I’m tinkering with my writing process, figuring out what is most effective, motivating, efficient, practical, productive, etc. Last night, my shiny new critique group talked about our writing process. I am still a firm believer in writing draft one without an outline or even an idea.
For this book, I used draft one to discover my character, Sadie, and figure out what she was like, how she talked, where she lived, how she spent her weekends. I found her voice.
In the second draft I’ve worked on the story. I asked myself questions about Sadie. Now that I know her personality, what is it that Sadie wants? Why does she want it? And what’s the obstacle that’s getting in the way of this? What’s at stake if she doesn’t get it? This helped me develop the story I was telling about Sadie, aka the plot.
The questions I answered (which I really forced myself to think about in this novel) are important and, frustratingly connected in different ways. I was happy when I was certain that I knew what Sadie wanted, then defeated when I realized I didn’t know why. I had an obstacle, but wasn’t sure what was at stake that motivates her to keep moving in the face of conflict. I’ll be spending at least one more draft (I wasn’t going to count them, but here I am doing it) working out the story.
And then, once I my character is strong and my story is in the right place, I’ll focus on language. That’s when I’ll tinker for hours over one paragraph. That’s when I’ll search for opportunities to add metaphors and similes. That’s when I’ll decide if someone’s face is beet red or wine red.
This is just one type of process, and it works for me right now. I may evolve into another process. Some people swear by outlines but that approach just doesn’t move me. Although, I’ve never seriously tried it, and someday I should to see if it works for me or if there’s anything I can take from that approach and apply it to my writing process.
I don’t think it matters how you write, just that you keep writing. Whatever tricks you need to do to keep those fingers dancing across the keyboard is just fine.
What's your process like?