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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Small Part of How I Write

Today I'm participating in the What's Your Process Blogfest hosted by Shallee at Life, the Universe, and Writing. Since I'm no expert and writing about finishing a whole novel (finished like ready to query), I'm going to share how I started my WiP.  It worked really well for me so I'm going to do the same for my next book. 


The first thing I did was take the bare-bones idea I had and expand on that by asking the "What If" question.  I did that until I had a basic idea of a plot in my head and I also made notes in my first writing notebook (I've gone through three since I started writing), stuff that I didn't know if it would work but I wanted to put it on paper because I tend to forget things. A lot;)  Then I started thinking of who this story was about.  I made basic character sketches of who I was getting to know (because characters are like real people, right?) and then I looked on the Internet for pictures that matched what they looked like.  Once I had those printed, I cut them out and stapled them to each character sketch. 


Next, I figured out my major plot points - the inciting incident, the major turning points, the climax, and the resolution.  I wrote them in the notebook then I started brainstorming scenes that could come in between those plot points.  It was a very rough outline, but I know I didn't have everything that's needed to write a whole book.  I just figured I'd make the rest of it up as I went (hence I'm a little bit of a plotter and a little bit of a pantser - a plantser).  I tried to stick to my outline, but of course I took a few detours, which was fine.  Well, it kind of freaked me out at first.  I got stuck a lot and would take really loooong breaks, which is the worst thing you can do.  When I just pushed on, no matter what, that was when I was able to generate new ideas and finally finish the first draft.


I'm currently revising that same WiP and I'm still figuring out a good way to do that.  I will mention that The Plot Whisperer's site has been sooooo helpful.  I've been going through the December revision posts and I can already tell they are going to help me make my book a lot better. *fingers crossed*


And that's it!  So do you have any part of your writing process you'd like to share?  Any good writing resources you've come across?

26 comments:

  1. Have you seen that Harry Potter plot chart? There were a bunch of posts about it awhile back (if you haven't just google JK Rowling plot chart!). I am using something similar to tighten up my chapters during this round of revisions and make sure that I keep up with subplots. It's working really well so far.

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  2. Ooh.. thanks for that link! It sounds great. And thanks for sharing your very thorough process!

    Nice to meet you!

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  3. I really need to start using my notebooks more. I keep buying them (because they look so pretty on the shelves in the stationery shop), writing in the first couple pages and then stopping. I'm sure I'm missing out on something there.

    Thanks for sharing the link. Looking forward to checking that one out.

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  4. Interesting method. I like it. Thanks for sharing it and I will check out the link.
    Thanks.

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  5. I probably SHOULD do this kind of thing, and yet...I think it'd probably be a better thing (for me personally) to only do it during revision, not the initial draft. Because if I plan that out too much, I get bored ;)

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  6. Wow! Neat to see your process! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Sounds very similar and I've started writing stuff down now as well, since my memory is shot.

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  8. Plot Whisperer? Sounds interesting. May have to check that out.

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  9. "what if " is a great question to put to writing.

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  10. Good post. Plantser...I like it. That's how I'd describe myself as well. :)

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  11. Your process sounds a lot like mine! You're so right about not taking long breaks, they can be the death of one's novel. One of my favorite parts of revision is reading aloud because I catch so much more that way!

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  12. Thanks for sharing your process! I'll have to check out that link you posted.

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  13. Very interesting indeed. I'm in revision, too. I'm learning so much from reading all these processes. Great meeting you!

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  14. Wow, I'm really enjoying reading all the entries in this blogfest! Interesting! Love the chart...

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  15. As you know, I'm a planster too. =)

    Good post, love!

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  16. I love that you look for ideas on the internet. I've always wanted to do that, but for some weird reason I'm nervous to. I like to give my character's specific characteristics, but I don't know if I really want a certain image in my head. Maybe next time I'll get brave. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Hi,

    Im getting an interesting perspective on the differing ways people process their writing. It really is a case of what works best for the individual! ;)

    best
    F

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  18. I like that fact that you have formed a bond with your characters before planning the inciting incident, the major turning points, the climax, and the resolution. I plan in a notebook in a very similar way to yours. Good luck with your writing. :)

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  19. I love the plot whisperer-- it's too late for my current book but I'm going to try her method for my next one.

    Nice post, I liked seeing your process. :)

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  20. I'll have to check out plot whisperer! I enjoyed reading about your process.

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  21. These sorts of posts are my particular brand of heroin.

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  22. Wow. You are not a pantser! My process? I come up with a fabulous idea (sometimes while sleeping) and let it stew for 6-12 months. Then I create a playlist based on the emotional journey of the characters. I jot down scenes and notes as they come to me, and then I start on page one, and write until I reach the end. And that's when I start making outlines and time lines and character sketches--when I'm revising. :)

    Thanks for the insight!

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  23. A plantser...ha! That's great. I'm sort of a plantser too. Although probably not as organized as you!

    One writing resource which I found helpful recently is an older book, but still good called Writing to Sell by Scott Meredith. Some great advice in there that pertains to commercial fiction.

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  24. Hey Melissa,
    I just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award on my blog today!
    Michelle

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  25. I'm a week late, but catching up on this blogfest now after I finally put my own entry up =)

    Great chart! Characters are definitely real people. For me, they're the most important part of the story by miles - and they're what makes my job fun, because they intrigue me! :)

    Your blog looks great by the way! Always nice to meet a fellow fantasy writer! :D

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  26. Great process and what a good idea for a blogfest!

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