My Writing Process

mywritingprocess

Oh, what’s that you say? You’ve never read one of my books before? That’s because I am not a famous author. My books do not appear in any library or bookstore anywhere. It’s hard to get your hands on a book when it doesn’t exist! Even so, I’m going to talk a little bit about my writing process today.

Brainstorming/Prewriting:

  • An idea usually floats around in my head for awhile before it ever gets close to a piece of paper. Most likely, I have thought about it a lot while in the shower! And when I can’t get to sleep at night, I start plotting in my head. For some reason, this helps me sleep!
  • I like to write the types of books that I read, so my books have a YA vibe – fast paced, teen or college-age characters, with some humor and romance.
  • I’ll use some online name generators and baby naming websites to help name characters.
  • For some projects, I’ll have to do research. For example, one of my projects is a historical thriller à  la Steve Berry/Dan Brown that intertwines a modern day story with Queen Elizabeth I, so I needed to learn a lot about Queen Elizabeth. I printed copies of the information I found, highlighted them, and made notes of anything that was useful to me. I also printed off information about how succession of the crown works.
  • A very basic plot line will help me map out what I want the story to do, but this often changes as I start writing.
  • Jotting down notes of character descriptions and settings (sometimes even using Google Maps) helps me stay consistent as I write.

Drafting:

  • Even though I really love my laptop and tablets, I usually start out with a handwritten copy of my story. This gives me the ability to doodle as I get stuck, and keeps me away from the very distracting internet.
    • The exception to this was when I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2013. I didn’t have time to write and type it all up later, so I did all the writing on my laptop.
  • Writing a rough draft takes a LONG time. I’ll often reach a point and get STUCK. This makes me want to give up, but eventually I’ll figure out a way to get the story back on track.

Revising:

  • After I’ve written a nice big chunk of story, I type it up and print it out. Then I go through and mark it up. I add missing details or more interesting word choices, cut anything that isn’t necessary, and move lines around so the story makes more sense. I also continue writing and add on to the story.
  • I’ll basically stay in this revising/drafting/revising/drafting loop for awhile.
  • Another thing I’ve started doing is making my story available to read on my Kindle and tablets so I can see if I enjoy my story. Am I writing something I’d like to read? Am I writing something other people would like to read?

writingprocessimage

Editing:

  • I don’t bother editing until the story is finished or close to being finished. Again, I print the document and mark it up. I especially watch out for verb tenses. And those darn adverbs that keep filling up the page!
  • I’ll also refer to grammar sites online to make sure my punctuation is correct and that my metaphors are worded correctly.
  • I also circle words that are overused and search for more interesting words with thesaurus.com.

Publishing:

  • Sometimes I’ll take a break when I get stuck and work on cover designs instead. This is a good way to feel productive…without actually writing!
  • When I’ve gone through the entire writing process and feel proud of the work I’ve accomplished, I use Blurb to create a real copy of my work.

So while I’m a long way off from becoming a bestseller, I really enjoy working on my writing projects. It also helps me understand and appreciate the talent and hard work that must go into all of the books I read every year. Writing a novel is not easy, and anyone who says it is probably hasn’t tried it themselves!   

What are your tips and tricks for writing a book?

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9 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. I sat down, I wrote it ( took a while), published it in instalments onto my blog. Then thought what the heck let me put it on Kindle 😅

  2. I’m at the first stage (brainstorming and outlining), and I found this post very helpful. It gives me an insight into what the rest of my writing journey is going to be like.

    It’s interesting that your initial plot often changes over time. I’m trying to write a thick plot, so I feel the need to check everything before I start writing to make sure that it all makes sense.

    • I’m glad my post was helpful. Yes, my stories definitely change as I write them. And I never have a very clear ending in mind, so those change the most. I understand now why I so often find the endings of books frustrating – it’s because it’s hard! There are just so many different ways a story COULD go – how do you choose the right one? Best of luck in your own writing. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I really enjoyed this post! It’s super interesting to hear about your thoughts and process.
    “I don’t bother editing until the story is finished or close to being finished. ”
    I think folks would feel less inhibited to write if they used this philosophy.

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