As we all (hopefully) know, today is the What’s Your Process Blogfest! over at Shallee’s blog Life, the Universe, and Writing. If you just found out, I’m sure it’s not too late to sign up and share your process.
Shallee mentioned some fancy ways to use Word (which probably aren’t really that fancy, but I still hadn’t heard about them until today. Useful stuff!) I’ve only written one first draft so I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ll still let you know how I went about it.
Firstly, I thought I would be a pantser, but it turned out I’m a plotter. A relatively detailed plotter. Either that, or maybe it’s the fact that I write so much slower than I plot that by the third chapter I had a detailed plot. Which worked for me, because something about not knowing how the novel would end, or what will happen next, or if it will all turn out okay made me really anxious and paralyzed my writing, so I had to figure it out before I could go on.
Abby Annis wrote a post about using post-its to help plan your chapters so I started out doing that, but the sticky notes kept falling off my dresser, and I moved onto fancier technology—PowerPoint. Very handy. I recommend it. You can move your slides around, and add new ones wherever you need them, and they don’t get lost under your dresser.
So after I transferred my sticky notes to PowerPoint slides, I arranged them around to my satisfaction. Each slide was a scene, and I moved them around till I got chapters. I found it really helpful to be able to see all the slides in front of me so I could “read” though my novel in a few minutes and check for pacing, and whether I’m missing something, and make sure there’s enough variety between the types of scenes (not too many action scenes right beside each other because they desensitize the reader, and not too many non-action scenes because they lead to snoozing).
As for how I actually write, I usually don’t write linearly because it becomes tedious for me. But I do write semi-linearly, as in I write up to a point, skip forward to write one or two scenes, and then come back to that first point, and continue. Writing a scene towards the end of the novel sometimes helps with fleshing scenes that happen earlier, especially if you need to add detail or foreshadowing to those earlier scenes. (If you already know what the later scenes sound like, it’s easy to slip in a few things here and there when you go back to write the earlier scenes.)
And that’s how I wrote my first draft. It’s at about 95,000 words right now, and I’m revising it, and trying not to freak out because it feels like it’s going to be just as difficult as writing it from scratch.
How about you? Is your process similar? Any revision tips are greatly appreciated : ) I look forward to reading everybody else’s entries!