Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Writing Process

As a writer I often get asked what my process of writing is like so here's a brief overview.

1. GET AN IDEA. Yeah, this is an easy one for me. I have so many ideas I can't possibly write a book about each one.

2. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FROM? Again, a question most writers get from non-writers. My answer? Uh...

3. WRITE A BRIEF OUTLINE. For me this is bullet points with main character, antagonist, plot, setting, time etc. I'm a pantser so I write "by the seat of my pants" meaning I don't do detailed outlines or plots. Part of the joy of writing for me is the element of surprise my characters bring to the story and for me, the element is gone if I plot it out ahead of time.

4. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE ACTUAL BOOK? Well, it all depends. I've taken two weeks to several months to do a first draft (current novel, I'm looking at YOU!).

5. FIRST DRAFTS SUCK. Yeah, no one writes a novel in one setting and thinks it's brilliant. Well, maybe JK Rowling does. But other than her you need to EDIT said novel. Sometimes several times.

6. EDIT for filler words like really, very, just, only, so...there's a whole list I've got saved. I also use to find them.

7. READ THROUGH ENTIRE NOVEL OUT LOUD. You can either have your computer do this or read it to your cat. My cat loves when I read to her.

8. SEND TO BETA READERS/CP. Once you feel it's ready enough send it to beta readers. Beta readers are readers who will tell you if your plot makes sense or what's confusing them etc. A CP is a critique partner who probably knows your writing already and will tell you where it still sucks.

9. REVISE BASED ON BETA READERS COMMENTS. If you feel they are relevant to your story use their coments.You don't have to take every single edit anyone gives you if it's not feasible. But I usually let the edits sit for a day or two after I finish them. Then I look at them again and use the ones I know will help polish my book.

10. WRITE YOUR QUERY LETTER/SYNOPSIS. If you are looking for an agent (raises hand), this is the time to write your query letter. Some writers do this ahead of time to keep their plot in mind. I've done it both ways. Write your synopsis. This is your plot from beginning to end (leave out subplots). JUST THE FACTS. It's supposed to be dry, not flowery.

11. START TO QUERY. if you don't need to do more revising.

12. QUERY IN SMALL BATCHES. Start with 5-10 queries to agents you've researched. If you don't get requests, revise your query.

13. WAIT.


15. REPEAT STEP 1-15.

What's your writing process like?