Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THIS WEEK IN "UGLY THINGS"...

...MY WRITING PROCESS

in Ten Steps


Step 1 - Get hit over the head with a killer line, killer scene, or killer description. Write the shit out of it. Rejoice, for life is good and words are easy.

Step 2 - Outline. (head fills with the sound of droning and grinding. sometimes it smokes)

Step 3 - Write the story from the outline in measured increments (either scenes, chapters or word count goals). During this process, I keep picking up the damp towel under which I've hidden the Shiny New Idea that hooked me to keep myself inspired. Also, to make sure it's still alive.

Step 4 - 90% of the way to completion, wade through the existing story with a dull axe and a steak knife, hacking and slashing. Repeat this for too long. Glue the pieces back together. Proceed.

Step 5 - Crank out the ending. Rejoice. Then, from 24 to 48 hours after completion, wallow. There is no version of spent like the thin, sad version felt after finishing a book.

Step 6 - Edit. Smooth and polish, attacking my weak points* with extreme prejudice.

Step 7 - Send to beta readers. (paint smile on face and apply filter to online communications so that I appear cheerful and confident when inside I am ill)

Step 8 - Take grain of salt in preparation for next steps.

Step 9 - Review criticism** and revise as necessary. Some remarks can be erased as though they were never made. That's fine. But others must be addressed. Revise, polish, spell check and remove all flagged comments.

Step 10 - Wrap in a warm synopsis and a sparkling query and send into the world.



*Weak points vary from writer to writer. Sometimes dialogue is stilted or emotional interchanges feel false. Those must be seen plumped until the pop or feel genuine. Plot threads may be introduced in abundance, but then left to wilt. Those must be weeded out.

**If your readers return nothing but praise, find new readers.

13 comments:

  1. I'm still on step 3! :D

    Nice process.

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  2. Very close to my own process. Except exchange "large amounts of alcohol" for "grain of salt" in #8. *grin*

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    1. Your process sounds both more fun and, the day after, more difficult. :D

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  3. I'm on #4 right now, but I'm going to wait until #6 to do the hacking, slashing, and gluing back together once everything I need to say is down.

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    1. Ah, I wish I could stick to a pure plan! I'm a tinkerer, which means I'm rarely not tweaking something I need to leave alone. This...is often a problem.

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    2. I'm using all of my willpower to not go back and edit. I keep telling myself to finish the first draft, then I can tinker.

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  4. I like your writing process! I always skip step 2, I keep starting outlines and never using them. Somehow my books always get finished, so I guess it's okay for me.

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    1. If you can write stories by the seat of your pants, more power to you! :)

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  5. Awesome process--especially getting smacked over the head with the important stuff!!

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    1. Writing may be one of the only places where getting smacked over the head is considered awesome. :D

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