So... there is no winner of The Mighty Pen award this week due to lack of entries. As a result I find myself with an empty post slot. I thought I would take advantage and talk a little bit about my method of operation. (Or at least, the method I plan to use for my next WIP Three of Ivory.)
In high school I read several books on writing. I am working on compiling a list of the books that most impacted me and will post them when I have it. During this time I explored my voice and the structure of how I write. In writing Shadowed Stones I learned many different things. My writing method is a combination of everything I have learned thus far.
- The idea. I get all different kinds of ideas from all different sources. Sometimes I draw a map and then start imagining what the world is like. Some times I get an idea about an element of a society or a form of magic. But the most common ideas I get are about characters. I try to keep track of all the little snatches of ideas I get because I often pull them into my WIP or combine them to complete a full thought. Once I have an idea I mull it over in my mind to see if it is something I want to work on.
- Planning. I alternate between the two tasks below until I have enough of a foundation to start building my outline.
- The World: This includes maps, laws of magic, creatures, culture and so on. The idea is to flesh out enough of the details of the world where the story takes place so that I can fully understand the environment of the characters.
- The Story: I think of characters and how they interact and are related and how they fit into the world. This is where the first glimmers of my outline start to appear. At this point I don't keep to a chronological sequence. I just let the ideas for scenes and characters flow.
- The outline. I do a scene by scene outline. (To me a scene is a full section starting and ending with some kind of break.) I did not divide Shadowed Stones into chapters until my second draft was finished. I plan to divide Three of Ivory into chapters at the outline stage. This gives me the road map of the entire story. I like having a tight outline because it better helps me work in foreshadowing and so on.
- Write. I write from start to finish. This helps me keep the flow of the book going. When I wrote the first part of Shadowed Stones, I actually divided out the scenes for each of my view point characters and wrote them in sequence - then spliced them together. Not sure if I will do this with Three of Ivory or not. The splicing together was very difficult.
- Revise. This is the final step I take before attempting publication. And I do several revolutions of it. I always do one revision/proof read before sending to beta readers. I then revise based on the feedback I get. I have found that for me, it is difficult to put more detail in with a revision. So I try to get as much on paper to start with.
What about you? What is your method of writing?