My writing process has changed over the years. When I first started writing, we had a computer with a black screen and green letters that printed to a dot matrix printer. We were not allowed to use it so all my writing was done on notebook paper. I hand wrote my first novella titled Battle for Triumph. My mom came up with that title because I wasn’t good at thinking of titles. I’m still not very good at it. Anyway, it was a young adult novella and the most important thing that happened in the plot was a party at the best friend’s house. But hey, I was only twelve.
The process changed a bit when I received a typewriter. Now my manuscript could look professional! It was an electric typewriter with correction tape and everything. But I still hand wrote Countercharm at age fourteen and then typed it up on my fancy typewriter.
Even as computers became more commonplace, I still liked hand writing my stories. I think that makes me focus more on the story and not editing. In 2006 I first wrote for the National Novel Writing Month using the word processing program on my computer. It was jibberish with a ton of misspelled words and I frequently forgot my characters’ names. But it does help get that story out of you when you have a deadline of 30 days.
I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer. I hate outlining. I can never think of what should happen next if I’m not in that moment of writing. My stories just take on a life of their own and grow. I’m always surprised how they turn out. And the weird thing is that 9 times out of 10, everything works out like I did actually have an outline! That makes me brilliant, right? Ha! Lucky maybe or the story is composed in my subconscious and it’s just using me to type it out. Either way, I’m happy with it.
What am I working on now?
I’m working on my first spy/thriller type novella. I usually write fantasy and science fiction, so this is new and exciting. I’m going to need some great beta readers for it when I’m done. It has a horrible title so I won’t tell you what it is (see reason above). But the plot is about a man name Maxwell who invents a nanochip that he uses to try to influence the president. Wait! He’s not the bad guy. Read on. So Maxwell succeeds in implanting the nanochip and he’s talking to the president, but now it’s going both ways. He’s being influenced by and experiencing some of what the president is doing. OK, now come the bad guys who want this technology for themselves, and our hero Maxwell is on their hit list.
How does my work differ from other works of its genre?
My work differs because I usually don’t know where the story is going and so I’m not using a formula, making each story unique. My stories also blend more than one genre, which makes is different. But it also makes it a bit more challenging putting it into a category or comparing it to other works.
How does your writing process work?
Well, I get an idea. Most often my ideas come from dreams. So my idea/dream is only about a character or an occurrence in that character’s life. Then I start writing the idea down. I usually don’t have a character name, but just the setting and the conflict. I hand write my ideas or scenes in my notebook. If it looks promising, I try to continue. I don’t outline. I’ve tried it and I usually veer off of it within the first or second chapter and somehow I can’t get back on it. The story wouldn’t make sense to me anymore if I did.
I usually write on whatever is handy: an envelope, the back of my children’s homework (after its been graded), the back of receipts, and even the empty space on the margin of magazines and newspapers. However! I have gotten better about carrying a notebook with me. Unfortunately, sometimes I misplace them and end up getting a new one, so I have ideas in like 10 notebooks.
My next step will be to type the manuscript into a word processing document once I’ve gotten to an acceptable ending. I do spell check so I don’t get annoyed when I start revision. Revision is a long, agonizing process for me. Not my favorite but I struggle through. I print my manuscript out and read it, make notes for revision, read it again on the computer so I don’t waste paper, and then hopefully give it to someone to read so they can find all the mistakes I missed.
So I’m a messy, unorganized writer. To clean a room, I dump everything in the middle of the floor and then start putting things back where they belong. That’s kind of like how I write. I’m all about getting the story out of my head and onto paper. But it’s so fun just to create these worlds and characters that once it all comes together in the end it was worth it.
Now I nominate Jacquitta McManus author of Talee and the Fallen Object. Now her writing process is a world away from mine at Worlds to Discover.com. Pun intended. 🙂 I’ve heard she has outlines, graphs, takes polls, and interviews her characters before they’re allowed anywhere near her worlds. But she’s great at it! Check her out on Facebook.