My Writing Process
I begin by writing down an idea – any idea. These often come to me out of nowhere. I never know WHEN I’m going to get one but regardless of how or what time of day it comes; I must stop everything and jot it down; preferably in an Email.
The best example of this is Ragerlaw Street. I woke up from a nightmare at about 4am one morning. My wife heard me stirring awake so she asked if I was okay. I told her everything I remembered from the dream … she told me to go write it down before I forgot so I did. I got up. Made a pot of coffee, then another, and by 6pm that evening I was done. I’d done all the research necessary for it, even researched a location for the story to take place. I wrote down all I remembered, then constructed a plot. When I get ready to write it in 2020, that’s when I’ll utilize a writing process which has enabled me to put out three full novels every year for the past five years:
I first write the premise. That’s basically who does what … to whom … and where/when he does it to them. It’s no different than what I learned in school about writing paragraphs.
From there I devise a synopsis, which is merely an expansion of that original premise: An opening paragraph or two sets the stage for where we are as the story unfolds. The main character is introduced, then I detail what is he or she does to resolve the main conflict in the story. It is vital that I do a great job on this part of the process, as I’ll be referring back to it months or even years later when it’s time to write the book.
I next take the synopsis and develop a Roman numeral outline. This helps me break down the story into sections which will eventually become chapters. In fact I inevitably end up using them as chapters from the outset, sometimes expanding them; sometimes contracting them. I try to do this in a single day; so that I maintain a consistent flow of thought.
After the outline I develop a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. Knowing what my chapters are likely going to be by now, I write a brief summary of what happens in each. When complete I review the entire document, searching for inconsistencies and trouble-shooting them as I go. Upon completion, I then write the ending! This way I have a guide to follow all the way to the end of the book; knowing how it’s going to end all along. By doing it this way I can interrupt the project and work on something else before continuing, picking up right where I left off.