Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you guys to Vannetta Chapman. All year long, I'm asking successful authors like Vannetta to share with us about their writing process. I found Vannetta's fascinating, and I think you guys will too.
My process for writing might sound a bit odd, so remember--WRITING IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. The best thing you can do is write a lot, find what works for you, and don't be afraid to constantly change your process.
As I'm finishing my CURRENT work, I'm thinking about my NEXT work. You know, songs on the radio, things I read in the news, other books I read, dreams, different things spur our ideas. Whatever it is, I write it down. Ideas will slip away. I don't want to lose them. I keep notes in my writing journal.
By the time I'm ready to start, I've narrowed my ideas down to the one I like most. If there are several ideas I like, I'll go with the strongest for my beginning and work the others into the story line. Then I start writing. I plop my character into the middle of an uncomfortable, untenable situation.
I write every day. I have a deadline and I set a schedule for so many pages to complete a day. Even when I didn't have a deadline, I set goals for myself, even if it was only 3 pages a day. I don't edit pages the same day I write them.
The next day I look back over the pages I wrote the day before. This drops me back into the story. I might change a few words, adjust the scene a little, then I write 3 new pages. There's my schedule -- edit 3, write 3.
At some point, my characters become lost, wandering around, confused, dazed even. I LOVE this point. This is where I zoom ahead and write my ending. Imagine you walked out of the room during a movie, and you came back in and saw the ending--the PERFECT ending. Sometimes this will be one chapter. Other times it will be a quarter of the book.
Now I go back to where I stopped and I write TOWARD the ending. Crazy, right? But it's worked every time, because I know where I'm going now. I have a destination in mind.
Once I'm finished I usually take a break of a week or so. Then I start at the beginning and read through it -- checking for inconsistencies and errors.
Last step and maybe the hardest is handing my baby to my pre-readers. These are friends that I TRUST to tell me the truth. I don't want to hear "what a great story." I want to hear what was good and what was confusing. Sometimes these friends are writers, but not always. They are always people who love to read.
That's it! That's my process. Although I teach English composition at my local college, I don't formally outline my books. Isn't that funny? But creative writing is a bit different than academic writing. It doesn't mean you can be sloppy, but it does mean you can listen to your "muse." In fact, I'd say that's a critical part of the process. Good luck! I know you can find the process that works for you.
A Simple Amish Christmas, a CBD bestseller
Falling to Pieces--A Quilt Shop Murder, 2011
The Plain School at Pebble Creek, 2012