Do you have a system when you write?
Now, I’m not talking about the editing process. I’m referring to the putting words on paper process. The actual act of writing a novel.
I believed I was a total free-flying writer. I learned I was wrong.
My first novel was written from my heart, as I’ve said before. I didn’t completely pants it; I knew who my bad guy was, and why he acted the way he did. Yeah, there were twists and turns I didn’t expect, but overall, I knew where my beginning was and where the novel would end before I put my fingers to the keyboard.
The second novel was based on the Robin Hood legend, so my outline was set. Which was really good, considering I wrote it during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was amazed at myself when I actually won it. That was in 2008, and I’ve been editing it ever since.
Then an idea came to my husband for a series. Which means, of course, that it falls on me to write it 🙂 Which is fine. I didn’t have a template when NaNoWriMo came around. I thought everything would flow, just like it did with the previous year’s NaNo. Ummm… no. I lost focus. I didn’t know what the hell my characters were doing. They didn’t know what the hell they were doing. It was an ungodly mess. I muddled through it, but I found myself jumping from scene to scene, getting lost in finding the perfect Elven names, creating a possible love interest… and I found the inner core of my manuscript completely lost in the process.
I’m not one of those writers who needs a complete chapter by chapter outline. But I need something. I need to know roughly who my characters are, what they want, and where it’s going to end. If it changes between first draft and last, that’s fine. That’s what editing is for: to strengthen your work and make it blaze its own trail through the minds of your readers.
I don’t need to read endless blogs or books about writing. I won’t say they’re not necessary for other writers, but, quite frankly, they bore me. I’ll open them, take my kernels of wisdom where I find them, then put the book down and go back to my first love… the writing of words.