My 5 Principles of Writing!!!!!

So the other day I was asked a simple question. What is my writing process…? In all honesty I was a bit taken back by the question. I mean I’ve only published the one short story and my first novel is collecting dust in the bottom of some dark desk drawer. My current work on the other hand is going quite well and I’m enjoying the story thus far. But still, the question seemed odd simply because I have never really given it much thought until now. So I pulled out a pen and paper and thought of what I do… These aren’t tips, they’re just principles I try to adhere to when writing…

1.       Plan-

That’s the first thing I do, no matter what is I plan out what I’m going to write. There are some writers; like John Grisham; who create a detail chapter by chapter outline. Shoot me in the head now, that’s not me… I would rather have my teeth drilled then to create a chapter by chapter outline… But I still do plan something out. I use a 7 point plotting system that was created by Dan Wells. It has always seemed to work for me and I highly recommend it… I’ll provide a link below.

I think planning is essential. There are some like Stephen King and Dean Koontz who have a certain level of creativity that many of us have yet to tap into. Those gentlemen can simply create a premise and then sit and write page by page… That doesn’t work for me, and if you are a new writer it probably won’t work for you… Maybe it does and my muse here is pointless but all the same I plan and plan well. Do I stray from my one page outline, you bet…. But I still plan.

Dan Wells on story Structure-

2.       Write-

Seems kind of like a duh answer doesn’t it… I make it a habit to write something everyday… Doesn’t matter if it is 250 words or 2,000 words… Each day I just keep trying to build and build until I hit the end… Also, another important point I want to make here… Writing doesn’t mean revising… There are some that revise as they go… Dean Koontz says he writes one page at a time and he doesn’t move on to the next page until that page is done… There is some times where he says he has done 30 or 40 drafts of a page before moving on… Hats off to Koontz, he is successful for a reason and I’m sure there is a lesson to be learned there…. But I would go mad spending one full day on just one page…. It may work for you to revise as you go but I think the revision process should be separate… Hey, maybe I’m wrong… I mean I’ve yet to publish a full length novel and top the NY Times… But I write, and I don’t look back…

3.      Finish

Believe it or not this was always my biggest challenge… I have probably over the past seven years started thirty novels. The problem was none of them made it past chapter 2 or 3… A better idea would always come along or, I would listen to that little demon on the side of my shoulder whispering in my ear saying “That bites…” Well I eventually stopped listening to the demon and I finished something… Of course in the end it did suck, but I finished and that was enough to tell me I could do this… I stopped writing towards what I felt the market wanted to hear, stopped worrying about grammar, prepositions, and comma splices (whatever those are) and just wrote in defiance of all the rules… I wanted to tell a story and decided finishing a story was far more important than the doubt that would creep into my mind… Finishing the first draft is always the first step towards publication…

4.       Step Away-

Every time I would listen to an author give advice I would always hear them say this… I couldn’t understand why… When I finished something I wanted to start revising / re-writing right then and there… But I finally listened to this advice… I stepped away from the manuscript for about three weeks… Didn’t look at it, didn’t think about it… I actually took this time and started planning the next story… When I came back to it, I saw it from a fresh perspective… Take the time when you are done to simply walk away and give it time before coming back…

5.       Re-Write-

I re-write it paragraph by paragraph… The process is much quicker and easier however because let’s face it, the foundation is already there… But I focus on plot lines that need fixed and even grammar, punctuation, etc. during this process… Some like to split these up, fix plot line and then come back and focus on grammar, I tend to like to keep them together and knock them both out at once… In the end this is where you take that glob of clay and refine it to look like a bowl… It’s my favorite part of the process… I’m seeing the story take shape and become more like a novel, something someone would actually want to read…

Now these are nothing more than simply principles I try to adhere to… It’s not the way it has to be done… As writers if there is anything we have learned it’s that every writer is different. This is simply the process that works for me… I would love to hear about how others go about it… I have always found the different writing techniques from one writer to another very fascinating… Anyway, thanks for stopping by and happy Hump day… We’re half way through the week!!!!!

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