I want to share my process with you. Everyone’s process is different and unique to each writer, but it can help seeing what others do so you can create your own process. I’m somewhat new to the game though, or I should say, I’m more serious about it now. I took years away from writing and reading and just recently became more serious about it. I have stories to tell and I’m excited to do it.
Now, I’ve always been a pantser not a plotter and although this process worked for me somewhat, I always found that I’d suddenly run dry and hit a block. I wouldn’t know what to write next and left many books unfinished. (Sorry to all my Wattpad readers that are still waiting for updates!) In school, I hated the plotting and planning process they made us use and often times would try to avoid it, but I had some stories that were still great successes even back then. One of them even got me state-wide recognition in only 8th grade!
So, I came up with a new idea and started writing it. I filled almost a whole notebook and I was feeling confident about it until one day it just didn’t feel right. I realized I had no direction for the story and half of it didn’t make sense but I still loved the idea. So, I took a step back. I started looking for ideas to better help me write my story. I started with Pinterest and made a board just for tips which you can check out here.
I started watching YouTube videos and quickly came up with a plan so I could make my story the way I see it in my mind. This is my process and I will go more into depth into each one:
- Book skeleton
- Revision process
I started by writing down every little idea I had for my book. I searched Pinterest for pictures that might be relatable to my story. These pictures could be characters, quotes, settings, scenes, anything really and I saved them to a private board with the title I was going to use for my story.
I started doing research. Now, you may think the first one is the same thing but for me it wasn’t. I went more in-depth, looking up information on the places I wanted to use for the setting. My book also uses vampires, witches, and werewolves, so I did research on them. There is a flu virus in my story so I researched the Black Plague and I took extensive notes.
Next, I did an outline. I tried to follow the 3 Act structure for this book and realized that I’m still a big pantser and it was hard for me to do, so I just made a list of scenes I wanted in my story.
The scenes aren’t in-depth. Just simple things like they left town or they kiss. Just enough so I know what I want to happen. Then I opened up PowerPoint and made a new slide show.
PowerPoint has always been a favorite program of mind and I love to play around with it. All those pictures I had saved to that board, I used in my PowerPoint. Each character gets their own slide with their name and a picture of who I have in mind for them. I also list different information about them.
I also make slides for the different quotes, scenes, places, everything! That way it’s easy for me to find.
4. Book skeleton
I’ve heard this called a lot of different things but I call it a skeleton. Some people use Excel for this but I’m not good with Excel so I’ve been using graphing paper instead but regular notebook paper would work just fine as well.
This is used so I can keep track of each chapter/ scene and what happens in it. I list the chapter, word count, a summary, location, day relative to the first day of the book, and the time of day. I also list who is in the chapter, notes for revision and other information like foreshadowing.
Most of that is pretty self-explanatory but I want to elaborate on the notes and other information. The other information is key pieces that are crucial to the plot of the book. My notes are different things I want to add to a chapter. For example, one of my characters needs some work and when I revise, I can provide that extra attention to that character. I don’t write anything on my skeleton until I begin writing and only fill it in after I complete a chapter.
Now before I get into writing, I want to tell you about an amazing app I found on my phone. It’s called Writeometer and it has helped a lot when I come to this step in the process. You set it up with the name of your story, your goal, total writing goal, daily writing goal, a deadline, and if you want reminders. You can earn guavas for each writing session and spend them on treats for yourself like checking Facebook or reading a book. It keeps track of so much and I love it. My screen goes black and shows a timer when I want to write. I have found that it limits my urge to check that new Twitter notification when I want to focus on my work and encourages me to write out as much as I can before the timer gets to zero.
Then I write. I just let the words fly from my fingertips onto a blank page or document. I don’t worry about spelling or grammar or anything like that. That step comes later. I just let the words flow.
Now I have just reached this step but this kind of gives you an idea of what is to come after writing. I’m not entirely sure how I am going to approach this step in my process yet. I plan on making a separate post about that in the future so I suppose this section is to be continued.
I hope you have found this article helpful and that you may adopt some of these routines to help influence and better your own writing habit. Let me know what works for you. What makes the writing process easier for you? Any tips or tricks that you might want to share with others? Leave me a comment!