Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Monday Meeting--Floating Ideas, or, How Do You Write?

Here is a link to Lille, by Lisa Hannigan. Some inspiration for the beginning of the week. Click through--it's very cool.

I've always called myself a pantser. But I'm not really. I'm definitely not a plotter, although, for sure, I do a lot of plotting and planning. Let me tell you my process, and you can tell me what particular writing illness I'm inflicted with.

First I get an idea. A BIG idea. I write dystopian and contemporary fantasy, and I like my ideas BIG. I write it down. Then I let it stew for a year. I'm not kidding. I let that thing work its way down through my subconscious and back up again for, on the average, a year.

I create a soundtrack, based on the emotions behind my characters, and some specific events that I know happen in the novel, you know, because I've been thinking about it for a long time.

I jot down scenes about these characters. Or notes. Or whatever comes to mind.

Then I write hard and fast. I write to see if the idea will float. And I write for voice. I write until I know how my characters walk through their world.

I send it to crit partners. I want to nail the voice, the beginning, the idea, before I go on.

I revise. I get close to where I want the beginning to be. I find out that the idea will float.

Then I stop. I backtrack. I review all the notes I have, and start taking more notes about plot points, world building, back story. By this point, I already know the ending. I already know the beginning. I start to plot what happens in the middle. I might even draw little graphs, and time lines.

Then I write again, hard and fast.

Then I stop and review, and revise what came before.

I repeat the above until I reach 'The End'.

Then I write my first outline. And an editorial letter.

Then I begin revising.

At least, that is how I write today. :)

How do you write? Can you put yourself into a straight category? Are you a pantser, a plotter, some combination of both? Do you write differently with each novel?

And--my goals this week are to write as much as possible. I want to dig in, and make headway. Write a couple of hours each day. Of course, I have a child home sick today. So we'll see. What goals are you working toward this week?

10 comments:

  1. Excellent process, Heather!! Also, ours our similar :) Only the end always comes to me with the beginning, and it's the middle I have to figure out as I go along.

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  2. Ooh, I'm going to try creating a playlist while plotting. I have one for while I write but didn't think about making a separate one. Thx.

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  3. I write differently for each project I have. I am constantly shifting gears and changing the way I look at an idea or a character. My process is extremely convoluted, and can perhaps be equated to a mental illness, but I think it makes for some exceptional writing.

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  4. And don't worry, Heather. Your process is an awesome one. Stick with it!

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  5. My process is very similar to yours!

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  6. Honestly, it changes every year as I grow as a writer! usually an idea marinates for a while but the wip I just started came really fast so put of my original writing plans for the fall!

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  7. I have a general outline then I pants on specific scenes. And I write slowly. I reread chapters before I start writing. Then I revise those chapters before I write. And then I write. Slowly.

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  8. Hi Heather! I let an idea simmer in my mind for months or years even. I don't have a system. I'm always jumping around in my writing and have various projects going on at a time, all in different stages. I decided that from now on, I'm going to try writing straight through from beginning to end before I go back and revise anything. We'll see how it goes! I love that you create a soundtrack to go with your WIP. That's so cool! Sounds like you're making great progress.

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  9. My process changes with each book as I read more books on craft. My latest "thing" has been on story structure, which has resulted in HUGE changes in how I plan books. :D

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  10. Oh, I just LOVE that you shared this! THANK YOU. I find that I have to write the book before I can write the book. I mean, I outline, but it isn't till I get all of those scenes out that I see what works/what doesn't, really analyze pacing and character development, etc.

    I also love that you spend a long time letting ideas simmer. As I'm writing my first draft (post outline), I'll hit these points where I'm like, "Now what?" I know I want to get HERE, but, exactly, HOW do I do that?? I spend a few days stressing, and then it usually hits me. I get frustrated that the ideas don't come immediately, so glad to know you let thinks sit and stew and congeal :D

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