I don’t pretend to have a solid writing process. I’m very much a ‘discovery’ writer, and so when I latch on to an idea, I’ll just run with it. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, but that’s the beauty of being a writer. It’s honestly been a while since I finished anything solid, other than my current WIP, ‘The Lost Prince’, or my NaNoWriMo18 project, which had a totally different process of writing to TLP.
Every project for me requires a different approach to my ‘process’. Most of my ‘in work’ WIPs have been at that ‘in work’ stage for a while. I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing things, and you can tell. So my process is kind of rusty.
The idea. I always start off with some inkling of an idea. Whether it be a trope I want to write (enemy’s to lovers, arranged marriage, to name a few I love), a character, even a general plot line, or a setting even, I’ll take something small and use that to guide me.
I try not to dwell on the idea too much. Because I’ve always been a discovery writer—and the idea of outlining before writing has always sapped at my creativity—I like to take the additional ideas as they come. Sometimes I link multiple little ideas together to help me in the beginning, and usually I have an idea of where I want to take the story, but mostly I leave it all up to step two.
Write. Yes, I’m a discovery writer (pantser!), though sometimes I like to do a bit of outlining depending on where I’m at with the story. I like to jump right in and write as much as I can. I can already imagine some of the horrified stares this post is going to get. You’re not a real writer if you don’t outline! Well, Karen, I would like to inform you that my first draft is more like an outline for me than a concrete book.
To outline or not to outline is such a huge thing in our community. How you outline is entirely up to you. I like to consider this draft as my outline for the sole purpose of using it as an excuse for why the book is so terrible.
Once I’ve hit a dead-end (meaning, I don’t know what else to write), then I tend to do some kind of outline to help me finish the book. Whether it be a general ‘this is what needs to happen’ or a more in-depth chapter outline, if I can’t get myself unstuck, then I’ll take that route.
Break. Once I’m done, I let the project sit. Six weeks to two months should do it. Longer if I take on a different project in between. I like to juggle projects (I’ll do a blog post on that once I actually know how I do that) and moving on to something else helps me when I jump back in for revisions because it’s given me the space I need from the story.
Revision. Revisions depend on the story. For ‘The Lost Prince’, I did an entire rewrite. I used the first draft as my outline and made as many changes as I needed to make it a more concrete draft. Once that was over, I rewrote it again and sent it out to my critique partner.
Now, that is my general writing process! It’s definitely all over the place, and I hope to be able to do an updated one in the future.
If you have any questions about my process, let me know below! What’s you’re process like? Is there anything you do similar? Anything you’d like to try out! Anything you want me to expand on?
For more on my process, follow me on Instagram: @stephanieanneauthor