Box of Chocolates

Writing Process

You came back! That’s great because I’ve got a special chocolate for you today!

     If you are on this website you are probably in someway interested in the arts or writing and reading. This may be presumptuous but I have a feeling I’m on the right track. Today I have for you some insight into my personal writing process, which may suck, but hey, it works for me and it may work for you too!

FOR FICTION

     Basically I have a variety of ideas floating around in my skull. I start by jotting down the concept, the main character(s) I foresee this story following and surrounding, as well as the basic character and story arcs I plan on using. Now, the key words here are foresee and plan – this does not mean that I will necessarily stick to these ideas, but it gives me a starting point.

     Then I put pen to paper – metaphorically. I personally prefer typing because I am someone who is constantly changing words and committing rewrites, which tends to end up looking extremely messy on paper. Believe me, you would not want to see one of my hand-written rough drafts. It looks like a hodge-podge of hieroglyphs, foot-ball plays and mathematical equations.

     However I digress, so I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, whatever works. I honestly almost always have a slow start. At this point I know where I want my characters and story to go, but setting the scene, and figuring out the build is one my biggest struggles. At this point I focus on putting down basic details.

     I’ll give basic character backgrounds and their physical descriptions. I focus on building the character relationships. Perhaps character relationships are not a huge part of your writing process and that is fine! But for me I’m all about the emotion, the connections and the power these elements can give to a story. So that is where I start.

     After a gruelingly slow start I finally start to find my stride. Finishing chapters in what feels like the blink of an eye. At this point I am still fairly focused on the build and arcs of relationships and characters. I focus on dialogue, thoughts, and emotions, moving the story swiftly along.

     I continue on like this for the rest of the novel. Writing down all of the – to me – most important content. If I become trapped with a case of ever annoying writers block I listen to music, read or binge watch a television show. I like to describe my writing as equal parts passion, imagination and emotion. Sometimes I will know where I want my story to go but I feel like I am forcing the emotion or passion into a scene. When this happens I listen to music, I try to find songs that evoke particular emotions in me. By doing this I can channel the emotional headspace necessary to write the scene. If I am struggling with a more creative or imaginative blockage I will read a book or watch a favored television show. I find that this helps my creative juices start flowing again. I might imagine how I may have written a scene differently, or I realize I don’t like how a certain scene ends, or I love the idea of a certain character arc but with a different twist and etcetera.

     Now once I have the bones of the story down, the emotion, arcs, relationships and overall plot scheme, I go back and revise. I edit the scenes, add or remove dialogue. I refine setting setups and descriptions. I review my scene transitions and reread the entire story to make sure that it is cohesive, that it isn’t choppy and that the relationships seem real.

     Again, this is my process, my process may be the exact opposite of yours. But if you are struggling with your process perhaps this will help.

FOR POETRY

    My process for writing poetry is quite different than my process for fiction.

     I usually start with a specific topic, subject or emotion. For instance I have written poems about aging, anger, anxiety disorder, the color purple, the idea of tolerance. Once I have the focus in mind I just start writing the thoughts and emotions that topic evokes. I pour these things onto the page and eventually there is some sort of a basis of the poem there. By the time I am done writing the poem I will probably have rewritten it a few dozen times.

     I’ll add a line here, delete a line there, change a word here and there. Go off on a tangent once or twice, then decide if the tangent is cohesive with the poem or not. For me, writing poetry is cathartic, it is not necessarily something I do often but when the mood strikes me it it’s consuming. It is a simple thought or emotion that takes hold and won’t be denied its debut on paper.

     Well I hope you have enjoyed todays daily chocolate! Check back soon for another daily chocolate!