Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Writing

Several people have been blogging recently about their own personal writing process. As I am just beginning a new project, I thought I'd do a little self-analysis.

  • STAGE ONE: Idea. Somewhere, I get an idea. Sometimes it's an image, like a scene from a movie in my mind. Sometimes it's just a really cool bit of dialog. Or, I'll watch TV or listen to the radio and hear a story--fiction or news--and think "what if...?" and add a different twist to it. Either way, the idea is planted.
  • STAGE TWO: Fermenting the Idea. I get lots of these ideas. I've been known to have character dialog re-enactments in my car on my way to work. Often, as soon as I've thought of the idea, it's gone. I don't think about it again. But sometimes, it doesn't go. I'll find myself re-thinking of the character or scene or what-if plot, and in my head I start fitting the pieces together, like a detective on CSI.
  • STAGE THREE: Casual Notes. I write out the scene that gave me the original idea. I might go on Wikipedia and look up some detail. If there's a show on TV about the idea's subject, I watch it. I'm not doing anything serious, just surrounding myself with the idea.
  • STAGE FOUR: Chapter One. I write a full scene, sometimes Chapters One and Two. Often, this is just a page or two--but never more than 10 or 15. I sit back. I tell myself that I am brilliant. This is the best writing I've ever done, and I will become more famous and well loved that JK Rowling and Stephenie Myers combined.
  • STAGE FIVE: Abandonment. I completely drop the project. Sometimes for months. Sometimes, I never go back to it.
  • STAGE SIX: Panic. Eventually, I get to the point where I realize that I don't have any more ideas. I want to write, but what to write? Then I remember that story I abandoned...
  • STAGE SEVEN: Frustration. It's been months in returning to the original story idea. Things have changed. It's not as good. The magic isn't there. This stage lasts for up to several weeks. I cuss at the computer. I spend more time on blogs. I clean the house a lot.
  • STAGE EIGHT: Recognition of my Brilliance. Something happens--an idea, a suggestion from a crit reader, something...and I've got the story again. I hold tight. I usually write in flurries here, and usually get at least to the first fifty pages. I re-read these pages often, remarking to myself upon my own brilliance. I make the husband take me out to dinner. I am often giddy. House cleaning happens not at all.
  • STAGE NINE: Distraction. By this point, I've got a clear idea of the story...and I'm starting to get a bit bored with it. Oh, look, something shiny! *dashes off in distraction*
Hmmm...that's about where I am now. I've hit page fifty, and the giddiness is starting to fade...wonder what stage will happen next?!

So, how about you? What's your writing process like?

9 comments:

Jen said...

Oh no! Distraction! We must find all of those shiny things and hide them!

Usually I hunt down ideas, bash them over the head, and drag them back to my lair/office. Then I'll obsess over them and take many many many many notes. Then, about a month later, I'll start writing. And not stop, even if I get a little distracted. I've got no clue where I get this discipline from, but it sure comes in handy when those shiny things come along.

Rena said...

That's a neat way to analyze your writing. I'm not even that organized. I'm currently waiting for an idea to hit me, but I'm wondering if I'd be better off slamming my head into the wall a few times. In the meantime, I guess I'll go back and look over the things I've already written and see how I can improve them. At least until that new idea hits me from out of the blue ...

Lady Glamis said...

That is an interesting process there! My favorite is the Panic stage. hehehe. That one's no fun.

You've already read my process. Layers. :)

Marcia said...

I can really relate to steps 7, 8, and 9!

Crimogenic said...

We are all those various distractions. I tend to put them out of the way and in the process find new distractions, shame on me.

Interesting to hear about your 'way' of writing. :)

Liz said...

This is hilarious! Stage four is my favorite and I must admit to these same feelings from time to time. Of course then comes Stage 5, 6, and 7. In fact I think I'm in 7 right now...

PJ Hoover said...

How fun to list it out! I'll definitely have to do this. Maybe it will make me feel better during the various stages.

beth said...

Jen: Haha, what a great analogy!

Rena: When I'm waiting for an idea, I usually immerse myself in reading and movie watching. Those really get the "what if" questions rolling for me.

Glam: Your layers really make me want cake!!!

Marcia: Those steps do seem to repeat themselves often for me....

Crimey: Ha! I will always find new distractions! I don't even bother trying to avoid them; I just guilt myself into not indluging too much.

Liz: Those are my favorite (and most often repeated) steps!

PJ: You should! I'd love to know your writing process!

Tabitha said...

Great post! I think I'll have to do this on my blog. If I laid out my writing process here, I'd take up all the comment space. :)