Surprisingly, I haz. And so does every writer. There are a bazillion different stories out there and a bazillion different ways writers create them. A group of writers (yours truly included) thought it might be interesting to see just how different (and similar) we all are.
For what it’s worth, here’s my process. I hope it gives you some glimpse into what works for me. Make sure you check out
to see their methods to the madness.
The Beginning – Percolating the Idea
A new idea passes through my brain like a drug - I can't get enough of it at first. I lie in bed at night, unable to fall asleep because I'm thinking about the opening, the characters, the ending, the bits and pieces that will make it into the story. Percolating is absolutely essential for me to be able to write a good story. At this stage, I might outline the book in a back cover blurb sort of thing – one page max – before I begin writing the first draft.
Writing the First Draft – In Longhand (yes, you read that right. In LONGHAND)
I do not currently have a life that allows me to sit at a computer for great stretches of time. So I write the first draft in long-hand because I can write anywhere - on the subway for a half-hour, in a waiting room, at hockey and figure skating practices. I'm more forgiving of my writing when the first draft is in long-hand because it prevents me from going into editing mode. I can scratch out or scrawl something that I know I can fix later. I don't feel the need to self-edit like I do when I'm typing into the computer.
The Murky Middle or Where I Usually Stop to Figure out Where I’m Going
I go through this with EVERY book I write. I write the first half then stop. Maybe for a couple of weeks. Sometimes a couple of months. I’m not a huge outliner and maybe that’s why I stop. I don't need to know every single thing that happens in a plot before I write it like Cynthia. But neither am I a complete pantser like Tawna. I guess I’m a hybrid. I know my beginning, I know my ending. But that middle? Oi.
Sometimes it helps at this point to go back and type the first half into the computer to see if it's working. And if it is, sometimes that unsticks me. Once I get through that murky middle the ending flows pretty quickly. I usually get a first draft done in about 4 months.
Revisions (2nd and 3rd drafts)
Once the 2nd draft is in the computer, I print it out and read it. I consider what any revisions might do to the story. Are they consistent with the established themes? Will the revisions alter motivations (yes, Cynthia, I’m all about the motivation!) If I'm deleting scenes, or descriptions or other information am I leaving plot holes? If I'm adding scenes, descriptions or other information am I killing the pace? This stage takes about a month.
Once the third draft is done is when I celebrate. It’s a Real Book! Now I can take a break and send it to the CP’s (I like sending the whole thing and not chapters). Then I put it aside so that when I come back to it I do so as a reader – not a writer.
Final Intense Draft
After I get the CP’s feedback I’m ready to tear into it again. It’s the final opportunity to make the story ready to send to my agent. This stage is an in-depth, cohesive examination of all characters, motivations, plots and sub-plots to make sure the whole story works.
The Agent Okay
She will inevitably have another few suggestions that will require more revision but by this point I know my story so well I can handle changes.
There you have it. Ink to paper. Keyboard to screen. Whatever gets those words down. In writing it's not how you manage the journey it's the destination that's important. Ending up with the words all writers love ... The End.
Don’t forget to visit these amazing writers to see how they do it too!
(southern romance/inspirational romance)
(light paranormal mystery)