Monday, January 31, 2011

From Inspiration to Draft

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Many of you mentioned in my call for feedback that you wanted to talk more about processes.  So, over the next couple weeks I'm going to splash the blog with my own writing processes from the inspiration through the first draft, revisions, and straight through the query.  It's just the way I do things, and meant to open the floor up for discussion.  :)

Today let's start with the inspiration.

http://danielgarcia.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/speed-of-implementation.jpg

An idea has fallen from the sky.  It smashed into your head and trickled into all the empty spaces, filling you with excitement.

First: Celebrate.  Run with the idea.  Play it out in your mind.  Maybe this could happen. Or THIS!  OMG THIS IS GOING TO BE EPIC!  I am BRILLIANT!  Best. Idea. Ever.

Ponder the idea for a while.  Allow it to snatch all of your daydreams into its strange and exciting world.  This is a very important step in the process.  If the idea loses its spark, if you find yourself thinking of it less and less...maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all.

Second:  The idea stuck.  You are still sure you've come up with the next blockbuster and this character is screaming in your ear and you must. write. this. story.  Excellent!  But now it's time to work.

Pull out your handy-dandy notebook and take some notes.  What is your basic plot idea?  Who are your main characters?  Who is the bad guy?  What makes this story fun and unique?  Write down all of the big events you dreamed up in Part One of our process.

Third:  Research.  This is especially important if you are writing a story in a historical setting, but it applies to everyone.  You need to know what kind of books are out there in the genre.  Is there anything similar to your amazing shiny new idea?  If it is a historical novel you've got double the work.  Language, dress, customs...everything about your story will be effected by the time period.

Fourth:  Outline.  If you outline.  I've never been an outliner before.  At least not in the traditional sense.  I (as mentioned in step two) take notes on where I see the story going, but I've never done a scene by scene outline.  On my own SNI I am planning to though.  We'll see how it goes.

Fifth:  Write that first draft, baby!  Let loose and allow your mind to run away with you.  Don't be too strict with your outline or you may miss an amazing scene opportunity.  Alternately don't be to lax either or you'll wind up meandering into nothing.  That's no fun.

Now, with your first draft in hand, it's time to really celebrate.  But not for too long, because up next we conquer the dreaded Revision Monster!

What do you think?  Does this sound similar to your own process?

8 comments:

Angela Felsted said...

I think it's a great process and yes, it's eerily similar to mine.

Heather Hellmann said...

I have many notebooks that are filled with chicken scratch. However, they help me keep my ideas organized.

Erinn said...

Awesome...I've had ideas for stories but once I've said them aloud I was no longer interested in them. I heart this post!

Pam Harris said...

You know what, I never thought about researching to see if other books were out there like my SNI. I mean, after I finished a draft, I started looking for comparable titles to mention in a query--but I like doing it that early in the game. That way, you can make your WIP really stand out. Great post! :)

Sarah said...

I've heard the number one question asked of authors is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

They fall from the sky!

Yahong said...

Oh, I outline like heck, usually for the plot. I think I need to start working on *character* outlines, but sometimes I avoid doing that by just writing in first-person for a while in my protag's voice... then I jump in. :)

Laura Pauling said...

That is somewhat familiar to process. I def. outline. And with different wips I'll spend different amounts of time at each stage!

Thanks for the follow! :)

Alicia Gregoire said...

This is a great post. I've never really thought about my own process before. (Confession: sometimes I wonder if I have a process.)