Friday, September 08, 2006

How I write

So there's been this how-I-write-a-novel meme going around the blogosphere lately (see here, here, here, and here). Unfortunately, I don't write novels. Not yet, at least. I've started some. Well, lots actually. But here's my take on the process, using short fiction as my medium.
  1. Something to write on/type in (I prefer typing in Word because my handwriting is akin to that of a fourth grader.)
  2. Story's title (It doesn't have to be anything great. It could be "The Far Moons of Summer's Eyes" or "On This Cloudy Day" or "The Sentry's Mark" or "Talking Cat Story." I just need a name as it helps me focus on the story. I can always change the name later if the story goes too far away from it. Most often though the name sticks and I work my story around it instead.)
  3. Contemplate the idea (What if? Maybe they? Who did it? What's going on? What's the point?)
  4. Write the opening scene (This is probably my favorite step. Not that I enjoy hooks when I read novels, but writing them can be fun.)
  5. Scribble down notes at the bottom of the file: possible scenes, character names, grocery list, a couple of curse words
  6. Write some more (This part is tedious.)
  7. Contemplate the ending (I hate endings. Absolutely hate them. Most of the time I just want to write, "And then they had makeup sex and the evil robots exploded from jealousy. THE END.")
  8. Look up better words in dictionary/thesaurus to replace the crappy ones I used as placeholders
  9. Finish the story (Hah!)
  10. Quick pass on the first draft (This is more for grammar. I'll let the first readers tell me stuff about plot holes.)
  11. Hand off to first readers (Those poor souls.)
  12. Second round of editing per comments from first readers (Sometimes this involves a lot of head hitting desk action, but that's all right. It gets the job done.)
  13. A third read of the story
  14. Possibly change its title
  15. Market research ( is the best.)
  16. Format according to the proper guidelines and submit to the godly editors who will smite me for writing about yet another talking cat (Fingers crossed at this point.)
  17. Forget about the story, go have something to eat, and begin the process all over again (Woo.)

And that is how it is done, most of the time. Occasionally, mainly with flash pieces, I just write nonstop, straight from the brain, and submit. Maybe that's a good thing. I've sold mostly flash fiction recently. But hopefully I'll get around to finishing Summersong one day and I'll let you know how I write a novel (at least one I'm proud of). I'm sure it involves a lot more crying.

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