How do you write?

Do you think in terms of theme, narrative arcs, rising tension and inciting incidents?

Or do you just say the hell with all that and just write?

I am the latter.

I've never taken writing courses. Well, I did take a class at a local Chicago workshop that was a little helpful. So what I know about writing I've learned from reading and using words every day as an ad writer.

But I've read a whole lotta books.

Now that I
think my novel is finally done. (Ha Ha. I am sure my crit group will tell me if I am done or not.) I am looking at the book and wondering if all the parts are there. I know that sounds strange.

Ok, yes, I do have an inciting incident; there is a theme, as far as I can tell, not that I set out to
have a theme; my character changes, which I've heard is the thing that really counts (although I can think of plenty of books where that change is small or subtle, and not huge); and, of course, I have a conclusion.

I'll let my crit mates be the judges.

What is your process?


Steve Brezenoff said...

I typically just sort of start, usually with one main voice, until a couple of characters are well developed. From there, I imagine as many scenes between these characters as I can, and write those. At some point during this process, a theme presents itself. Once that happens, I can usually (but not always) develop a plot around what I've already done. Then, I just have to create some more scenes to fill in the gaps, and usually delete several I like that have taken me way off course. Tada!

Big Plain V said...

I am the former. I'm sure I've told you before, but I'm a total outline nerd. I want my writers to always wonder what's going on, and then be surprised and gratified when it all comes together. The best way to do that is to plan. Meticulously.

Elise Murphy said...

The first novel I ever attempted, but never finished, I wrote by the seat of my pants.

Ultimately, outlining and planning make for a more coherent piece for me now.

Knowing my arc, my basic plot devices and character development early on often means less rewriting.

I think there's a balance there somewhere between holding onto the spontinaiety of the work which gives it freshness and really having a good sense of where you're story in going and how you're going to get there.

Those two things are usually my biggest battle.

Prince Balthazar said...

Thanks for coming by, Steve. I have to say I really can relate to your method which is very similar to mine. Kind of...all over the place and see what sticks!

V, I think my next project will start with an idea and outline from there. On my current book, I didn't do an outline until I was halfway through it. I can see how it makes sense now.

Elise, I can definitely see how planning now makes for a better road map. The problems I was up against in Glimmerlings probably could have been avoided with proper outlining and planning.

K. M. Walton said...


Well, as far as how I write. Idea first and then I just go. I've written three books that way and I don't think I'd change. I get a complete rush at how scenes evolve as I type and characters drag the story to a place I never, ever thought of. It's a wild ride.

Kiki Hamilton said...

OMG - you mean we're supposed to have a plan? A theme? Rats. And I thought I was good with a beginning, a middle and an end!

The whole outline thing never works for me, but man, would this gig be easier if it did. Can you tell I'm a 'hell with it, let's see what happens' kind of gal? :)

Tabitha said...

I'm a plot person. Always have been. So, most of the time I get an idea where something happens, then I build the world and characters around it. Though my current WIP is different - I got a vision of the bad guy (a really scary bad guy), and am trying to figure out how to build the world and characters around him. It's been difficult trying to create a good main character that will balance out the insane scariness of the bad guy. :)

Thanks for the recommendation on the book. I need to research more scary books, because I think that's what my WIP is turning in to. :)

beth said...

I typically just go--write and write and write and see what happens. When I get to the crit stage, then I start thinking about rising action and climax and plot holes, etc.