Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Writing Process Blogfest

Uh oh, I think I might be an addict. So what is this new addiction? Blogfests! I see one and I just can’t walk away. I need to participate. In “The Writing Process” blogfest, you are supposed to describe how you write. Are you a plotter or a panster? So . . . Here it goes.

The Writing Process

I start out with an idea. Usually, I have way too many of those and in order to keep myself sane, I write the idea on a small sheet of paper and toss it into an empty Godiva Chocolate box. When I need to start a new project, I pull a random idea out of that box and start.

First, comes a mediocre attempt at plotting where I run the idea through my mind, have a general idea of how the story should start and end. I create the characters names and give them physical descriptions. So far, I’m a complete panster.

I then start writing and as I do that, the characters pretty much develop themselves. I plot as I go, and I only know what will happen in the next chapter to come.

Supporting characters jump at me then and storylines I didn’t originally plan on sneak into the story.

Then the ideas rush at me a little too quickly and now I could see more upcoming chapters then just one, so when I’m at about 10,000 to 20,000 words, I make an outline. The outline only contains a short, one or two sentence summery of each upcoming chapter until the end. At that point, I also know how much of the book I still have left to write and approximately how many words will it total. As you can see, I become a plotter.

About midway through the writing process, I write my synopsis and query to get those out of the way. Then I finish writing the manuscript.

All the hard work comes in the edits. The first edit; I add details. The setting location actually gets a name, the supporting cast gets names, or their names change (actually, almost all the characters change names). I also change character personality inconsistencies as that is bound to happen when you’re a panster. The second edit, I take out repetitive information and make sure everything sounds good. Then I convert it into a text-to-speech format and have it read out loud to me, so I could attack typos. Usually when I’m in that process, I’m ready to shoot myself. That is usually the end of the manuscript itself. I then fix the synopsis and query, making sure the characters new names are in place of the old, and then I submit and wait for a response.

To read about the other participants, click here.


  1. I always love to see how the process works for others.

    I'm a former blogfest addict. I kicked the habit late last year.

  2. I've heard of writing the outline partway through the draft. That seems smart to me. A good way to get to know your characters first.

  3. Hi,

    So you're a part-time plotter and pantser on the run! ;)


  4. I love reading about authors' writing processes! Thank you!

  5. Interesting that you turn from pantser to plotter mid-draft! It sounds like it works great for you! Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Very interesting method. I get more organized as I go, too. Revision is hard work.

  7. I am loving this blogfest! I really like writing down ideas and tossing them into an empty Godiva box to pull out later. Like a little treasure chest!

  8. I also love reading about authors' writing processes, thanks for sharing.

  9. You are a pantser who plots from the middle of the writing process and it works for you! Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. Your process sounds pretty good to me ;)
    I usually have an idea, sometimes a title and I develop it from there. The characters are usually the 1st ones to pop in my head so I develop them as the story develops. Other times I write my story from a prompt we use in my writing group. I love developing my characters.

  11. 90% of the time I start with characters and not plot... I also "what-if" myself to death. And I love forms ... so I fill out character forms and pre-plotting form and scene cards.

    Your way sounds much more organic: plant a seed and let it grow. :-)

  12. First, love the chocolate box for your ideas. Second, you are the second person I've come across who writes their query and synopsis before they finish the book. I might have to try that. Thanks for sharing your process.

  13. If i put my stuff in a chocolate box I would never move on, I would try to turn everything inside that box into chocolate.
    Writing your query and synop b4 is also a very genius idea