This is advice that I’ve heard over and over. “Put your butt in the chair and write.” “It’s the only way you’re going to finish.” “You can’t edit a blank page.” But how many times have I stared at the blinking cursor on the screen. That is until I realized I was a plotter. Since then, writer’s block has no place in my vocabulary.
I start a new project thinking and collecting ideas about my characters, their personalities, quirks, physical traits (if you’ve seen my book covers, you know my heroes’ physical traits follow a pattern 😉 ) as well as the main events that will happen in the story. I flesh out my heroines, the antagonist, the hero, the setting. Then I envision the big picture, starting with the end and generating ideas for the major turning points.
Finally, I sit down to put words on paper. I start with two charts I’ve developed over the years: Character profiles and the 6-Stage Plot structure. I take all the prewriting work I’ve done and plug it in, further developing the characters based on their archetype and thinking up scenes for each part of the story.
Once I have my plot (scene by scene), I start writing. I never have to think about what to write. I’ve already got it in there: Who’s pov? What is his or her goal, motivation, and conflict? How does it move the story forward? What emotional, physical, and sensory descriptions do I want to include? With this information I can crank out a first draft in just a couple of months (for a full-length novel). I have a word-count in mind per scene, and when I first write it, the scene is mostly action and comes out to about a third of the words I want. Before moving to the next scene, I flesh it out with the emotion and internal stuff that usually pushes me over my word-count goal.
I reread this first draft for spelling and grammar, making other adjustments as I see them. Then it’s off to my editor. If you’re just starting out or if you’ve suffered from writer’s block, I hope my process will spark some new ideas for you. All writers are different, but I’ve found that taking bits and pieces from others who’ve been through the same trials has helped me develop a process that works great for me. How will you develop yours?
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Next week’s topic will be My Greatest Strength. Follow along and check out the other authors on this hop for more ideas.