A Personal Writing Process

I’ve been to many NaNoWriMo write-ins in my day. Naturally, I’ve conversed with many authors and have heard about personal writing habits that differ from others. I don’t mean planning versus pantsing. Sometimes it’s simple, like a naming convention for files, or a color code for highlighting certain passages for editing. Most authors write a 500-page draft and then whittle it down by one-third; I simply can’t operate in such a manner.

The manuscript for M&M: The Tales of Tyrennia Book II now stands at 235 pages. Sounds a bit short, doesn’t it? Well, in a word, No. The original first draft was only 112 pages. My creative writing classes were in screenwriting; therefore, I tend to write a first draft (which I playfully call Version 0.5) that is 90% dialog. It’s a nasty habit, which I do not recommend for any author. This method is a rather personal quirk or “comfort zone.” I prefer having my plot laid out, no holes or characters ignoring the path of least resistance. Also, it helps me to scrutinize my dialog. pencil

Version 0.5 of Book II moved like a rocket-powered roller coaster. Way too fast and somewhat overwhelming for a reader. Most authors love to write a “page-turner,” but there can be a point where a reader needs to come up for air. My current draft certainly leaves them underwater for way too long. But there were other problems.

Book II’s disparate events in separate locations on a collision course created a dizzying story line. Not only was information zipping by too quickly, but such a plot demanded many shifts in point-of-view (POV).

To solve this problem, I wrote out a small synopsis of each chapter’s events and noted the POV shifts. Yes, way too many. But I also noted the need for characters to perform certain actions, and subsequently work on solving glitches in their plans of action.

So far, I’ve fleshed out the first four chapters and have written a new chapter 5. I saw the necessity of other new chapters as well. For instance, the original chapter 5 is now chapter 9. Because of the minimalist nature of my first draft and outline, the plot is still rock solid. *wipes brow*

Do you have any personal writing quirks in your process?

Don’t Go – Comment Below!

9 thoughts on “A Personal Writing Process

  1. Interesting to read about your particular method for creating the first draft. I tend to vary between books and book style. Sometimes the tale flows, or rather stumbles, in chronological order. At other times bits and pieces of different chapters/situations get written and are then drawn upon for draft 2, 3, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi T.R. Always good to see you.
      I don’t recommend anyone trying it my way. It’s a screenwriting mentality that allows me to supervise and keep track of things. Although this time my own process swam back and bit me bum.
      I save bits and pieces in a delete file and remind my self where it came from. Ya never know when you’ll need it later.

      Like

  2. I generally write from beginning to end, but occasionally I will write a scene out of order if it comes to me in a flash. The first draft is the bare bones. Often not enough placement of the characters and action in the scene, which I need to fill out. But I like to get the story finished, then sort it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, it’s interesting, the differences between how my husband, who is a screenwriter, writes, and how I, who writes narrative fiction writes. I admire the screenwriters’ thinking process which is much like playwrighting where you have to keep everything pared down and to the point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. At least you got the ideas out there, then you had something to work with!
    Lately, I can’t even get started. So there’s nothing TO straighten out, know what I mean? Empty pages.
    So props to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so nice to share writing methods. I also do a short run through of each chapter and where I think the story will go. Then I make a list of questions that I haven’t figured out yet or I need to discover the answers to when writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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