Saturday, November 28, 2020

How We Do This Thing

Writing as a Process

    The writing process is a fascinating one, full of so many lurching starts and sudden stops. Every writer does it different, I think; and the longer they write, the more that unique style emerges.  And not just in the way their words sound when dancing across the page.  They develop a unique style in very way they get their words on the page.

    A lot of writers write their scenes sequentially.  They start at the very beginning (a very good place) and write one scene after another.  Some start at the ending.  Others sort of dance from scene to scene and worry about the order later. That's to say nothing of plotters and pantsers- those who plot their stories extensively head to toe and those who write the whole thing by the seat of their pants.

    My own pattern is a bit... eccentric, I think.  I do very little plotting at first.  I start writing a scene (it usually turns out to be the first) and follow the narrative that develops as I go along. By page two or three I start looking for the plot, and that's when it starts to take off.  In the next day or two I'll fill out kind of a bullet-point plot, and keep writing sequentially... mostly.

    Until I get stuck.

    Then, rather than sit mired in block, I go to another scene in my list and start to work on it.  Next time I get stuck, I do it again.  And when I'm really stuck?  I start working on transitions, even in the most basic turns.  'Brandr and Arindel hiked through the mountains.' Just that.  Whatever gets you (and your characters) where you're going.

    I build on that, of course.  But you need words to get more words, sometimes, and stagnation is our great enemy.  When you're stuck, do everything you can do to get unstuck. 

    And when I'm really stuck?  I get two of my characters in a room and get  them talking.  They'll tell me the plot, and the details, and while those conversations rarely make the final cut they tell ME a heck of a lot about where the story is gotten.

    That's my process in a nutshell.  I may go into more later, but I'd love to know about yours.

    Comment and let me know!


1 comment:

  1. That’s an excellent way to write and I’m sure it helps you a lot! Maybe I should try that a bit more for my novel. :D
    ~Erin Quill



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