PDA

View Full Version : What is YOUR process?



Word Jedi
11-08-2011, 03:50 AM
When an idea hits, what comes next for you?
Do you start an outline of events for your story?
Do you just wing it and hope you get past the dreaded 30 or 40 page wall without slamming into it face first?
When or if do you do any background work on your characters?

KTC
11-08-2011, 04:11 AM
Step #1 - Have idea and write for 72 hours solid until 1st draft is complete.

Step #2 - Edit

Step #3 - Submit

DeleyanLee
11-08-2011, 04:19 AM
1. Get yet another idea

2. Decide if it ties into the current novel or not.

3. If not, toss it into the simmering pot of creativity in the back of my mind where it will stay for a few days to a few decades. If so, incorporate it into the present MIP.

4. Keep writing.

Word Jedi
11-08-2011, 05:37 AM
Step #1 - Have idea and write for 72 hours solid until 1st draft is complete.

Step #2 - Edit

Step #3 - Submit

Whoa. I think I'll label this the JUGGERNAUT approach to writing.
An approach I think I will actually try this weekend.

leahzero
11-08-2011, 05:42 AM
1. Get really fired up about the idea and start extrapolating plot points, characters, etc.

2. Make some coffee.

3. Check Twitter.

4. Read RSS feed.

5. Browse AW.

6. Look up and discover it's bed time.

7. Repeat the next day.

Chrissy
11-08-2011, 06:10 AM
1. Get good idea in really weird place, or dark place, or while driving, and have no paper, a broken pencil and two inkless pens.

2. Determine to remember idea.

3. Forget idea.



:cry:

LJD
11-08-2011, 06:36 AM
1) Ideas never really 'hit' me but slowly develop. I make a bunch of notes, over many days/weeks, to figure out the overall plot.

2) Character notes and plotting...in either order. I am a plotter and I plan out each scene, though these change slightly as a write.

3) First draft, which takes a few months.

4) Rewrites....

Monkey
11-08-2011, 07:02 AM
1) Get really cool idea. This is usually an overarching plot.

2) Figure out the best possible characters for this particular plot, and make notes on them.

3) Come up with a subplot or two based on interactions/goals of the characters and the theme of the book.

4) Outline the beginning, the middle, and the end. Gaps in between are fine, but I like to know where I am and where I'm going, and have some idea of the path between. I don't outline too strictly, because I like to leave room for flow and exploration and unexpected plot bunnies.

5) Write the opening. This is the hardest part for me. But if I don't get it right, I feel like I have no foundation on which to build.

6) Write the rest of the story. This part is looser, less rigid, and moves along faster.

7) Finish and let it sit for a while...usually a few days to a couple of weeks.

8) Edit, edit, edit!

9) Send to betas.

10) Edit, edit, edit!

11) Done! That is, until an agent or publisher asks for more edits.

Good thing I've come to enjoy editing. :D

blacbird
11-08-2011, 09:32 AM
1. Feed and water the cats.
2. Clean the cat litter.
3. Take the trash can to the curb.
4. Load the dishwasher.
5. Wash the pots and pans.
6. Start a load of laundry.
7. Shovel snow off the front walk.
8. Vacuum the living room.
9. Eat something (optional).
10. Drive 22 miles to my place of work.
11. Work all day.
12. Drive 22 miles back from my place of work.
13. Shovel snow off the front walk.
14. Fix dinner.
15. Eat dinner (optional).
16. Apologize to family for not having time to vacuum the other rooms in the house.
17. Apologize to family for not having returned the empty trash can from the curb.
18. Retreat to bedroom with computer.
19. Work on two technical reports and an academic paper.
20. Go to sleep (optional).

caw

Drachen Jager
11-08-2011, 10:11 AM
1) Get a Kernel idea.

2) Throw Kernel idea away as impractical, silly, not interesting enough, not enough material to hang a novel on.

3) Repeat 1&2 until 2 is passed.

4) Simmer and stir for 2-4 months.

5) Come up with a beginning, write it down in synopsis form.

6) Either begin writing, and work out the remainder as I'm working, or plot the rest out if I have another project going at the time.

7) Write a first draft over 6-8 weeks (I try for 2k words or more per day).

8) Give it a first edit for consistency and general language etc.

9) Edit pass for POV character's internalisations.

10) Edit pass for descriptions. Am I touching all the senses?

11) Get a good beta reader.

12) Edit some more.

13) Another few edits and betas and it's ready for prime-time!

Keyaroscuro
11-08-2011, 11:06 AM
1. Sit in front of laptop.
2. Open Microsoft Word along with a million tabs on Google Chrome.
3. Start typing in a random Word document after surfing around the web mindlessly.
4. Get several sentences into the writing and think, "Oh hey, that's a fun idea, maybe I'll write more."
5. Half a book later...

seun
11-08-2011, 12:51 PM
1. Have idea. Sit on idea for anywhere from a few days to fifteen years.

2. Start work on notes which will become character descriptions, plot points, issues and problems I'll come across in writing.

3. Decide where the story begins.

4. Write first draft. This takes anywhere from two to six months.

5. Leave draft alone for a month.

6. Read draft through, making notes on the way.

7. Start edits.

8. After various edits, I have a finished book. This is anywhere from five to nine months after I started the first draft.

9. Repeat with a new idea.

AlishaS
11-08-2011, 01:24 PM
When a new idea hits, I jot down a few brief notes and just start writing. However, if I can't work on new project right away I try and do as much as an outline as I can.
When it comes to characters, I try to come up with names and descriptions off the hop but am always adding to the list as I go a long. Same goes for setting and what not, the more I write and introduce things the bigger my notes folder gets.

goldmund
11-08-2011, 03:24 PM
Ideas come and go, it's actually starting to write a novel that scares the hell out of me.
Short story - fine, a week's work is nothing.
But to start each of my three novels I had to get really, really drunk and full of sedatives. It's like ripping out your own living heart, man. :-(

P.S. The good idea might be to keep writing scenes, dialogs and chapters without actually admitting to yourself that you've actually started to work on it. Just some research, taking notes. And then - voila! You just need to write the first paragraph.

Bukarella
11-08-2011, 03:44 PM
I look for artwork that goes along with my idea in order to develop it. For example, for my latest work, I would be lost without a genius Bilibin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilibin).

Anninyn
11-08-2011, 03:46 PM
1: Get idea
2: decide I'm not good enough to write it yet, wait
3: make several false, abortive starts
4 decide to write something else
5 fail
6: Listen to music, stare into space
7: Something clicks. Story comes together.
8: Decide to actually plot this one this time
9: Jot down plot.
10: admire self
11: start.

Up until recently you could probably cut it off after 6. We'll see if I actually finish this novel this time, shall we?

Stellan
11-08-2011, 07:15 PM
This is usually how it tends to go:

1. Get a good idea. I mean, amazing. It's possibly the best idea ever. I'm going to sell a zillion copies of this and retire to an island made of gold.
2. Start writing it in a haze of excitement.
3. Lose steam about a third of the way in.
4. Putter around in a state of dejection. What the hell was I thinking? This was possibly the worst idea ever. Everrrrr.
5. Poke it again a few hours, days, months or years later.
6. Realise that it wasn't half-bad, really. Not great, maybe, but it has potential. Maybe if I change this and add a bit of this...
7. Finish it. Sometimes. Maybe.

scarletpeaches
11-08-2011, 07:20 PM
1. Get a germ of an idea, inspired by a song, a snippet of conversation, a throwaway remark by firedrake... :D

2. This step is optional: outline it on an Excel spreadsheet. A list of chapters, what happens in them, cells containing formulae regarding word count, chapter average, estimated total and so on.

3. Speed-write the first draft.

4. Edit. This is immediate; I don't see the point in waiting; it wastes time when the book should be out there earning me money.

5. Bang out a query and synopsis.

6. Submit.

There's often a gap of time between getting the idea and starting to write it, or in other cases, between outlining the idea and starting to write it.

Kitty27
11-08-2011, 07:38 PM
1. Get an idea and cackle like mad because this is the BEST ever. I tell you that people will weep before my skillz.


2. Make a soundtrack because I MUST write to music.

3. Write like mad. Knock off 100,000 words in about four to six weeks.

4. Edit,research,and probably write some more because I have a serious word count problem.

5. Tackle the query and synopsis beasties:cry:

I don't do outlines,research,etc. Doing so slows me down. I want to get right into the story and write ASAP.

shaldna
11-08-2011, 07:56 PM
When an idea hits, what comes next for you?
Do you start an outline of events for your story?
Do you just wing it and hope you get past the dreaded 30 or 40 page wall without slamming into it face first?
When or if do you do any background work on your characters?

I sit down and start to write and see where it takes me.

I don't outline and I don't do character bios.

I don't do background work generally.

If I need to research something then I do it as I go.

I do keep a sheet - a single sheet - that's like a cheat sheet. I write on it things I may need to know in a hurry, like important plot points, or ideas that have come to me since writing that I want to include down the line.

Other than that I just make it up as I go.

Shadow_Ferret
11-08-2011, 08:02 PM
I don't get ideas.

Jamesaritchie
11-08-2011, 09:18 PM
When an idea hits, what comes next for you?
Do you start an outline of events for your story?
Do you just wing it and hope you get past the dreaded 30 or 40 page wall without slamming into it face first?
When or if do you do any background work on your characters?

I just wing it, but that thirty or forty page wall is nonexistent, if you understand that winging it shouldn't mean writing without structure or direction.

I don't do background work on characters. They know who they are, what they've done, and where they've been. If I need to know anything, they'll tell me.

JSDR
11-08-2011, 09:34 PM
1. Get idea.
2. Write the story.
3. FREAK OUT that it's horrible and anyone who reads it will lose their soul.
3.5 Go for a walk.
4. Read story and feel a little bit better about it.
5. Edits.
6. FREAK OUT that it's too awful and anyone who reads it will have their eyes bleed.
6.5 Watch a cartoon with my son.
7. Edits.
8. Beg someone to read it.
9. Get their comments. FREAK OUT that I'm a horrible writer.
9.5 Make cookies. (Eat half the dough.)
10. Calm down and integrate comments into story.
11. FREAK OUT about Anatomy quiz.
11.5 Email a friend about what a terrible writer I am.
11.75 Go on SYW and edit other people's stuff instead of working on my own stuff.
12. Do some house chores.
12.5 Chores inspire new scenes.
13. Continue to work on story...

Mr Flibble
11-08-2011, 09:40 PM
1 - Get idea - usually an idea for a character. This will usually appear just when I can't write it (cos I have edits or whatever) Leave it to brew until I can write it.

2 Sit down. Put character in interesting situation. Write it. See what happens. It never ends up how I think it will.

3 - give first draft a rough polish so that it makes sense (Take out XXWhy is he doing this?XX XXinsert pub name hereXX, make sure all scenes in order I want them etc)

4 - Betas

5 - Polish

6 - sub

Storm Surge
11-09-2011, 12:10 AM
1. Get idea. This is usually a character and setting. Feel annoyed at idea because I'm probably working on something else at the moment.
2. Ignore idea for a really long time. Wimpy ideas give up and go home. That's cool. I don't like wimpy ideas.
3. If it's a tough idea, it will come back. At this point I throw characters at it and see what sticks.
4. If the characters show me there is a plot and they argue with each other constantly, I start writing it.
5. I write for a long time. Usually very slowly.
6. When finished, I look at it, despair, and trunk it.
The end.

stray
11-09-2011, 12:28 AM
One year.

Wake up with great idea
Write ten thousand words
Leave it for about six months
Research, look at markets, start to draft a query
Finish the first draft,
Send to a beta reader,
Edit,
Finish query,
Submit

Word Jedi
11-09-2011, 01:15 AM
I don't get ideas.

WHAT!?!?!

Shadow_Ferret
11-09-2011, 03:31 AM
WHAT!?!?!

I can't explain it. I don't get an idea in the traditional "Eureka!" sense or even as something that foments in my head until I grab a pen. I'm not even sure how my process works. I think it all operates deep in my subconscious, like there is this veil that hides the writing part of my brain from the rest of my active processes.

I think most writers sit down to write because they know they have a story to tell and that's the impetus for Butt in Chair.

Me, I just Butt in Chair without having a thought, without an idea. I just pick up my pen and start writing. As soon as I hold the pen, that's when the story comes. Not before.

Take my NANO WIP, I never had any idea what I was going to write about until I opened my notebook and started writing.

It's weird. I used to be a normal writer, with normal ideas bouncing around in my head, but now, they're all ninja stealth-like hiding in the dark.

Mr Flibble
11-09-2011, 03:35 AM
a normal writer

That's an oxymoron isn't it?

Word Jedi
11-09-2011, 04:13 AM
I can't explain it. I don't get an idea in the traditional "Eureka!" sense or even as something that foments in my head until I grab a pen. I'm not even sure how my process works. I think it all operates deep in my subconscious, like there is this veil that hides the writing part of my brain from the rest of my active processes.

I think most writers sit down to write because they know they have a story to tell and that's the impetus for Butt in Chair.

Me, I just Butt in Chair without having a thought, without an idea. I just pick up my pen and start writing. As soon as I hold the pen, that's when the story comes. Not before.

Take my NANO WIP, I never had any idea what I was going to write about until I opened my notebook and started writing.

It's weird. I used to be a normal writer, with normal ideas bouncing around in my head, but now, they're all ninja stealth-like hiding in the dark.
If I wrote like that I would never write at all.
I get these full-blown ideas in the weirdest places. The last one hit me at a Subway while eating lunch and people watching.
But your process is extraordinary to say the least.

Alitriona
11-09-2011, 04:40 AM
I did a blog post on my process not long ago.

I come up with an idea.

Research if I need to.

Write scenes long hand in no particular order.

Research some more.

Type it all up.

Put it in order, going back and forth to make the plot seamless.

Fill in any blanks or required transitions.

Edit. Crit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Crit. Edit. Beta. Edit. Polish. Edit. Edit... until it's pried from my grabby little fingers.

At the moment I can add procrastinate for weeks at each stage.

Libbie
11-09-2011, 06:20 AM
When an idea hits, what comes next for you?
Do you start an outline of events for your story?
Do you just wing it and hope you get past the dreaded 30 or 40 page wall without slamming into it face first?
When or if do you do any background work on your characters?

Whenever new ideas hit me, I am inevitably working on something else that got in line first. So new ideas get a few minutes of my writing time so I can jot them into my "ideas" file, in as much detail as I can figure out, and then I forget about them until I've finished whatever it is I'm working on. Once I'm ready for a new project, I open up the file and whichever queued-up idea seems the most appealing at the time gets pulled out of line and I start working on it.

I suppose the most interesting ideas do get a little bit of subconscious thinking dedicated to them, because typically when I pull one out and start working on it, it comes together pretty fast, and I have a pretty clear idea of where I want it to go.

Shadow_Ferret
11-09-2011, 06:32 AM
That's an oxymoron isn't it?

Yeah, I guess it is. :D

French Maiden
11-09-2011, 07:07 AM
1. Get inspiration from somewhere what turns into an idea (this time it was my son having chemo and getting a blood transfusion, while he had a 12 day fever of 39.5 degrees celcius and was in hospital).
2. Ponder the idea, take notes of what i see in my head. How my character got into the situation they're in etc.
3. Do rough plot and time-line in chronological order.
4. Create characters, do reserach on names - If i cant find a name that fits, i give them a name but change it later to something that is wonderful for them. (Ebony changed to Darrah. Valantino changed to Ricardo etc).
5. Think about the awesomeness of the story.
6. Begin writring (preferably in a word document, but if unavailable in a note pad with ball point pen).
7. Get nearly 15,000 words in and freak out, get massively blocked and put it away for a few months.
8. Get friends to critique the work i've already done (this usually gives me inspiration to go on). Edit other people's work, just to keep my creative mind active.
9. Research for my story.
10. Get motivation and overcome blockage. Write write write. Research some more. Write write write.
I am at step 10 atm.

Rhoda Nightingale
11-09-2011, 08:44 AM
I'm like Libbie--my ideas always happen when I'm in the middle of something else. So the first thing I do is try to ignore it for as long as possible.

If it's persistent, I'll give it some attention. That can mean anything from working out character sketches, jotting down random scenes, Google-searching "inspiring" pictures, or just allowing it to swirl through my head without ignoring it or telling it wait it's damn turn.

Then, if that works out, and I've put away at least one of my current projects--either by hitting the query process or finishing a draft, whatever it is--then I'll start to write in earnest.

I hardly ever outline. It tends to take the steam out of me. I don't know what it is.

Brukaviador
11-09-2011, 07:11 PM
Do you just wing it and hope you get past the dreaded 30 or 40 page wall without slamming into it face first?


Do you write first person, by any chance? I've found that a lot of the people in my writers group who write first person have this 30-40 page wall. They start writing about a character they like, getting right inside their head, but they haven't developed a plot and find they run out of steam when they discover they've got half a dozen chapters of introspection without a story. The just run out of steam when they've expressed the character thinking about everything they can think of to have them think about.

The solution is to really focus hard on plots and character interaction and reworking solo thought scenes in such a way as to involve them interaction with another person. That may not be exactly your problem, but I thought I'd mention it as it sounded familiar.

Brukaviador
11-09-2011, 07:13 PM
Step #1 - Have idea and write for 72 hours solid until 1st draft is complete.

Step #2 - Edit

Step #3 - Submit

I don't know whether you're trying to be funny or serious, but either way you're the reason why people look at writers like we're idiots when we spend more than two weeks working on a novel.

"What, you didn't sneeze out a fully revised, 90k word novel this week?"

The Lonely One
11-09-2011, 07:15 PM
Avoid writing for a very long time, dread it, and then fall head first into a session of winging it.

Rinse, repeat.

Lady Cat
11-10-2011, 12:53 AM
The first thing I do when I get a SNI (shiny new idea) is to tell it to go away and leave me alone 'cause I don't have time to start yet another new project.

If it won't, then I let it rattle around in my head while I run through different scenarios with it.

Once I know how it's going to end, I'll write a brief synopsis of the whole idea.

Then I stick it in a folder with all my other ideas where it will just have to wait its turn.