Welcome to week two in the They Said It Best blog series. Last week we started at the very beginning of the writing process, discussing Where Writing Ideas Come From. This week, we’ll look further into the routines, tips, and suggestions from authors around the globe.
“I’m a purist, so write from the heart. I don’t care about trends or what not, I just want to tell a story that uplifts and makes people happy and feel better from reading it.”
“I’m not a big outline person, though I do tend to write very linearly. So once I have an idea, I only create the bare minimum in terms of a road-map. I’ll block in the scenes on a spreadsheet, with only a few words to summarize the goal. This allows the writing to remain very organic, while still progressing steadily toward the final point of the tale. Technically, I suppose I fall somewhere between a pantser and a plotter, since I like to have a sense of direction, but also like to be surprised by the details that appear as I’m writing.”
“I tend to be quite organized with my process, but nothing is set in stone. I tend to know the general arc of the story and start by writing the names of the chapters to fit in with a very rough outline. This breaks my thoughts down into smaller chunk,s and I can attack it in any order. (Although I do like the process of starting at the beginning and finishing at the end.) Having just explained what is a very strict order of planning, I often drift from the original outline while writing, but this will be due to the needs of the story as it constantly grows. So I start off well organized, but stray from the path when necessary or my characters take me that way. I work best when I know what I’m aiming for.”
“There’s a picture of me next to “plotter” in the publishing dictionary. I seriously plot about three books ahead.
My outlines are a thorough summary that ranges in detail from one-sentence scene descriptions, long paragraphs of summaries and stage direction, to lines of dialogue or short snippets of description. The outline is dynamic; I keep it open when I write, and when things go a little differently than planned I update the whole outline accordingly, though that’s rarely necessary.
I very rarely stray from the outline, and it allows me to draft pretty quickly. I’m a very linear writer; I *must* write everything in order once the outline is finished.
While I’m drafting, I’m constantly taking notes for my other books or fresh ideas for new, related ones. Most of you know that pretty much all my books share the same broad cast of characters. I’m also coming up with ideas for events and such related to the book while I write. (There will be fashion shows. And cosplay contests. And seances. And scavenger hunts.)”
How 12 Different Authors Write a First Draft Featuring: Lane Heymont, Becket, Kristen Strassel, Summer Wier, Brenda Drake, Greg Wilkey, Jamie Grey, Melody Winter, Kat Ellis, Julie Hutchings, Mark Mathews and Louise D. Gornall.
And as a final thought to end on, consider this inspiring thought from YA/NA author Ava Jae:
“Writing is so subjective that sometimes I don’t even adhere to the same tips I gave two years ago. And that’s fine—it doesn’t make them less helpful, it’s just because I’ve learned to do things a little differently.
I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that nothing is set in stone. Just because I (or any other writing blogger out there) has a particular technique, or opinion, or idea that works really well for them, doesn’t mean that if it doesn’t work for you, you’re somehow less off. Just about every writing rule or trend out there has an exception, even several exceptions. Take everything you read with a grain of salt.”
Bottom line? Whether your a pantser or plotter or anything in between, your process is unique to you. Find a method that works for you. There’s no wrong way.
Share your inspiration and writer process posts in the comments below, and tune in next week as the series continues with “Types of writing: From Short Stories to Series and Everything in Between.”