Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Method To My Madness

With all of the authors taking part in NanoWriMo, I've been thinking a lot about the actual writing process and how it differs for everyone. It really is amazing to stop and think about the overabundance of ideas that run rampantly through our veins just waiting to make their way onto paper. So once again my curiosity has been piqued and I'm wondering what process everyone uses. Do you have any unusual quirks while writing? Favorite spot? Favorite snack? You get the idea.

For me, I can write pretty much anywhere. But I do have a system that I follow when writing. Now I have claimed to be a notorious pantser. This is becoming less and less of a reality the more I think about it.

Here's a glimpse at my madness:

*Get all of the ideas down-I get the main idea, how I want to start, the ending and everything else in between.

*Research-Don't get excited. I do not spend weeks scouring through the Internet or various books, though I have tremendous respect for those who do. For my current ms I Googled everything I needed. For example I compiled a list of creatures that I wanted to use and vague descriptions. This way I could come up with my own original ideas for them.

*Character charts-This is something I never skip. Again for my current ms, I needed detailed descriptions of each character. Getting vivid images of them in my head helped push the storyline and made the ideas come easier.

*Start writing-Finally! During my first draft I write and write until I hit a wall. When I do, I go back to the beginning and do a read through until more ideas come to me. Sometimes I'll switch over to my notebook and this relieves the pressure of that blasted cursor blinking at me.

*Journal-I keep a notebook with me at all times, just in case I find myself with some writing time or an idea pops into my head.

*Revise, revise, revise-Need I say more? I go through countless rounds of revisions and editing before anyone else is able to lay eyes on what I'm up to.

*Awesome betas-Once I have gone through and revised until my eyes are ready to fall out of my head, I send the ms off to my beta.

*Beta revisions-Once I get those notes back, I scour the MS and fix editing mistakes and address all of her fabulous suggestions.

*Line edit-This is probably my least favorite part, but very necessary. I print out the entire MS and have at it.

*Civilian Betas-After all of this, I have a couple of teacher friends that give my ms a read through and let me know their overall thoughts and feelings about details and point out anything else that might need tweaking.

*One last read through-Yes I get a little obsessive compulsive about the details, but I can't help it. Once I get comments from my last round of betas and apply them, I give it another read through. Okay maybe two.

So now you know the insanity my family puts up with when I write. So what little rituals do the rest of you practice when knee deep in the writing process?


Lindsay said...

Okay, I did laugh like you said I would. hee hee.

I love your method though. I do th sam thing printing the MS out and attacking it. There is something cathartic about editing by hand. :)

BK Mattingly said...

I'm a modified pantser too :) This was a really great post. I love learning how other people get their work done. I get my idea and write it down along with any details that come to mind. I'll let it stew and ferment a few days. Then I'll do any basic research I need to do. I start having "interview sessions" with my MC(s) during my classes. Finally I start my draft. A series of rewrites and reviews later and I get a book.

Jess said...

Um...I'll be using your method from now on, if that's okay--it's much more organized and thorough than mine :) Thanks for the post!

Bast said...

I don't know that I do anything wierd, but sometimes I can only write by hand. At other times, I can only write on a computer. If I try to do the opposite, the words just won't come.

Chris Phillips said...

Mine is a lot like that. I like to play my idea through my head like a movie on walks before I outline.

Hannah said...

I don't fill out character charts but I love to look at the questions and contemplate them. Most of the time the questions don't apply to what my genre entails or it comes out in the writing. I write pretty long synopsis and sometimes even break down the scenes but most of the other stuff is either pointless or changes once I start actually writing. Which doesn't stop me from trying but whatevs.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like you have your method down pat! I don't like research, either. I usually have enough of the turning points figured out in advance, but not a lot of the finer details.

Candyland said...

I'm pretty ON and OFF, meaning, I'll be really obsessive about revisions-to a fault- and then I'll be OFF the whole story for like a year!!! I need to find middle ground.

Shannon said...

Looks like a great method! =)

Personally, I write until stumped, research, then write more. I do mind maps for the story and inspiration charts for my characters. I don't edit until the second go 'round. After that is when it gets messy.

Melissa said...

Interesting process. An eye for detail in writing is good, and will do nothing but make your ms better