Facts of Life,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey,  Writing World

The Ever Evolving Writing Process

As with most writers, I have certain things that I like to do at different points in the writing process. That said, I’m not married to any of it. In fact, I may not even have a process. I take it story by story, because every story is different. They develop at different paces, and some are heavily externally inspired while some are almost entirely internally inspired. I guess you could say, I like to go with the flow. ^_^

This makes sense, because outside of writing, I’m rather resistant to going with the flow. LOL!

In fact, do you want to hear something really gross? I already have a list of what I’m going to buy people for Christmas. ^_^ LOL! It’s not 100% exact, like if I’m buying someone a book, I don’t have the exact book, but I have the author. Yep. Totally gross. But hey, I was super behind last year! I didn’t buy presents until November! It was crazy!

I’m only being a little sarcastic there. It really was crazy. Having a list in August is early for me, I usually do this in September so I can shop in October, but I felt like jotting crap down one day, because I like to budget. Yes. #GoNerds

So, back to writing. Haha. I once tried the index card thing for my editing notes. You know, where you write Chapter One on a card and then list what you need to change, if anything, and then you do this for every chapter that needs content changes. I stuck with it for two stories. But honestly, most of the things I wrote down as problems, weren’t actually problems, they were just problems in my head. You know how that is. We don’t remember stuff right. Like, I would say, “mention/foreshadow the big important thingie in chapter ten” and then I’d get to chapter ten and it would already be there. (face meet palm)

In any case, having index cards everywhere would make me crazy crazier. We gotta do what works for us, right? And now I know that doesn’t work, because I tried it.

Another thing I tried: SUPER CRAZY DETAILED NOTES. I didn’t go so far as to jot down the character’s weight and shoe size, but I did do bios and interviews and backstories. If I had to do that for every story, I wouldn’t write. Luckily, I don’t have to do that.

Over the last five years, I’ve slowly cut away the notes to just the essentials that I personally need. This includes a dump of information that I jot down somewhere, probably my phone, and maybe look at once while I’m drafting to see if I’ve forgotten anything super interesting. This also includes a list of character names and a “statistics page” – which is where I jot down physical characteristics and any interesting info that comes to mind. This isn’t for the story. It’s for me. Because I forget people’s eye color and sometimes their name.

That looks something like this:
Jade, 22
Dark Turquoise Eyes
Long, wavy black hair
Brazillian & Scottish
5’7, not very curvy
likes popcorn, any flavor, especially mixed

I may not even mention the popcorn thing or even her height, but she told me because I asked. I do this for every character that I know of going in. Not my favorite thing, but I’ve regretted not doing this in the past when I’m looking for an eye color and can’t find it in my dump of notes.

Sometimes the stats look like this:
Fawn – soft grey eyes, dark, glossy hair, slender, hateful, bronze skin

That’s when I’m being really lazy. Or what happened in the case of WINTER’S SIREN, where I started the story without even a list of names. I filled in the names as I went, and I eventually jotted everything down at the bottom of the document, and then transferred that to my pretty notebook for even easier reference later.

Speaking of notes I never look at, I looked at some notes for WINTER’S SIREN just now and saw this: (a snippet of conversation that never happened) “Do you judge me for my actions,” Fawn says, grey eyes on my back – I can feel them. “I’m not in a position to judge anyone.”

Yeah, that doesn’t even fit in the story now. LOL!

With “Whisper,” I’m currently doing a combination of blind pantsing and outlining. I always start outlining at some point. I brainstorm a lot on my way to work, and sometimes the story gets ahead of me, and then I can’t think straight, so I write it down. It’s subject to change, but I always write more when I have an outline. Writing is less intimidating for me this way. πŸ™‚

Of course, I feel like I’m going to start my next story outlining out of the gate. I already have a bare bones sketch of the major plot points. There is a reason for this that I’ll talk about later, because this isn’t something I normally do. But every story is different.


  • Sunflower Michelle

    Every story is definitely different–like this one, I already knew the basics of the characters going on ’cause I’ve either written them before or I’d written them then deleted them before, but it’s a different story and a different process this time around! I’ve had to think about where these characters are a couple of years later as well, which is fun.

  • Tonja Drecker

    The process changes with every story. It’s kind of interesting, I think. But then again, each story is unique anyway, so I guess it makes sense. Sometimes the characters start it. Other times, it’s a flashed idea which strings along all by itself. And other ideas are like whispers which refuse to go away. Isn’t it fun being a writer? πŸ™‚

  • Elise Fallson

    I like doing character profiles and jot down a lot of this kind of information too. One of the things I also like doing is interviewing them off the cuff. The interview usually has nothing to do with the story but it’s always interesting to see snippets of their personality come out and usually a backstory unfolds that I hadn’t really thought of before. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: