Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things I've Learned About My Writing/Revising Process

I have had this blog for three years. I have had it open to anyone who happens to know how to work Google for...about a year? Year and a half? It's mostly a self-indulgent venture, sort of an electronic, multimedia, social version of my teenage journals, except it's happier, less whingey-moony-annoying and mostly about my writing.

Or just stuff I like.

Of course, my writing and especially my revision processes are still evolving and will continue to do so. But here is what I've learned about my writing process in the last three years:


Ideas:
  • The main character appears in my mind before his or her story does. 
  • I tend to overdo their back stories, leaving not so much excitement for the plot itself. I'm working on not doing that so much. 
  •  I let the character tell me what's going on. Whenever I've tried to impose a storyline first, it never works. 
  • Once I have an idea of what's going to happen in a new story, I outline it. It's a vague outline.
How I Write:
  • I do my best writing between midnight and four am, but that doesn't preclude tapping away in the middle of an afternoon or writing a message on my phone or typing while the TV is on. 
  • I write best when I am by myself. I am not a cafe writer. Just hearing noise from outside takes me out of the story and can screw with my concentration.
  • I need outside motivation to keep me going, whether it's NaNoWriMo, ScriptFrenzy, Write or Die, or the word count app on my phone, which lets me see how much or how little I'm doing day to day. In typical only child syndrome, this means that I like competing with myself the best.
  • In true NaNo fashion, I throw everything and the kitchen sink to the first draft. 
  • I really meet my characters in the first draft and I let them show and tell me about what's going on in the story within the context of the plot. 
  • I always feel like my beginnings are my strongest and it's downhill from there. 
  • I loathe it by page 100. 
  • My affection for it bounces back around page 125. 
  • If I make it to page 150, I shake my head in disgust at everything that doesn't work. 
How I Revise
  • I used to have my friends read the first draft versions of my stuff, but that ain't happening anymore. There's a reason why we're still talking to each other and it's because I don't subject them to Shitty First Draft anymore.
  • So far, a lot of thinking and turning over scenes in my mind occurs. 
  • Cutting and pasting, too. 
  • Extra research done during revision is the best because I know what I need specifically. 
  • I like seeing the revision and the first draft side by side on my screen. 
...To Be Continued

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post. It's good to see how other writers revise. I'm smack in the middle of revision hell right now. It's been going slowly. I'm learning that revising is a hundred times harder than the first draft. I also do my best writing between midnight and 4AM, lol. My poor kids have one crabby mom on their hands lately.

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  2. Thank you, Christina. I'm always interested in how other writers do things. The differing processes are so interesting. As for revision, I actually find it easier than the first draft. Maybe it's because my first drafts are such a mess that it's a relief to cut and shift and add new things that make more sense.

    I wonder what it is about midnight to 4AM. I guess we like it when no one else can bother us.

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