Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Creative Side of Things

A lot of people have asked what my writing process is like, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.

A novel is born with an idea, I think. It could be just one sentence that sparks the muse, a song or something someone says. You can get this whole idea in a burst of inspiration or just one scene. 

The creative side of things is different for everyone and for me it usually starts with an idea and general plot. Then I do a scene between two characters. Always the main character with a secondary character or a love interest or alone. The story usually spins out from there. I don't plot it all out. I don't outline.

Just so you can see what it's like, here's the first scene I've written for my next project. 

               “My parents are Wiccan. You know, the whole blessed be, love, peace, and things come back threefold crap.”
               What was I supposed to say to that? I settled with a, “Oh?”
               “Yep. They worship tree gods.” Season’s eyes rolled. “Once my mom found this ‘Return Lost Things’ spell on the Internet and decided she wanted to try to find missing socks with it. She ran around the house chanting with incense that smelled like butt, windows and doors open. It was Labor Day. Lots of people in their yards watching, eating hot dogs. It was as awkward as it sounds.”
               I didn’t know if I should laugh or feel sorry for her, but before I could decide, Evie strolled by, flipping that impossibly glossy hair that reminded me of a Pantene commercial.
               “Freak,” Evie cast over her shoulder at Season.
               Season stuck up her middle finger. “Blessed be that, bitch.”
               I laughed. Almost snorted, too, and at that point, I was pretty sure Season and I would get along famously.

Even if this scene doesn't make the final cut, writing this scene help me get the feel of both characters. I know that Season comes from an eccentric family and even though she makes fun of it, she's sort of proud of it by how she responds to Evie. I know that my main MC is kind by not automatically thinking what Evie says and that she likes that spunky side. So it's a good exercise. 

Typically what I'd do from this point is open up another Word and type "Chapter 1"  and then it would be on like donkey kong with the story. That's it. No other preparation. No planning. Research only if I need to. That's my typical writing process.

I'm going to try something different this time. I'm going to outline, complete with character profiles. Dear God, help me. Not sure how this will go. I usually get impatient and just want to write the darn story already, but I like the idea of having an outline in case I get stuck. I am usually super jealous of those who have like 100 page synopsis. 

So tell me what you're writing process is like. Oh, and wish me luck with the outline.


  1. I do the same thing as you! Get inspired, usually by something random, then I just sit and write what I saw in my head, usually an interaction between two characters that I don't want to forget! Then I just write. :D
    Good luck! :)

  2. I use the snowflake method.

    I start with grain of an idea, make a storyline, a 3 act structure, a 2 page synopsis, and then a scene list. I do character development (Goals, motivation, and drive for each main character), world build, and then GO! :D

  3. Wow! I got inspired by my mum slicing chicken to give to my GSD's! It was totally random but I've kept going from there, making a few pages so far.

  4. Pantsers of the world unite! Sounds as though we pretty much do the same. Sometimes a singular line pops into my head and I'll play around with it a little until it evolves into a scene. Once I have something worth jotting down, I open up a doc, slam it out, and then leave it to simmer and see what kind of flavours arrive. Some I've built on. Others are still awaiting attention. But whatever the idea, however big or small or ludicrous it might seem, I jot it down. Just in case. Because you can never be truly sure which are the winners until you've played with them a little. :o)

  5. The only thing I have ever tried to write has just kind of come to me in pieces. I just sat and started typing. I got a bit stuck, but if it's meant to be, the rest will eventually come to me.

  6. "Blessed be that, bitch"
    Love that line, she was just complaining about it but you can always use it in pride and no one else can put it down!! I know just how she feels! I like Season!!

  7. Too funny! I am a pantser too! Awesome. Well, first WIP was total whim-writing. Mini-movie started and I began writing from Chap 1. WIP #2 started with min-movie, but I also wrote out the scenes I saw, 13 pages worth of notes, character sheets, AND a short outline until I got stuck. Then the writing began... So I guess you could say I have not figured out my "style" yet. LOL

    BEST of luck on new WIP! So excited about a Wicca ref book! Let me know if you need another BETA! *wink* =^)

  8. Oh I hate it when I see Wicca being used in books. It's generally incorrect and insulting. I hope it wont be the same here. I obviously can't tell for certain just by that small piece, but it is very well written.

    Generally my inspirations come in a flash. A picture, an emotion, or a movie scene and BAM! a story starts to explode in my mind. I don't outline either, but I do use a lot of sticky notes.

  9. oh wow. I already love Season. LMAO Just from that one line

  10. Haha, first off, I love that excerpt you shared. I hope it makes the cut :)

    But yeah, generally I start out like you do, with a random idea and a random bit of writing. Sometimes I start with the beginning and sometimes I start in the middle, but I always jump around back and forth throughout the manuscript.

    Of course, I've never actually finished one of my manuscripts, so I don't know how good that is for my method.

    I almost never outline, but I did on my current WIP, because for once I had a very clear idea of where I wanted it to go, so that's kind of interesting.

    And finally, I have this problem where I always get bored of an idea and move onto the the next book idea I have, which is why I have dozens of started-but-never-finished books on my desktop.

  11. "Blessed be that, bitch." I love it! :)) And I hope outlining goes well with your new project (from that one paragraph, I can tell it will be fabulous)!

  12. You create the best book quotes! I can't wait to add "Blessed be that, bitch." You keep me laughing out loud :)
    -Happy outlining!

  13. The first time I tried to write I outlined every detail. I created character profiles and picked a place, descrobed scenery, made the connections between the characters and gave them backgrounds; I wrote down a sort of loosely detailed plot of where I wanted to go and from there I started to write. But it just didn't work for me. Before I finished the first chapter I knew exactly how everything was going to be like and would end.
    It was hard for me because I had to be checking in my notes all the time to make sure I didn't write something differently. It got to a point where it came to be exhausting and I was just tired and un animated because I already knew everything that was going on. Even so, I wrote about 100 pages in before I dropped it. It's still saved in my computer cause, who knows? I might pick it up again someday.
    So this time I did as you always do. I had this scene in my head that kept playing over and over again in my head, actually what triggered it was after reading Between the Lines by Tammara Webber.
    I wrote down the scene, testing it as a sort of fanfic. I loved it so I kept writing like crazy. I was already a good, maybe, 15k into the story when I realized the story was completely mine and it was no fanfic at all. Not even the characters were the same. Not their story or their behavior, nothing! So all I did was change the names and continued from there. I didn't think the plot too much so it can keep me interested. I figure out stuff as I go.
    I'm proud to say I am almost finished with my story. I'm working on a few edits first and details before continuing on and wrapping up the story.

  14. Oh and good luck! Hope it works out better for you than me.

  15. I've tried writing in the past and I think if i could sit down and do an outline, I might actually finish a project. I end up all over the place.

    I LOVE that scene and I already love Season, can't wait to see what book that is!

    Thanks for the insight and good luck with writing!! :)