This week, I read with great amusement about my friend Sofie Bird’s writing process. She had me chuckling, but she also got me reflecting on my “pantser” ways.
I don’t know how other “by the seat of the pants” writers do it, but my process is really; write, keep writing, get feedback, then fix. (It sounds so easy when you put it like that!)
Because I write every day, many pieces begin with me sitting down and just starting to write – no prior warning. Other ideas like “the ruthless mung bean” pop into my head at random moments.
With my “flowed from the pen” ideas, I generally keep going until I know the idea has legs. And for the record, the choice of pen or computer is purely driven by where I am (e.g. train=pen). In fact, that partly drives how the “mung bean” ideas get written too… if I’m, for instance, in the shower, then they get “written” in my head.
Now, a lot of ideas never get beyond a paragraph or five (or washing my hair). I continue with the ones where a rough plot and likely ending form blurrily in the back of my head during the course of writing that first few hundred words.
Then… I keep writing to The End. Novels do usually run out of steam at about 20K, so then I try to ask “what happens next?” and just write that (rinse and repeat). Sometimes I have to back-track and take a different path toward the “likely ending”, but I keep at it until there’s a draft zero. Mind you, because I’m a multi-project writer, that can take, well, years!
Then there’s the edit to tidy up, so I can get feedback. After which I “improve” from the feedback and my own maturing goals for the story, redrafting to whatever extent it needs. Then I get fresh feedback and finally edit to fix things that aren’t working.
So simple, isn’t it? Yeah, right. That’s why I have something like ten short stories and seven novels at various stages of the process right now, because it’s so simple! So easy!
And if you’re wondering what the writing daemon’s part in all this is… well, he’s there to mutter ideas in my ear and wing-slap me up the side of the head when I threaten to get distracted by shiny objects.