I’m sure by reading the previous posts in our series you’ve figured out that we all do things a little differently. This is how the writing process goes for me.
Pantser: As much as I envy my plotter girlz for their organizational skills, I’m afraid I’m mostly a pantser. I say mostly, because even though I pants my way through the writing process, I do some plotting before I get started. I have a general idea of when, why, and what’s going to happen in my story. Not enough, however, to plot them out on a board or cards, but enough to come up with something that resembles an outline.
The Idea: I usually find the idea for a story in a life experience, a nightmare, a news article and some other crazy places. My first manuscript was about time travel. It came to me as I sat on a sofa in my front yard exhausted from a garage sale I was hosting. As I sat watching people rummage through my possessions, I wished for a moment that I could escape my life and go back to a simpler time. And just like that, the idea was sparked and my mind ran with it. So really, the inspiration can come from anywhere.
Creating Characters: I’m not so sure I create my characters at all. It’s more like they create themselves. They are stalker-lunatics that haunt my every waking thought until I agree to tell their stories. I’ve always said there‘s a fine line between creative and crazy!
I focus on my main characters first. I record their features: Eye color, hair color, dimples if they have them, body shape, and other unique details. Then I write down their personality traits: What they like, what they hate, the cute things they do, the annoying things they do, and their strengths and of course their vulnerabilities.
The Notebook: Once I have the premise for my book and my main characters start to come alive, I reach for my spiral notebook. I carry it everywhere and write everything down! It’s mostly a collection of partial scenes, settings, and a lot of dialogue between my hero and heroine. If I forget my notebook and things come to me on a drive, I’ll jot it down on receipts I dig from my purse or a napkin out of the glove box to be transferred as soon as possible.
Creating the Story: The newborn creating process is the part my family hates the most, because it’s when they lose me. We will be in the middle of conversation and they’ll see my eyes glaze over.
“Mom did you hear what I said? I need money for a field-trip.”
“Who cares about a field-trip? Sarah is being chased down an alley by her stalker! Don’t you think that’s more important?” And off I go running for my notebook.
They don’t understand this process at all. 🙂
Fingers Hit the Keyboard: Once the constant noise or scenes in my head slow down and I feel my notebook has enough information, I look over what I’ve written and try to make sense of it all. I read it over and over and then I organize my modest little outline. The important thing here is to decide if there will be enough GMC to carry the story. My goal, motivation and conflict need to be strong enough or the story will never survive. If I feel it meets the requirements, I break out my laptop and start to write. And write. And write.
I try not to bog myself down with edits as I’m writing the first draft. The most important thing for me is to get the story out of my head and onto the page. Mostly so my characters will leave me alone and I can lead a normal life again.
Editing: Once the story is done, I dance around the house, rejoice in the fact I finished and then I walk away from it for at least two weeks. This way, when I start edits, I’m looking at it through fresh eyes. Then I EDIT. And EDIT. And EDIT SOME MORE.
That, my dear friends, is how my bunny becomes a book!
Remember to Dream Big!