Okay, so writing process. It took me a while to find what works for me. Or at least what works for me right at this moment in time. We are ever evolving and changing as people and one day I might find something that works even better for me than my current set up. But I’ll take you from the beginning when I completed that first manuscript and work on from there. So let’s delve into the creative process of my hectic little self.
That first manuscript I wrote in about four weeks from December through to mid January was written exclusively on google docs. Even the character profiles and the world building had their own little individual google docs. It was a nightmare of tab hopping and it went this way from the first draft and a half. Drafts two and three of that book were also written on google docs.
One day when I was scrolling through pinterest for some inspiration for character profiles. I saw a few lovely little posts about writers notebooks. Now most of the ones I saw had nifty literary quotes and prompts and lovely little nuggets like that as well as stuff for character design and world building. The quotes and prompts in a book I knew wouldn’t really work for me I’m very much a practical person and flip to hat I need and be done with it. So I started with world building and then moved onto my character profiles. Plus anything else needed like descriptions on groups within the world and the like. I’d intended when I’d started that idea to have a notebook per manuscript idea. That didn’t end up happening until later and even then I think I failed twice in keeping everything in one place.
Around draft two I made the change all planning went into the notebook. It was easy, it was good and it worked. Those notebooks are now living in my backpack and go everywhere with me along with a pencil case of essentials. I only write on my laptop when I’m at home either on the couch or sitting at the desk that I share with K in our bedroom. When I am out and about but planning to work on a manuscript I copy that last paragraph typed and work from there in long hand. Then next time I am at my computer I type up all that was written on the go. Maybe doing some minor tweaking along the way.
During draft two I needed something else to do something exciting with planning stages. So I started plotting and then drafting the sequel to that first book. I loved it and it was going well. It got to the completion draft three of the first book and I had to Beta Readers/Critique Partners M and B. I love them both dearly and they helped me a lot with that draft. That was when I finally had draft four and what I’m hoping is a polished enough MS for that book. I submitted it to pitchwars. I loved entering that competition and it was a learning curve. My book didn’t get any requests never mind picked but it gave me the confidence to think I can really do this. So when pitchwars ended I started to query. With a much better written synopsis in query letter than the one I had submitted for pitchwars in August. A second change I made was when I started on draft four I switched from google docs to use Scrivener to write. I love the programme its pretty good for what you pay for it and their 30 day trial is a real help in deciding before you buy.
I’m on draft three of the sequel to the first book while that one is languishing in a few slush piles down in London. I don’t want to work on that sequel at the moment I just I feel like continuing to work on that series while I’m waiting to hear back will ruin my chances. So I decided I would do Nanowrimo. That was probably the most insane idea I have ever had. I have attempted Nanowrimo in the past multiple times and failed to keep up during all of those attempts. I don’t know what made me think that this time would be different. Maybe it was the fact that my other two first drafts had been finished in a similar time scale.
I used the last few weeks of October to begin plotting out the MG/YA that had been hopping around in my head like a little plot bunny. I wrote a lot after that but I didn’t update regularly on my website and I’m still about 15,000 works behind where I should be at this point in the month. According to the tracker that puts me at completing the 50,000 word goal sometime in January. This leaves me thinking I’m not well suited to Nanowrimo. I mean I can do the same sort of word count in a month if I’m not actively tracking it. Maybe I just need to focus a little more on the writing and a little less on the tracking of how many words I’m getting out in a day or in a week or in a minute. I probably haven’t helped myself along any by procrastinating and starting a blog dedicated to reviewing the books I read and talking about my writing. Oh well never mind it’s something else to occupy my time when I’m home alone waiting for P, C & K to return from school and work respectively.
I’d love to hear how you all go about your creative and writing processes. What tools and programmes do you use? How much do you plan and outline in advance or do you do the bare bones and then see where the characters take you?
See you real soon bookworms.