The discussion of individual writing process came up at the Saturday Writers meeting, always an interesting subject, until it’s my turn. My process is so scattered and unorganized it’s hard for me to explain the workings of my twisted path from idea to finished product. The best way for me to describe it is to say I write in scenes. I don’t write outlines, tried it with the last book and was so thrown off I had to scrap most of what I had and start over. That’s not to say I don’t use any sort of guideposts, I need a beginning and an end. That’s it; the rest is left up to fate. My brain doesn’t always work in a chronological format. I see interactions between characters, or snippets of things that will happen. Most people would scribble these little blips down and move on, not me. I become fixated and have to get the whole scene out before I can move on. Hell, sometimes I don’t even use the scene in my current project, but I never throw it away. This is where Scrivener comes into play. Everything can be filed in the binder allowing me the freedom to move things from project to project. Scrivener is also a godsend when it comes to stitching all those scenes together. I won’t go into the awesomeness of the corkboard this isn’t a review. It’s the stitching of all the scenes together that sparked this post.
A member asked me how I did this and I couldn’t answer him. I’m sure I frustrated him because he was dealing with a similar process. It’s not as if I was trying to be mysterious, or didn’t want to explain, I just couldn’t. My inability to explain got me to thinking. How do I explain what I do? Especially to those who have discovered they have the similar tendencies.
I remember thinking there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I write like everyone else? You know, the whole outline, chronological order… yada, yada, yada. No amount of telling me ‘there is no right or wrong way’ would reassure me. And I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, because it sucks. One day I was perusing author websites and found this post, by the wonderful Jaye Wells, where she explained her writing process. I wasn’t a freak—well, not totally—someone else had a similar process.
Now on to how I do what I do.
Once I have my beginning and end, I take all those random scenes and begin placing them in an order that gets me from point A to B. Filling in the spaces between isn’t always easy, sometimes it’s frustrating. There are even times when I realize I have them in the wrong order, but there’s no law that says I can’t move them. When I’m satisfied with the flow I move on to the rewrite stage. I used to print everything and take notes as I read. Now I convert it to an eBook format and continue on the iPad. This way I can take it with me anywhere. I become a bit obsessive during a project, especially when I’m making progress. I’ll go through the first draft anywhere from two to six times. I’ll save what I look for, for another post. Once I’m satisfied, I pass it on to my beta readers for input. When they give me their feedback I consider it and if they have valid suggestions I’ll implement them. And the reading and rewriting/editing starts all over again. Eventually, I have to stop, or I’ll tinker with it forever.
So there you have it, the twisting road from my twisted brain to The Meadows.