I don't like my porridge too hot or too cold. I like it jusssst right.
To follow Scott and Davin's trend for this week, I'm going to talk about my writing process. How do I get my stories rolling, and what do I do once they are moving? I'm not a pantster. I'm not a hard-core outliner. I'm really just somewhere in the middle. Which, I think if most people look at how they write, are like this. Somewhere in the middle.
My process goes something like this:
Oh, look, a shiny idea! Let's do something with that. Okay. Let's start with the scenes and locations and all the fun we can do with that. Butterflies. I've always wanted to do a story in the mountains with those Monarch butterflies that migrate to Mexico.
Who are we going to throw in there? How about a spy? A spy sounds super-cool and fun! I can put guns and explosions and a really bad terrorist guy out to get him. That'll create great conflict. Yeah. Now, where would that likely happen? The jungle? Cool. Okay, let's throw Brazil in there. Figure out where the butterflies would most likely be. West Virginia.
Research the heck out of my locations and chosen characters.
Write the book. (This takes forever, mind you, because I haven't really planned A THING. I've just got ideas of cool places and things that happen. Exciting things.)
What the heck are you doing? You've got this book written, these characters established, and you have NO idea what they want or how it's going to end. What is going on here? This is a freaking TRAIN WRECK! Back up! Back up!
Let's make a plan. Let's make charts and maps and models and character sketches. Let's MAKE A PLAN!
What do your characters want? Why? What's standing in their way? Is it logical to have him do that? That makes no sense. Map some stuff out, will ya?
Write the book again. Or heavily revise. Figure out the 3 Act Structure, mold the plot to a spine, give my characters some life, figure out role models and line of antagonism, plot out the climax, smooth out holes.
The KEY is that I already had most everything laid out in a full, completed manuscript. Even if it was a train wreck. I had clay to work with. I can't organize and plan something from nothing. I just can't. Not if it's only ideas floating around in my head. When I write a first draft it's charging full force down the train tracks, live or die, see what happens. Just go. And I deal with making it all pretty later. Which is what I'm doing now.
No matter how anybody writes a book, it's hard work. Even for a baby bear.
So, now that the three of us have shared our writing process, what's yours if you haven't already shared that? If you have, what do you think about writing process? Is it different for you with every project? Do you think there's a better way than another? Something all writers shouldn't overlook?