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What’s Your Writing Process?

What process do you use on a day to day basis to determine what happens next in a novel?  What is your decision-making process for introducing new characters and how do you determine their importance?

Early on I researched how other authors went about prepping for writing a novel.  Some created elaborate outlines and spent inordinate amounts of time agonizing over every detail.  The system works, just not for me.  In the attempt to recreate the entire book in outline form, I lost contact with what I was trying to say.  Consequently, it would take me months to find I wasn’t getting any closer to the actual writing process.

I finally hit on how it functioned for my level of impatience and trust me, once you find it, stop butting heads with the inevitable . . . just write.  I started over a lot until I realized one key thing; by trying to adhere to an existing outline, letter by letter, number by number, the story got lost in the translation from my attempt to force the outline to become the book.  The story has to come from the gut, not from a preconceived notion that was designed before the writing began.  The story needs to have a mind of its own, and at times, should not be controlled.  Sometimes, you should just let the monster out of the box.

I usually dig back into my past and find that moment, everybody has them, where everything that could go wrong . . . does, and then allow the characters to go through, at least in spirit, the same level of agony, just to see where they will take it instead of me.  I discovered that if I put on my writing shoes, and then just followed my feet, the characters managed to get themselves into enough trouble to satisfy my wanderlust.  Sometimes, I don’t even know what they’re about to do, but isn’t that how life works?

The importance of characters in a story should be dealt with in primarily the same way that God deals with us down here on earth.  No one person is of greater importance than anyone else.  If we treat any single character with less importance than their counterparts, we have done them a grave injustice.  We as writers never know which character will surface again in a subsequent story.  Today’s sidekick might be tomorrow’s hero.

Do you have a certain process that inspires you to create new characters or prep for a new piece or novel you are writing?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Thanks,

Solitaire

You can purchase or preview my books at www.solitaireparke.com.

 

 

 

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What’s that clicking sound??

I was asked recently about my writing process…hmmm. First of all, I use an outline…but I’m not married to it. I find that if the outline is loose enough it stimulates the writing flow. Even though I get up every morning with the idea of getting to work, being methodical; the fact of the matter is most of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night in the form of dreams. The characters in ALL of my books are modeled after people I know. That way it’s easier for me to hear conversations that would involve them. For instance, the character Stephen Anthony from my novel “Vengeance of the Wolf” was modeled, in part, after my father. He’s intelligent, brash, aggressive, impulsive and prone to say whatever is on his mind at the time. He is the perfect characterization of the private detective. So…if I wake up at 2am with an intense idea of a conversation between characters, I’ll make a bee-line for the computer before the idea simply fades away. It was during one of those nights that I kept hearing a clicking sound. I don’t know how long it took me to realize what I was doing, but eventually it dawned on me that my forehead was on the keyboard. I had typed one letter for several pages! As a result I have developed my own curriculum; the number of hours changes daily. I do however try to keep my face off the keyboard!

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve also been known to take long sojourns around my back yard; pretending to be both characters in any given dialogue. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m nuts! It does however make them seem more realistic. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand at the end of a rainbow in Ireland? Or watching the earth light from the moon? Or at the very least, have you ever seen a martian sunset? The answers to these are probably no, because in most cases there is probably no way for you to know…But, it occurred to me to ask the characters that I’ve created; and I’ll be a son-of-a-gun, they DID!

In conclusion, let it be it known that I also work on more than one book at the same time. However I recognize that this is potentially a recipe for disaster. Take two stories, add fatigue and total darkness; paragraphs have actually made it from book one to book two! I’m glad it doesn’t happen very often because whatever it is that flows is where my computer goes.

Oh! One more thing…

Call me paranoid, but part of my routine everyday involves saving the document I am working on in two completely different folders on two completely different hard drives. This ensures that should one of my hard drives crash, I have a backup. This actually happened to me while writing my very first book. I come by my paranoia honestly.  🙂

Can’t see the forest through all the DARN trees!

Somewhere in the writing process I realized I wasn’t capable of doing it all. Shocker I know! I wrote the book…I’m finished right? I don’t need to edit; who needs it proofread, didn’t I just do that?! If I talk with perfect diction, doesn’t it stand to reason that I would type that way as well? REALITY CHECK!! With so many thoughts, character traits, and dialogue all floating through my head at the same time…not likely! In my case, that averages out to about one mistake every six words! Then one day the book is finished and I’m ready to sprint for the finish line! Time to upload and experience one million downloads every thirty minutes!! Yeah I know…I’m delusional! But it’s a nice thought, right? The reality is the actual writing of the book turns out to be the smallest part of the total process (for me the most fun).

I needed to take my hands out of the cookie jar, stop micro-managing and recruit some help. This was also the point where as a graphic artist I had to ask myself, should I go with my own thoughts where the book cover is concerned or is it time to go for new blood? I mean seriously?? How come I can’t see the forest? AHA! It’s because there are too many darn trees in the way!! So I relinquished control. I’m quite proud to say that my daughter just happens to be not only a premier graphic artist but also on my staff. (She will be implementing the first of her cover designs on my soon to be released action/sci-fi novel “Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of OZ”.) The two editors that I now depend on daily rip and snort their way from page one to page last fixing me and making sure I don’t publicly humiliate myself. Now I know what you’re thinking…how does a new author afford all of this?! I call them family. When it’s time for the proofreading, I lean on my friends. This all accomplishes the same things that the big name writers enjoy every day. So far everyone humors me and I am indebted to them forever!

The point to my ramble is this; no author is an island, not even one with my first name. It takes oodles and oodles of SUPPORT and the invaluable information and advice given freely from other authors and experienced professionals. Many thanks to everyone!!

For tons of useful information, be sure to visit:

Joel Friedlander – The Book Designer and follow on Twitter @jfbookman

Joanna Penn – The Creative Penn and follow on Twitter @thecreativepenn

Molly Greene – Writer and follow on Twitter @mollygreene

Melissa Foster – Founder of World Literary Café and follow on Twitter @Melissa_Foster

World Literary Café – Where Readers & Authors Unite and follow on Twitter @WorldLitCafe

Daily (w)rite

Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

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