    Thank you for linking up and sharing your writing process with Mia and me for this episode of Write or Die! What I love most is that you *know* what works best for you. I feel like I’m still learning as I go :).

    I too like to use small notebooks. Not only is it less intimidating, but I swear my handwriting is better as well. Haha. I’m one of those crazies that will rewrite an entire page because of one mistake in my penmanship.

    Hope you’ll join us again!

    [P.S. Little One is adorable.]

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Crystal! I think it’s so cool that you don’t do a thorough outline before you write. I’ve always liked making outlines because it helps keep me on track, but I can definitely see how that may take away some of the fun/discovery/exploration of writing. The good thing is that it’s your story: you can change the outline/idea whenever you want to 🙂

  • Reply
    November 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    What’s your writing blog? I love hearing how people write!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing!! I am so intrigued by how authors write novels. I’ve read a couple of books and just find it so interesting. I like that you enjoy the drafting and outline process. That is something that I always like to do when I write. It just helps me make everything come together more easily.

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