I’m not doing Nano this year – at least not officially – despite starting a brand new story as of yesterday. And since Nano tends to make people think about their process a lot more and since Maisey did an awesome post about writing process and being fast, I thought I’d totally copy her and do one about my process. Mainly because it’s kind of been the opposite of Maisey’s experience (and also because I was scraping around for a topic to blog about).
I’ve always been a fast writer but I didn’t realise quite how fast until I started writing to get published. Before, I would go on writing binges and write for days on end, then stop and not write for months, so the last story I wrote before I actually committed to writing romance took about a year. Then again it did end up being 320k so there’s that. 😉
But when I started writing for publication, I found that if I wrote every day, I could do a 50k story in a month. Or even 2 weeks if I planned it well enough. Which I found very pleasing. However the fatal flaw in the works was that because I didn’t know much about character or conflict, or plot, or anything really, that 50k wasn’t a very good 50k. So I used to end up having to rewrite over and over. This, I thought, was my process. That what I do is write my way into my books, I write fast to get it all down, and rewriting fifty million times was just part of it.
Since then, I’ve found that actually it’s not and that my process has changed. Now, I know I haven’t been published very long but one thing I’ve noticed is that subsequent to publication, I feel like I write slower (unlike Maisey who’s got faster). This is kind of frustrating but I know that I’m writing slower because I’m thinking much more about character and conflict and pacing that I ever used to. Not in a conscious, second-guessing way. More in an analytical way as I complete each scene. It IS frustrating, but the up side is that I don’t have to do multiple drafts anymore. My Dirty Virgin Hero book – which I felt took ages and ages for me to write – I’ll probably do a bit of editing with but nothing like the full on rewrites I used to have to do in the past. It’s pretty much done in first draft form.
The other thing I do now that I never used to do before and probably saves me from lots of rewriting is that I actually spend a lot of time thinking about the characters before I start. Yeah, I know, I should have done that years ago but I was always too impatient to start writing. These days I actually CAN’T actually get very far into the story until I have a feel for the character because I’ve learned what happens to a story when I don’t (pants happens in other words). I do have to tell myself it’s okay to spend time thinking and not writing, but never underestimate the power of a good think while you’re doing the laundry or walking or having a shower (showers are especially awesome!). It’s helped by the fact that I now know what I have to figure out about each character, which ‘why’ questions I have to ask. And that I also have to go with my gut on some things and not second-guess, and that sometimes I have to let go the vision I had about a certain charater and let them be the way they want to be.
I hope this process will get faster the more I write and the more I learn, because it feels slow to me at the moment. Though some books are slower than others because some characters are harder to pin down and conflicts more complicated. What’s for certain is that your process isn’t set in stone and you can change it. This may happen naturally or it might be something you consciously do.
It just depends on how you want to write and how comfortable you feel about doing it.
So how does everyone else do it? (and I mean that not suggestively hehe, though feel free to share…).