Friday, March 21, 2008

Finding Your Process

Learning how I will put a book together is one of life's great mysteries.

I'm trusting it's one with a resolution.

The first two books I attempted to write were SOTP (Seat Of The Pants). I had a couple of ideas, but pretty much just sat my butt in the chair and typed. One has morphed into what I'm working on now, and the other I might pull out one day and take another stab at finishing. (My husband liked it and he's pretty miserly with high-praise.) But the lack of any kind of a road map left me freaked. I knew I'd be driving in wilderness without direction or pace. SOTP writing, when I got serious about finding My Process, wasn't gonna work.

I checked into the fine art of detailed outlining—if you're interested, check out the Snowflake Method—developed by Randy Ingermanson. Although a couple of the concepts intrigued me, I pretty much knew that was not going to be My Process either.

Over time, through trial and horrible error, I'm figuring out what works for me regarding the basic outline vs. pants question. It's a weird morph. It took me a while, and a little (no that's a lie—a LOT) of self-education, but that part of My Process, I'm putting into place. (I say "figuring out" because my next book might evolve the process even further. Writing, and how I make my little etchings, is fluid—not carved in stone).

But my plotting process, at least for now, is solved.

However, it doesn't stop there for me. Not by a long shot.

How do you handle re-writes? Or do you write such a clean first draft re-writes are unnecessary?

What do you do when your re-write (I'm assuming you're like me and less than perfect in your initial first draft) hints at altering things a bit?

How do you keep track of sub-plots? What about those little bits and pieces that deserve at least passing attention later on?

These are things I'm still feeling my way through. Today, I had moments of aha giggles followed by twisted consternation. Deleted scenes and one or two that sang.

It's a process. I love advice. Advice is pretty much what's gotten me as far as I am. But in the end, it's up to each one of us to figure out what works.

But through it all,

it's better with friends.


  1. The process. Boy, that stumps me too. The book that got published was planned. I took 12 sheets of paper and proceeded to jot down ideas for each chapter. That book morphed into a number of things before it finally became a Silhouette Romance. I've written two SOTP books--they're both a big mess. Rewriting seems like a chore. My agent has a book I 'constructed' with an outline. So, I have to say, I do so much better when I have an outline.

    Now... I've stared at that picture you have posted for 10 minutes and finally figured out--it's a fox jumping into a hole? At first I thought it was some hairy bird looking across the snow but realized I had the wrong end in the wrong place.

    Yep, that's about how I do my books too. LOL

    I always enjoy your posts and your pictures. :-)

  2. LOL, Jess. I think we must write an awful lot alike.

    Yep, it's a fox. Figuring out his own process. Man, can I identify with him.