My Writing Process
I know I promised to tell you guys why I disappeared for a while. The honest truth is that I’ve written a blog post, but I just haven’t had the courage to press “Publish” quite yet. Bare with me. Until then, I’d like to change up the pace and discuss more along the lines of what my writing process is. For you authors (or wanna be authors), this one’s for you.
There are times when my writing process is interrupted, be that someone dies or the world explodes. Or both. This is why I don’t put out five to six manuscripts a year. I usually write 2.5-4, though the revision process is what takes so long. Writing to me used to be hard. I had to force or trick myself to do it. But after all these years, I’ve finally figured out why I was having such a hard time writing: it’s because I was attempting to wear too many hats while writing the first draft. Be an editor, revisor, critic, which are things I do in drafts 2-10. It’s hard. So now that I know how to write a first draft, that it’s okay to write pure crap that no one will see, EVER, I don’t have such an issue writing anymore.
So here’s my journey of all the crazy things I’ve done . . .
– I’ve used a program called Dragon Dictate, which allows me to dictate my book to the computer. Brilliant program . . . if you use the right mic and no one is screaming in the background. Not recommended for authors who write when their children are awake. Or if anyone is awake. I have my own office on my own floor. Most aren’t so lucky.
– There are times I’ve done middle of the night drives where I use a recorder app on my phone to tell my story like someone else is with me (this doesn’t have to be done in the car, but driving keeps me from being distracted from all the shiny things). Later, I’ll listen and type it up. What’s one of the more entertaining things about this is that I pause sometimes to give driving advice to those around me. And of course it is recorded. Makes me laugh every time. I’ve also caught myself doing voices and accents. No, you will NEVER hear any of these sessions (and there are hours worth).
– I have a super love relationship with the Write or Die app on my Mac (there’s a free version, though you have to use it directly on their website). I finished writing Key of Pearl, a 27k word novella, in a week because of Write or Die. The harder I set my challenge, the better. I would write 2-2.5k words/hour. You can also challenge other authors who have the app. I’ve done many writing sessions with authors who follow me on Twitter.
– In the past, when I’ve gotten stuck, I’ve written directly to my story editor (Lisa Langdale) via Yahoo! chat. Literally, right in the chat screen. It helped because she was able to give me immediate feedback and her reaction to my story. Plus, she always wanted more and pressed me for words. Since I hadn’t written them yet, she gave me the extra push I needed to type what happens next in my story. For some reason, writing in chat always brings out the funny in me, because only when I’m chatting with Lisa do I become a comedian. (Really.)
– I’ve hand-written whole sections of my books. I have so many filled notebooks it isn’t even funny. Trees weep over my use of paper (sorry). But I have a wrist that can’t keep up with my pace, which is why I bought a typewriter (yes, you read that right). There’s something very tangible and real about putting pen to paper, and even now I find myself using my notebook.
– One manuscript I co-authored with Lisa (The Acid Method), and we used Google Docs to write chapters together in real time. We’d pick which characters we’d want to be in a scene and use an outline to write together. Turned out beautifully because the dialogue was real and unpredictable. Often times hysterical. (Or at least we thought so.) For writers co-authoring, I highly suggest trying this at least once.
Now, I usually write in silence, in my office, on a typewriter, in the middle of the night. I write fast and simply. After the first draft is written, I use my laptop to revise. But I’m not one for habits, so it won’t be long before I’m bouncing on to the next idea. And who knows what that’ll be.
Writers, how do *you* get words on paper?
My next blog post will be about the revision stage. STAY TUNED!
Halo of the Sun
Webs of Convexity
(Tocsin Saga, #1)
(Paradoxical World, #2)
(Summer Chronicles, #4)
The Stone Circle