One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was really pretty simple, “do what works for you”.
But what if what works for you changes? What if the process you carefully cultivated stops working? What if your writer brain craves something else?
Instead, I’m proposing we “do what works for the story”. My process seems to change rather drastically for each project I’m working on. See for yourself.
Kingdom of Fraun (Breaking Eselda available now and Books 2 & 3 (+) to be released)
- Plotter-everything is plotted out before I ever start. The full outline for the story, chapter-by-chapter. The plot twists. The questions that will be answered. I have notebooks and documents full of details and back stories. I have family trees.
- Music-playlists all day! I had iTunes start a genius around a song or an artist that had the right feel for the scene or book I was working on and it helped things FLOW.
- Type-usually. Occasionally I sat and wrote it down but, more often, I typed.
- Dialogue-it ruled this story. I wrote dialogue first. Oftentimes the dialogue actually appears in my outline because those conversations RAN these books. The way these characters speak to each other truly drives the plot.
30 Days Without Wings (Available now in ebook, paperback coming soon!)
- Plotter-planned out the first half, wrote the first half. Planned out the second half, wrote the second half. Full outline chapter-by-chapter. I don’t have as much detail for this one as I do for Fraun (because this is a stand alone story) but I have a lot.
- Music-softly playing and it was alright if I had other noise as well.
- Handwritten-mostly. I typed it, eventually, but this story was mostly written by hand.
- Events-rule in this story. I wrote the outline like a series of events. Then I flushed them out. The events drive this plot.
Projection (Science Fiction yet to be released)
- Plotter/Pantser Combo-the beginning of the book was completely fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants accident. Then I sat down and plotted out the rest of the book chapter-by-chapter before coming back to finish it.
- Music-iTunes genius saved me again. I needed total quiet in the rest of the house but loud music blaring for this one.
- Type-exclusively. I have no notebooks or handwritten anything for this one.
- Voice-ruled this story. I really felt Emma from day 1 with this story. I was tapped into her for sure and wrote all her internal voice with confidence. It drives this plot.
New Idea to be Named (Just started this one, yet to be released)
- Pantser-I’m flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants on this one for sure. I actually tried to outline it and the characters went silent. I have no idea how this one ends. I guess I have to write it to find out.
- Background Noise-No music. It’s weird. I’m having no problem writing with the TV on or writing with kids around but I’m having trouble finding music that helps.
- Type-so far. I actually started handwriting it and had to give up because it was coming too fast and I type faster than I write. We shall see if that holds up.
- Conflict-rules this one. At least it seems that way right now. I’ve built these two rival characters and we’re alternating their viewpoints FAST. It’s creating this underlying tension that seems to be pulling the plot along.
So, as you can see, it appears that my process changes with my project. I guess that’s proof that I’m truly a writer who hard focuses on the book and the characters. CRAZY!
Are you a writer? What’s your process like? Share in the comments below.