Besides blogging, I write both original and fan fiction. I have a different approach to my process for each type of writing that I do. I know every writer has their own process that works best for them, but I wanted to share my process for the writing that I do.
When I’m blogging, I just let the words flow. I sit down and open a new post and start writing. Only three things need to be in place before I can really start; the topic, the title, and the featured image. Coming up with a topic is always my first priority. Once I decide on one, you would think I could begin, but I’ve always struggled to write if I didn’t have a title first, and for my blogs, I like to have selected an image to accompany them.
Once those two elements are in place, I just sit and start to write. I will pause if I need to research something that I am writing about, but often I am sharing my personal thoughts and experiences, so that doesn’t happen often.
Once I have finished writing, I will step away from the post for a brief period, before I go back through and read what I have written. This is also my first pass to edit the piece. Depending on how I feel about it, I may just publish it then, or I may let it sit for a little longer and do a second pass of editing before I publish it.
When it comes to writing fan fiction stories, my process is similar to how I write my blogs. I need to have a topic, often a “what-if” scenario to focus the story around. Once I have that, then I have to come up with a title before I can begin writing.
The primary difference between my fan fiction pieces and my blogs is length. My fan fiction stories often span multiple chapters and are 20,000 words or more. My longest piece was 87,000 words long. Most of my blog posts are closer to 500 to 1,000 words, give or take. Only when I write a shorter, single-chapter piece or participate in a drabble challenge will my fan fiction pieces be shorter, anywhere from 100 to 5,000 words.
The other difference with my fan fiction works is that I will write them from the third-person point-of-view, while my blogs are often written in first-person or occasionally second-person.
However, once I have my topic and title, I usually just sit down and let the words flow. If I am writing a story with only one chapter, generally known as a “one-shot” in the fan fiction world, then it is often written within a couple of hours. Once complete, I will step away from it before I go through once or twice to edit, before I post it online.
If a story contains multiple chapters, I will write, edit and post each chapter as I complete them before moving on to the next chapter. I enjoy the immediate feedback from my readers and it helps to encourage me to keep writing. I like knowing that other people enjoy reading what I write as much as I enjoy writing it.
When I started work on my novel, Artifact of the Dawn, I chose a different approach. In this case, I was writing about a fictional world that did not exist yet. In fan fiction, the world and characters have been created by others and all I have to do is write my story around them. With my novel, I had to create the entire world and characters from scratch.
Before I sat down to start writing the story, I began by writing out all the descriptions of the major characters I was including. Then I wrote descriptions of both the elven and human cultures. I also decided to create a limited elven vocabulary of my own invention. Finally, I wrote out a detailed outline of the plot. I spent around 6 months or so creating and revising these pieces before I finally sat down and wrote the first draft.
The first draft of the novel was completed in thirty days as part of the 2015 NaNoWriMo event. While I was writing I didn’t stick strictly to the outline I had created. Instead, I used the outline as a guide to where I wanted the story to go but still allowed myself to meander in various directions to get there.
After it was written, I set aside the manuscript for a couple of weeks before diving in for a first read and edit. From there, I sent it to a friend of mine that offered to do the initial alpha read. He provided a lot of valuable and detailed feedback. That allowed me to go back through and improve the story’s pacing and fix continuity errors, among other things.
After that, I recruited six beta readers who provided more feedback. That naturally led to more editing. From there I went into a cycle of beta reads, feedback and edits twice more before handing the manuscript to a proofreader. They went through and helped me correct any obvious spelling, grammar, switching tenses and even some continuity errors my beta readers missed. After that, I made one two more editing passes.
That’s where the novel is at now. I am calling it done enough to start sending it out to literary agents. There may be more editing that needs to happen in the future, but I’m pretty happy with where the novel is now.
If I get published and the publisher picks up the entire series I plan to write, I’m sure my process for my next novel will change. However, if I ultimately end up self-publishing, then I will most likely follow a very similar process, although I may not wait for NaNoWriMo to actually sit down and write out the next novel.
Do you write? What is your writing process like?