Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Writing Process #WriterlyWednesday 41

Good day to everyone and welcome to my blog for another Writerly Wednesday. First of all I'd like to point everyone at the bottom of the post - as ever I am inviting guest posters. Anyone who would like to post anything about writing/books/comics is welcome, including cover artists etc. Now on to today's topic, I thought I would talk about the writing process, I hope you enjoy the post.

The Writing Process

Now we all have different writing processes, some may be very similar to other peoples, but I suspect we all have our own little quirks. However, there tend to be two main systems:

  • the Planner - writers characters bios and scene breakdowns and storyboards etc.
  • the Pantser - starts writing and see what comes out next (names comes from writing by the seat of ones pants).
I have to admit, I'm definitely on the less organised side of writing. I'm a complete Pantser right up until the closing stages of the first draft. I tend to only plan when I am going back to see what needs filling in.

I suppose you might call me an inspiration writer:
  • I start, sometimes with no more than a single idea
  • I keep going and write whatever comes into my head until the initial inspiration runs out, not necessarily in chronological order either.
That's when the real work starts and planning comes in: 
  • I go back, 
  • look at all the gaps I've left
  • then decide what needs to go in them.
As I am finding with my latest vampire novel "Dead Before Dawn: The Vampire Curse", that's actually doubling the word count as well as editing all the existing scenes. I originally envisaged the book as a stand alone story, but then I started to get ideas to continue it beyond one book, which has lead to  new characters and a whole subplot that wasn't there before. The story had gained layers that, I very much hope, will make it a richer read.
The initial writing where inspiration is flowing like mad is always fun. I'm finding with DBD that the second work through is just as exciting.
If there is one piece of advice that I would give any writer, however, it's be organised with your information. We all think we're going to remember everything as it fills our heads while we're writing, but, there will come that moment, when we can't remember our second lead's full name. 

I kid you not - I had to go look it up yesterday because I knew I had given him a surname, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was :).

There are lots of options for keeping this kind of information organised:
  • the Excel/Google sheets workbook - a sheet per character, a timeline, places etc
  • Word/Google Docs/Other Wordprocessor - just write it all down
  • Pen and paper - go old fashioned and make notes
  • yWriter (this is the one I use - love it - free)
  • Scrivener (hands down best for Mac users - cost ~$40)
  • WriteItNow (has great story boarding and character creating options - ~$60)
There are also many more, but these are the ones I've had experience with.

yWriter's story board doesn't work very well on Win10, so if you're a visual writer and like to move stuff around in blocks, it's not for you. It does, however, allow you to use your default RTF editor (in my case Word) to write your story, and it allows you to highlight names and create characters/locations/things on the fly. This perfectly suits my writing process of making things up as I go along :).

I'm sending this novel to my beta readers in sections, because it's designed to be serialised on Wattpad. That way I know if I get emails back with 'send me the next bit now!' I'm doing something right :).

Next will come the reading out loud experience. 
It really is amazing how reading something in our heads and reading it out load off the page can make so much difference. Errors just leap off the page.
The human brain is a very weird place - we see things that aren't there just because we are expecting them. Changing the way we read helps us to see what is actually in front of us. Reading out load also show up awkwardness in language that we might not have spotted otherwise.

The only problem with all of these processes is they take so long. I want to share the novel now! And I can't. I'm sure we writers feel this all the time. Ah, patience is a virtue as they say.

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  1. The need to stay organized while writing is spot on. There's a number of times that I couldn't remember what I had named such-and-such character or who was supposed to say what in various scenes. Cheers - Ellen

    1. Once upon a time I would write something then go back and add pertinent points to the info section - now I do it as I go along. As soon as I create a new character or add a new location, it goes into the info. :)


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