My writing process

To go from ideas to book is a long (for me) process. I think most writers have their own unique process. So what I’ll describe is mine. Find your own.

I can’t imagine going from beginning to end in a month. I bounce back and forth between disliking the idea behind the writing in a month concept and being in awe. I do know it’s not for me.

Prewrite I start with germs. Several germs of ideas. However, they often come from a single moment. Ghost Girl happened when I was living in a lovely house next to a stream. The house next door was home to a mother and her two sons. The school was just beyond the property. My office was on the second floor, looking over the yard, toward the road which led to the school. One day, I saw one of the boys walking home and he fell and popped back up. Kids that age do that a lot – not quite sure where their body is, so the flail around a bit. But that one image of that kid was the seed that started the story. Why? Dunno.

Over time, little bits of ideas crop up. Just moments. I write them down. These are rarely more than a part of a page. They are different points of the story. This time of cooking and getting little bits is usually long. It has taken years. It has taken months. It has never been weeks.

At some point, I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen in the story. I usually know the end.

Then I try to find a beginning. That’s a challenge. It often takes a few shots. I have a couple of books that are stuck at the beginning.

Now, some writers are big on making a careful outline. They know what is going to happen and what leads to what. I admire this, but can’t do it.

I have a general idea, but I focus on who the characters are. Then I put them in a situation. Then, as I write, there is a magic moment where they start to tell the story. If I have the story completely planned out, that doesn’t happen. And I love it when they start to tell the story. I wouldn’t give it up.

But I have jumped from prewrite – where I 1) gather moments of the plot and 2) get to know the characters. Once I have those, there comes a time when it’s time to write.

I’ll write about writing tomorrow.

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