How do you write? What's your process? I think about this All. The. Time.

Mine, in a nutshell, as a disclaimer: tagline, back cover copy, synopsis-broken down into scenes, draft.

I'm thinking of adding a new fourth element, which would be to draft very lightly, basically tagless dialogue, pertinent description, and stage directions. Sometimes it seems a bit much when drafting, writing mellifluous description, giving everyone facial and body expressions, and snappy reparte all at once. It might be nice, having the bones of a plot, to just write out the musculature. It would certainly be easier to uncover discrepancies that need to be fixed, and plot issues. Then I could overlay the skin: description, internal narrative, showing instead of telling, etc.

But probably I'll just keep doing it the way I always have, which is to somewhere in between, a lean first draft (the most recent finished WIP came in at 70K words and needs to be around 90K) peppered with bouts of elaborate description and then dropping to stage directions, with nearly no internal narrative.

Plus, I have this book REVISING FICTION which has some interesting ideas in it for sure, like using big notecards to outline and order each scene from the first draft and make notes of what needs to be done. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? To me, it's all work. Joyful, fun work, but there you are. The result is worth it, and it seems the closer I bring writing to feeling like actual work, the better I do, writing-wise and selling-wise.

Incidentally, I had an interesting Tarot spread the other night that basically was money vs creativity. There was more to it than that, but at the end I realized it's all a balance.

I'd like to find a way to be more efficient, though, for sure! Too many projects, too little time. And I write fulltime, too!

What's your process? How's it working for you?


Travis Erwin said...

I write 30-40 pages then edit my way through them before writing 30-40more. Then I go back and edit all of it until I get to what I have and write30-40 more. This means the front sidecof the story is mostly polished by the time I'm done.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

You know, I do that too. I call it rolling revisions. I try hard not to, but it seems it always happens anyway... I don't know how that would jive with writing a super lean first draft.

Donna Hole said...

Draft, edit, write a little, edit a lot. Sometimes I take way to long at researching - names, places to emulate, careers. I love it when I get to just write a concept straight through.

I don't always add details, just action or dialogue when I'm in a zone.

I like your idea of just writing the structure, then adding details in later. Slowly.


sex scenes at starbucks, said...

It's interesting, the slowly bit. I just heard a story on entreprenuers on NPR this morning. At this point there's too much stuff: books, websites, games, apps, clothes...etc. Right now the big money focus is on how we can make our processes more efficient. That's what I'm about here. I'm writing two series and would like to launch another two...

It's refreshing to run into someone who focuses on slowly.

Christine Hardy said...

I haven't written that much, but my ideas come as I write so outlining is impossible. My process so far has been to take some characters, set up a general situation,and just see what they do. The first draft is a lot of discovery for all of us. I get about a third of the way through and stop.

Then it's like, okay kids, time to get serious and start over, figure this out for real. I always revise the previous day's work before moving on. I find thos helps me keep the tone and voice cosistent, unless I'm switching points of view. But if I have an idea of a scene I want to write, a crucial bit of action or dialogue, i'll put that in a separate file for later.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I used to be very stuck on my ideas only coming as I write. But now I'm more stuck on the idea of having to think them out. It's not that I don't get ideas when I write still, but my best, cohesive ideas come from deliberate plotting.

Hopefully you've gotten into some of that too, from the threads. Half the time you come to me: I was thinking and I got this idea...

Christine Hardy said...

Well, we have a lot of down time on the threads. One scene can take days to write. We have no real plot. At my count I'm doing about 25 characters if you include all the fantasy people, the snakes, the baby and assorted felines. You've got at least 15 I can think of, plus legions of baddies.

The point being, "we have worlds enough and time." Plus a collective 13 years with these characters. Writing something new
from scratch would be like learning to walk again, I think

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

It's not as bad as you think. I think it's essential to write new characters and stories to grow, actually. I took a long break from Sentinel when I figured out I didn't have the skills yet to do it the way I wanted. I wrote two books in the meantime, and interspersed at least a dozen stories and my erotica work. It all helps me grow.