My Writing Process Back to Blog

When you talk to authors, you find out quickly that most of them (um, us) follow a different writing process.  Some authors edit their material as they write–say, writing a chapter, stopping, editing it, then moving on.  Other authors use writing programs to help organize their work. Some writers compose their scenes out of sequence and go back later and shape up the book in the proper order.

My technique?  I’m a fast rough drafter. I try to get my first draft out as quickly as I can–no edits. I write and I keep going until its done.  Sometimes my story changes as I write (say, I may change a kill scene or a villain’s actions), and when I do that, I make notations so that I can go back later–once the draft is finished–and make my corrections. Going forward quickly on this draft is the technique that works for me. :-)

Now, after I finish the first draft, I do one serious edit, from manuscript beginning to end. I eliminate all plot holes; I do a consistency check, I layer my scenes, I add scenes, and even add secondary characters if they’re needed. My editing process often adds anywhere from 20-30 pages to my story.

After this edit, my story is pretty clean. It’s in the form where I feel comfortable showing other folks.  (Cuz I’ve prettied it up!)  I’m just about to move to that prettying-it-up phase with my latest story. Typically, this phase takes about two weeks to complete because I tend to take my time on this part.  Nice and slow to get all the details worked out.

But, if you’re a writer, what process works best for you?  I always love to know what works for others!

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7 responses to “My Writing Process”

  1. Edie says:

    I used to be a fast first draft writer. This one is slower. Too many interruptions. But I think there won’t need to be as much clean up and revisions. I hope!

  2. I’m like that too, I love to get the first draft out as fast as I can, because once I get started everything rushes out of me. The process is crazy, and magical at the same time. :)

    I usually take about a month to do the first draft of a novel, then put it away for a bit. Then I complete a second draft – where most of the tidying up happens. Give it another week or two, and I complete the third draft.

    For some reason, it never feels finished until the third draft is done. :)

    Have a great day!

  3. Brandy says:

    I’m not a writer, but find the process fascinating.

  4. Cynthia Eden says:

    I wish you a clean draft, Edie!

    Hi, Yolanda! I like to take a break between that first draft and the second one, too. I think of that as my “distance time.” When I go back after a few days, I feel like I have better perspective.

    Hey, Brandy! Glad you like hearing about the process!

  5. Kait Nolan says:

    Oh god, Fast Draft makes me break out in to a cold sweat. It absolutely paralyzes me. I tried Nano several times…no, does not work for me. I can do revisions on that schedule but not write something new. I am a plotter (historically one with great pantser tendencies due to excitement with new projects that sends me scurrying down the path and getting lost somewhere in the vicinity of Act 2, so I’m trying to rectify that). I like knowing the overall arc of a story and having a great deal of characterization and an outline to go by–which sometimes changes, but I’m trying to figure out the big stuff and know WHY I’m putting something in where I’m putting it to avoid a lot of the fluff I wind up cutting when I give in and pants for a while.

  6. Zoe Winters says:

    I’m like you, I write the crap draft as FAST as possible! So I can keep up momentum and finish.

    Then I let it sit for a few days and reread what I have making a list of “what I have” and “what I need” plot-wise. So I basically end up with two outlines, one a re-cap of what is actually there, and one is what needs to be there. Then I fix the story stuff.

    Then I start to edit the writing itself and the grammar and punctuation. I get it as clean and ready as humanly possible, then I pass it on the crit readers and beta readers. Even though I know I may have to totally overhaul a lot of work, I normally wait this long in the process to bring in other people because I need to get it to where *I* can’t see any flaws before I pass it on to others. Otherwise they’ll spot flaws I could have found, and they might miss (or not point out because they feel like they’re harping on my work) other flaws I’ll never catch.

  7. Rhonda says:

    I’ve been under a rock – reading – for a couple of weeks and I had to LOL at the this post, I’ve try just about every method and I think each one for different reasons and I tend to use a mix of several now :)