June 17, 2011

How I Write

I read an interesting article on Karen McQuestion's blog about her writing process. Before commenting on her blog post, let me describe the process I'm following for the book I'm currently working on:

1. Outline the story - done
2. Determine from the outline what the chapters will be an write a synopsis of each chapter - done
3. Write a first draft - in process
4. Edit, fix, and improve
5. Repeat step 4 until satisfied
6. Done

For some (OK, for many), this sounds like overkill. In retrospect, it probably was, but that was how I thought writing was supposed to happen. After reading Karen McQuestion's blog, in which she experimented with writing quickly, I find that process to be appealing. I do it now with short stories. I don't outline or over-plan the short stories I write. Perhaps I shouldn't do so with a novel either.

I'm going to finish my first novel by following my original plan, but I'm going to try writing more quickly with my second novel. I don't think I can skip the outlining phase entirely, because I need to figure out in advance where the story should go, but I want to try letting the story lead me along more than I allow it to now. It was comforting to know that when Karen McQuestion wrote quickly without all the self-analysis, only 10% of the book needed to be re-written.That sounds like a more natural and faster way to write, and maybe the story will turn out better too.

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