My Writing Process
My writing process is, to be honest, a little wonky. I know a lot of writers who like to sit down and plot out everything into a fine-tuned outline before they get started, and I am not one of those. Every story I’ve written, or am currently writing, starts off in a very panster fashion. I usually will have a shadow of an outline in my mind of where I think the story will go or what type of characters I will be dealing with, but when I start to write, I really just write the first thing that comes to mind. I let the story create itself without any real restrictions or expectations, because 1) it gives me more creative freedom to express myself without feeling like it needs to be a certain way, and 2) I just find it more fun, because often times when I write off the cuff I stumble onto scenes that I never would have imagined if I had followed a strict guideline. It’s very much like going hiking through areas that you never would have seen if you had stayed on the main path. During those first few pages, I’m able to see what the feel and style of the story is going to be, what the atmosphere will be like, and who the characters really are. In seeing this take shape, I’m able to view realistically what kind of story I’ll be working with.
Once I reach that point of feeling confident that the story can hold its own and has a good start, that’s when I’ll sit back and turn into the planner. I usually pull out a notebook and start outlining what the rest of the story will be like, and although there’s always leeway for things to change, often once the outline is formed it doesn’t stray too far from it. Each of my stories, however, has been different in this approach. For Speakeasy, I started outlining after writing just a couple pages. With my novel, The Benighted, I was about 5 chapters in before I realized I needed an outline to keep the duel storylines straight. Its sequel, The Illusory, which I’m currently knee-deep into the editing process with, was about 14 chapters in before I finally sat down with it and began to ask the important questions of “what happens next?” Every story has its own voice, so as long as you get the words out, that’s really all that matters. J