Monday, April 27, 2015

Finding the way YOU write a novel

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Birch House Press). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.


Surely there's a perfect novel writing system out there. 

I thought that for years. That one of the many craft books I bought, or one of the many blogs I read would teach me The Perfect System. The one with the worksheets that had all the right questions, that made my story unfold in a logical and deep way, and that made edits a breeze.

I no longer look for The Perfect System because I no longer believe one exists.

I now believe that I will forever be fine-tuning how I write novels, and that continuing to try new approaches and techniques helps keep me strong and fresh. I also believe that writing a story is inevitably messy, and I might as well get use to it.

I wrote the first "How To Write A Novel" series back in 2011, and I've learned a lot in the last four years. Some posts in that series still feel solid to me. Others make me cringe. For a while now I've been mentally kicking around the idea of redoing the whole thing, and it feels like the right time.

But don't think for a second that I'm offering you The Perfect System.

Writing novels is like climbing treesthere isn't just one way up. I'm not offering you a checklist or steps, because a technique that works best for me after the first draft might be something that you like to do before you ever put pen to paper. An exercise that helps me understand my characters may do absolutely nothing for you.

Rather, my intention is to offer you what consistently works for me in the order that I typically do it. In doing so, I hope you'll come to better understand the way you write. I also hope you might learn ways to deepen pieces of your personal process, and that you'll walk away with some new ideas to incorporate in your own writing routines.

To help me with my planning (and because this a topic I'm obsessed with) I would love to know a bit about your writing process. Do you feel like you have a good idea of how you write best? Do you like to plan everything out or discover the story as you write? What craft books, classes, podcasts, or blogs have influenced how you write? 






73 comments:

  1. I'm a plotster, so I go into writing with a good idea of what's going to happen, what the characters' goals are, etc. I find I write best that way. I like to get the first draft down, but occasionally I'll go back and edit a scene if it's really bothering me. This system has always worked well for me. :) Thank you for the post, Mrs. Morrill!

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    1. I love that you've figured out what works best for you, Linea!

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  2. Thanks for the post! I can't wait for the series! For me, I'm a bit of a plantser. I start with my concept, brainstorm general plot directions, then set out to develop my setting. For me, setting is super important as if influences my characters and plot a lot. Sometimes I start plotting, but most of time, I just go straight into it. Then, a few chapters in, I see what hidden plots I've started weaving in and plot the main climaxes from that. It's a bit complicated, but it works great for me! :)

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    1. Very interesting, Melissa! What genre do you write?

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    2. Mostly fantasy, but I do write a little of dystopian and sci-fi every now and then. :)

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  3. I'm a pantster through and through. I just start with a concept I like and a character who has a story to tell. I've found that when I try to plan, the story just takes another direction. So I find the character's voice, usually first person, and play around with ways to start. Once I have that, I just keep going as far as I can. If I'm blocked, it usually means that my characters and plot just aren't agreeing, so I go back and edit. Once I have a few chapters, I know what I'm working with and I can get a general idea of where it's going. I also time jump constantly. My WIP has a chapter one, half of chapter two, a bunch of other scattered scenes that make up most of part one, some scenes near the clumax, plus a scene I plan to use as the ending. I will never keep writing an idea that I'm losing interest in, but if a scrapped idea has characters or plot twists I like, I carry them over into another story. The current one has at least three repurposed names, three or four reused characters, and a couple other things from a previous work.

    Could you do a post on how to work in clues and foreshadowing without being too obvious? I have been struggling with this lately, and I am trying to tie in a couple of mysteries about characters' identities and the reason behind my main character's abilities without using the Disney style neon signs pointing at every little thing....

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    1. Thank you for sharing what works for you! I once write in a very similar way.

      And, yes. I'll peek through our archives and see if we already have one. If not, I'll write one.

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    2. Thank you so much! Really looking forward to the series!

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  4. Currently I'm reading Stephen King's 'On' Writing' and I've learned so much. Not just about writing, but about English and grammar. More than I ever retained from Junior High and High School XDD

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    1. Loooove that book. I just got the audio book because Stephen King is the reader. I'm excited!

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  5. I'm a planster. I know that makes absolutely no sense, but it's true. I usually get an idea for a book and start writing it right away, because I want to get my ideas down. After around chapter two I usually start thinking ahead a little, and writing down a basic plot in a notebook. However I also invariably change the plot as I go, and let better ideas slaughter the lesser ones. (I call it the idea hierarchy)

    Hope that helps!

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    1. Idea hierarchy is a perfect name for that system...I do something very similar with my plot, except I can't think ahead beyond the next chapter, so it kind of works in reverse order for me, where I write ideas and then find better ones taking over a few pages later.

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  6. Oh dear. If somebody read my book in its current condition, I'm sure they would get whiplash. Because I do not have an organized way of writing at all. :P

    I pretty much just slap down on that keyboard whatever's in my head at the moment so I can get the concept down and have it there later to work on more deeply. I do write down my plans and ideas, usually in a notebook, and sometimes I have certain parts all planned out, but I write scenes out of order like crazy. If I run into a roadblock with one part of the story, I look for another part I can write, and somehow I get somewhere that way. My story currently has a beginning, an end, (because I actually have finished the whole thing before, but I was really young and it was cringeworthy) and a choppy middle. Gaps everywhere, red text telling me what to write in this part and asking questions that need answers before continuing with that part. It's a MESS. But it's a beautiful mess. It's my mess. :)

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    1. And if that works for you, then carry on!

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  7. I plot things out first, because trying to pants the whole thing makes my brain shut down. I can start with a what if question, a strong character/cast, or a single scene that really has the idea popping. Next I write a few different scenes to see how the idea continues to grow or falter. Then I can apply either a key scenes checklist or three act structure--those work the best for me, but it depends on the idea. I've tried other methods by a hybrid of the two seems to be the most effective. I always make sure before writing that I know where I'm going. Then I can let things unfold logically (I can't leave gaps in my first draft, I would much rather cut words later on that don't make sense) between point to point. Three act structure really has helped me in that I can work from basic sentences to scene lists.

    I love finding out how other people write! I try different techniques for short stories to see what happens.

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    1. Key scenes lists work really well for me too. I'm definitely a hybrid writer.

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  8. I am a plantser, and I love to just write the story as it comes. I feel as if it is more of my character's story than mine. Plus, for me it is more relaxing, not to have to worry about whether or not you are following the plot that you spent so much time writing and brainstorming earlier.

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    1. Agreed. I love that about discovery writing. It really develops the character and plot in an organic way.

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  9. I usually make a chart of what I know is going to happen, what could happen, and what will happen at the end and why. It help get things sorted out. I also do interviews with each of my characters, asking them what they think of another character and how they view the world. If what they say is any good, I'll add it in. Of course there is that sloshy part where everything seems to be swimming around in muck. I have the overall idea. But I save that part for editing. When I'm done writing, I make a chart of everything that happened and then put stars by the things that are confusing. Everything else seems to fall into place.

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    1. Ooh, I like the interview idea! One of my characters' biggest obstacles is learning to love and appreciate each other, even the ones who can't stand one another, so it would be interesting to "ask" the characters what they think of each other at the beginning and end of the story.

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    2. Yeah! And if you ask them at the beginning, you can see how they change compared to their opinions at the end. See how they've changed!

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    3. Very cool, Emma! Glad you've found something that works so well for you.

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    4. Hmmm...the interview thing sounds cool. I'll have to give that a try! My MC doesn't trust easily....neither do some of the others for that matter, so I think opinions will change a lot throughout the story.

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  10. I actually just finished my novella for camp....with about 31k I'm pretty excited for my first time. :D I really can't believe I finished it though..It's kind of bittersweet. ;)

    I find that I write best if I have good lighting and a comfy place to sit and some music with no words, (otherwise I'll sing along. :P ) I usually have a notebook just for plots and another for scenes that I write ahead, which seems to work really well for me. I really don't plan a whole lot, I just know what I want to happen, what the problem is and the solution and I have lots of ideas to keep it going. :) I've found that if I plan it all ahead, writing is no fun..so I think I've found my technique. I think it's nice to have people out in the writing world share their techniques with others, so they can help find their own techniques. I've read tons of writing books and blogs, and I've finally found my own way to write, which POV to choose, my style, ect. Of course, learning to write never ends, that's why it's exciting. :) Somehow, everything worked out for me. lol.

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    1. I laughed when I saw your comment about music! I really like listening to music when I'm writing but recently, I've found it's just too distracting because I start singing with it.

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    2. lol! I always to it! So I download music I can use, Celtic, classical, dramatic, ect. :) It's really nice having different kinds of music for different scenes. :D

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    3. I love that you've been able to figure out what works best for you, Sarah. And congratulations on finishing! I know what you mean about the end feeling bittersweet.

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  11. Completely agree! There isn't a formula or set of rules to follow. There is writing advice, but no writing rules. Writing is all about figuring out your own rules.

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    1. Even from story to story, what works for me really varies.

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  12. My latest method is to create a separate document where I write all the plot points I know are going to happen and a few scene references that I want to happen. None of it is too detailed (Jane goes to the store, runs into Billy, her high school nemesis, finds out he lives in the area), but it gives me a reference so every day I sit down at my computer, I know what I'll be working on. Sometimes, I change plot points as I'm writing but mostly, for the first draft, I stick to plot outline I've written. For my current WIP, I have the book plotted from beginning to end. My WIP is a novel and my plot outline is about 3,500 words long. Some parts where I can envision the scenes better, I get more detailed, while other parts I leave more bare bones until I get to the point where I can fill them in more. After I've finished writing the section I've plotted out, I highlight what I've done in the plotting document using a bright color as a way of checking it off my list. I'm a big fan of checking things off a list!

    I used to write stories as they came but more often than not, I'd wake up dry of inspiration and unable to get much done. I like lists and organization so this seems to be the best way for me to write.

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    1. Lists are lovely things :) I agree. On the days that I'm not really "feeling it" as a writer, it's very nice to be able to look at a list and see what I'm supposed to be doing.

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  13. One of my favorite strategies for novelling is writing to myself. It's like talking to myself, expect on a keyboard.
    I usually find this most helpful for brainstorming, and also just for when I'm stuck.
    I sit down at the computer, open up yet another new doc and blink at the glaringly white expanse of pixels. Then I just start writing to myself. Usually it goes something like this:
    "OKAY. So. Character A and Character B obviously need some kind of backstory, but WHAT? Maybe they grew up together or something. Nah, that won't work because then X, Y, and Z. So what if their parents knew each other or something? Eh. Idk... ERG WHY DID YOU EVEN PUT CHARACTER B IN THE STORY IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!? HE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING EXCEPT GET IN THE WAY. Maybeyoushouldkillhim." At this point I usually start grinding my forehead into the keyboard. After several paragraphs of ranting and venting my frustration, I move on and pump out some more ideas.
    Then after my fuel cells have gone completely dry, I resist the ever-imminent temptation to delete the document, and go off to massage my fingers and read a book, or in the off-chance that I'm feeling productive, do some school work. The next day, or next week, or whenever I'm ready to get back to it, I open up the doc and look through the pages that I typed. I get rid of the absurd ideas and keep the not-quite-so-absurd ones around. Then I grow off of that.
    I use this strategy most of the time just for getting my juices flowing again, but I have also used it (with varying degrees of success) to work out a problematic scene or something else more specific.
    I have no idea if this will work for anyone else, but it's a life-saver for me. :) It's great for venting frustration and rage and I have, on occasion, gotten a usable idea or two out of it. ;)
    ~Katherine

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    1. Katherine, that kind of free writing is a great strategy!

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    2. I do something a lot like that! Only I usually process it in my head and take a few notes, or rant about it to my mom. She's a REALLY good listener:)

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  14. I'm a huge pantser! I have an idea, form the characters, and then turn them loose in this world with a basic outline. My style really just involves giving them the first draft and following them around to see what they do, haha. It makes for lots of editing later but I've found that that's how I best discover what the story is really about, and I can fine-tune that later. I take advice from a lot of various writing blogs (this is one of them!) and like I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, your book has been invaluable. The GTW group in particular has helped improve my writing - I'm an extrovert, so I work best with people to brainstorm with and encourage me.

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    1. I'm so glad you've found Go Teen Writers to be a valuable resource! I love the freedom of pantsing. The story turns out so organic. But yes, lots of rewrites :)

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  15. I wouldn't presume to have the foggiest clue how to write, but I can say which craft book influenced me the most. It's called Plot, and it's by Ansen Dibell. I read it multiple times before I even decided I wanted to be a writer, so it helped me avoid the plotlessness stage that some writers go through the first time they try to write a book. Plus, it was just a lot of fun to read.

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  16. I can completely relate. Every time I write a new book, I try to create a plan for how I'm going to do it -- e.g., write character sketches and back cover blurb first. Then create an outline. Then fast draft. Etc. However, I have come to the realization that it's just always going to be messy. That's how my mind works. I can't follow a rigid system. I can't even label myself a "plotter" or a "panster". Instead, I have to remember that my novels will develop however they wish. I have to trust that the story will unravel despite which method I choose. It's become too confiding for me to stick with a certain "plan", especially when my story has a mind of its own at times.

    I will say, though, that I do like to try new methods every now and then. I've recently discovered My Book Therapy's techniques for plotting a novel through Susan May Warren's book, "Conversations With a Writing Coach". If you haven't read any of her books (or blog posts, podcasts, etc.), I'd highly recommend! The system she uses for writing novels has helped me plot mine tremendously. It's helped to break down the process, brainstorm new ideas, and create a vague story-map for my books. It's a structure I can at least try to follow for my future books, although I doubt I'll ever stick to just one method for novel-writing.

    Tessa
    www.christiswrite.blogspot.com

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    1. I agree, Susan May Warren is an excellent teacher. I have Deeper and Wider, and I've attended a few of her classes. She is much more of a plotter than I am, but I really enjoy learning from her.

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  17. I have one REALLY good song that works for me when writing/editing; Clair de Lune by debussy. Try it out!

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  18. Well, I'm not the best person to ask since my first full novel is still a prize I am aiming for, but so far, my favorite things to do are: Write down tons of ideas, randoms, useless info, and stuff about my characters and story before I "officially" begin, outline my plot, analyze my favorite books, (and my least favorite books;) read lots of awesome blog posts, as well as a few related books, and study the art of writing with a video based college level course on sentences. Whew!

    I read blogs like yours, as well as Dreaming Hobbit, Kingdom Pen, and Helping Writers Become Authors.
    A new free software tool I'm trying just now which has been very helpful is called YWriter. It divides chapters into scenes, and provides lots of useful features to help me organize my novel in progress:) Legal pads, Google Docs, and Google Keep all get plenty of use, and I have a clothesline type of thing that stretches across my wall that I clip notes and ideas where I can see/compare them. Draft is also a great app.

    I like to discover, and then plan some, and then discover some more, and them plan some more...

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    1. I love that you're trying out so many different things, Mallory!

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    2. Your clothesline thing is a creative idea!! When I'm sitting at my desk and I get an idea for a story or a character name or anything like that, I just have to find the nearest piece of paper, whether it's lying around or hanging on my magnetic board already being used. :P

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    3. It was really easy to do! just some little command hooks, twine, paper clips and small/mini clothes pins was all I needed, and it looks cool with stuff hanging on it:) Little chalkboard signs are fun too.

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  19. When I get an idea, I usually let it simmer in my head for a while. I usually get plot ideas first, such as the beginning scene or the ending scene. When I have a rough jumble of scenes plotted in my head (I never put any of this on paper! It has to stay in my head or it kills it!), I start writing. I write a really rough first draft as quickly as I can (usually around 3 months). I then go back and start a "Book of Secrets" where I write down characters, their descriptions, maps, and any other information that I probably messed up in several places in the first draft (the eye colors of my characters tend to change frequently in the first drafts. In one first draft, my main girl had two different hair colors and three different eye colors!). I do my outlining and stuff like that before I revise, and I keep adding to my "Book of Secrets" for every revision I do. It's very messy, but it works for me. Since I tend to get ideas for the plot first, I don't really learn about my characters until I've finished the first draft. Character worksheets and stuff never work for me. I've tried filling them all out and still end up not knowing the character any better than when I started.

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    1. I love that you call it a Book of Secrets. That's awesome. And I would love to know an ending scene early in the process! That's the part I ALWAYS struggle for.

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  20. A lot of my stories have been fairy tale retellings, so I've always had a general idea of what is supposed to happen. When I was younger, I was a complete pantster and wrote six "novels" at a time. :P

    Now, the best method I've found as I now am writing real full length novels is literally to write it as a novella under 20,000. Trust me, it's hard. But I have the core characters and plot. I'm always angry because I had to leave so much out. Then, I go back and rewrite it. :) It works really well for this half plotter/half pantster. ;) And by leaving more out, somehow I end up having even more to put in. :)

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    1. How interesting, AB. I'm glad you've found something that works for you!

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  21. I've always been fascinated by the human brain and I've always loved to write, so my parents bought my Lisa Cron's Wired For Story a few Christmases back. It focuses on why the human brain craves story and how to craft a story that will appeal to the brain. I loved the book, not only because it was intriguing, but also because it offered countless helpful suggestions, questions to ask yourself, and explanations behind every point it made. I reference it all the time and my writing has improved drastically because of it. I've read a few other craft books, such as How Not to Write a Novel (which featured content I was uncomfortable with and eventually stopped reading), but I haven't been able to find any other craft books that spoke to me the way Wired For Story did. In all honesty, this blog has helped me more than all the other craft books I've read. Thank you so much for everything you offer! I'm super excited for this series.

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    1. I haven't read that book yet, Lexi. Good to know it helped you!

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  22. There was a time I was a die hard pantser, and it wasn't that long ago. Maybe that's why I never got beyond the first ten thousand words or so in a book. Then, ever since I discovered the Snowflake Method, I use the first two steps of it, which is summing up the book in a sentence and a paragraph utilizing the Three Act Structure, respectively. This was only a couple months ago. This was a huge milestone, because after it writing has been so much better and easier. Also, before I jump in a story, I like to really get to know the MC, and watch the secondary characters evolve as time goes on. Hopefully, this'll get me to the end of my current WIP, The Assassin's Mercy :).

    Also, GTW really helped. Seriously.

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    1. I love the idea of the Snowflake Method, and I tried it for one of my books when I was trying to add more structure to the way I wrote. It was a little too much structure for my creative type, but there have been a lot of pieces of it that I've hung onto. Thanks for sharing, Jonathan!

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  23. I want to try to write realistic fiction, or cotemporary fiction, but I don't know how to find an idea or how to write one, I've only done fantasy. Does anyone know how to?

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    1. This sounds kind of hokey, but I think this is one of those situations where you'll be on the look out for an idea, and it'll hit you. That's the way it was for me when I was wanting to write a historical. I wanted to for about a year before the right idea finally hit.

      Here are a few posts we have on coming up with ideas. Maybe they'll help?

      http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-is-high-concept-pitch-and-how-do.html
      http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-get-in-way-of-good-ideas.html
      http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2012/10/36-plot-ideas-for-your-novel.html

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  24. I used to be a complete pantser...and almost never finished a story.

    Like you, my writing process continues to evolve. Right now, it looks something like this.
    1. Awesome idea pops into my head.
    2. I tell awesome idea to go away. I'm busy.
    3. Awesome idea won't go away.
    4. I sit down and scribble out a 2- or 3-page summary of the book, hitting the major plot points. I fill in a key-scenes list like the one on Go Teen Writers website.
    5. I start writing.
    6. Once my characters have appeared in a couple of scenes, I stop and take a little bit of time to get to know them. It usually takes a couple scenes of action before I feel like I know them enough to fill out the little interviews. And sometimes unplanned characters appear.
    7. And then I write on. Because of my key-scenes list, I have a general idea of where each major plot point is going. But the writing itself is still "pantser" in that usually things happen or words are said that I had no premonition of. Sometimes my original key-scenes list gets adjusted.
    8. As needed, I stop to make sure I understand my world or my characters better. I find that when I can't picture the scene, then my readers have a hard time picturing it as well.
    9. Once I finish the first draft, I make note of all the things I already know will have to be fixed. Then I let it rest for a few weeks before starting edits.
    Hope this is helpful for your research, Stephanie!

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  25. Thank you for the post, Mrs. Morrill!

    I was a panster and believed that outlining would stifle creativity. I read a blog post that recommended Outlining Your Novel (by K. M. Weiland), so I bought the book, and it convinced me to try outlining. So I did. And I have outlined my novels since then. :)

    When writing a novel, the first thing I usually start with is a character; sometimes I'll start with an idea; and rarely I start with a title, because titles don't come very easily for me and most of the time I just slap working titles on them while waiting for that all illusive title. :)

    Three books/resources have had the most impact on my writing journey: A Novel Idea, Outlining Your Novel, and the "Go Teen Writers" book and website. I highly recommend these resources!

    Completely editing a novel has also helped me in my writing. Through that, I learned faults that I didn't realize I had (like going overload on the description), words I overuse (just, very, that, then, etc. - all those weasel words), and learned a lot from the experience. Things that I ould pay special attention to in future drafts to save time on edits. Reading my manuscript aloud has also been a great help. It is amazing what you see when reading your novel aloud! Also, listening to music while writing helps me be more productive and get into the mood.

    And last, but definitely not least - praying over my writing. Before I write each day, I pray over my writing, over the characters, over the series, and ask the Lord for His strength, wisdom, blessing, and guidance. He has always answered, and He has always guided me through the thick forest! :D

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    1. Patience, I'm a reformed pantser too. And also like you, I've found that it has some huge benefits to figure out some basics about my story ahead of time. Like you said, going through the editing process is a great experience for writing better/stronger first drafts. I learned that plotting saved me a ton of time in rewrites.

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  26. I think "planster" is closest to my process, though it seems like far too tidy a term for what happens. XD

    The idea marinates in my thoughts for a long long time. Then I start general planning in a notebook. (I've tried planning on a computer, but it's too easy for me to leap down Scrivener's organizing rabbit hole and hum to myself as I write beatific detailed chapter summaries on the virtual notecards and color code to the point of getting overly and counterproductively perfectionistic about my outline, and plus I can take my notebook anywhere.)

    So I scribble about my characters and the plot and stuff in my free moments at school, somewhat similar to what Katherine described above. When I know the general plot of the story and feel like I'm close to knowing enough to write, I start a very messy chapter by chapter outline with bulleted events. Where chapters start and end nearly always changes when I write, but it makes me happy inside to include them in my outline anyway. Once I know the first few chapters, I start writing, and then I write more of the outline as I'm drafting. I can't strictly write Really Bad First Drafts, but I'm also apt to let myself get bogged down in too much editing as I go so I'm still working on figuring that out.

    And when I use the present tense 'this is what I do', it's pretty much just referring to what I'm doing for this book, because what I did for the last one and half of one respectively was totally different, and what I'll do for the next one will probably be totally different, too.

    Incidentally,for every serious attempt at a book I've made so far, I'd started writing the idea, abandoned it, and then reinvented it into a draft at least half a year later. Who knows if that'll be a permanent part of my process. ;)

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    1. I'm a pen and paper girl too when it comes to brainstorming. I often transfer it to Scrivener when I'm done, but I just think better with the pen and notebook for some reason!

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  27. It's such a good point that you just have to accept writing a book is not a neat and pretty process. I can let it either drive me crazy and make me hate writing, or I can accept it and have fun with it, relishing in the fact that it will never be boring. :)

    I've only completed the first drafts of three novels, and only finished editing one, so my writing process still has a lot of room to grow and change. I used to completely pants stories, but I found that to be too painful because I'd hit a block every chapter at least. Because of this, lately I've tried to plan a bit more, but I inevitably still hit a lot of blocks and decide this or that thing that I plotted won't work and yeah... But somehow I don't think planning out every scene will ever work for me, so while I'll keep trying different methods, I suspect I'll settle in as a plantser with varying levels of outlining or not depending on the project. :)

    Looking forward to this series!

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    1. The messiness makes me crazy too at times. Like you, I have to remind myself that it's part of the fun :)

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  28. I think I've got a pretty good idea of how I write best: I'm a pantser, so I start off with a couple characters, a few paragraphs of plot, and basically just go. Every chapter or so, I pause read some old notes, do a little planning, then just continue on until the end.
    This blog has helped me figure out a lot of the editing process, for instance, doing major edits before minor, and how setting can influence literally everything. Besides this, I love the books Live Writing by Ralph Fletcher and Rx for Your Writing Ills by Joan Hall. Both are brilliant.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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    1. I haven't read either of those, Alexa. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  29. I'm a converted pantser. Before I understood the need for an outline and a general idea of where I was headed, I'd just sit and write. That was when I was much younger and had nothing else to do besides school, so pantsing actually allowed me to speed through several pages of writing everyday. It's different now, though. With more time constraints, I have to constantly find ways to write more and write faster. This is where the usefulness of a plot outline comes in, but I have tasted the frustration of having a too-rigid outline. Plot isn't always everything, I have discovered, and balance IS everything
    I've learnt the hard way that sometimes you just need to put away the outline, the character charts, and anything else related to the ugly draft, and just write.
    I know that some writers don't believe in waiting for inspiration, and I don't either, but I do believe that one can't write without a healthy dose of it, so I make an effort to be completely immersed in my story and to live to write the exciting focal story points. I am now speeding through the last act of my WIP with considerably more speed than before. All I can say is that no one writing method is perfect, and sometimes you'll even have to make drastic changes to your own writing process.

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    1. Very well said :)
      I've tried plotting, but I tend to get bored of the story if I know what's going to happen :p Guess I have to be just as surprised as the reader sometimes, lol.


      Alexa
      thessalexa.blogspot.com

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  30. Definitely a pantser! I like walking along with the people in the story and writing down what happens to them. I do not think I am controlling the story. I may have an idea what ending I would like, but I don't know until the end whether it will turn out that way or not. One of my favorite quotes is from Michaelangelo (which I may have said before) that he chipped away at a sculpture until what was already there came out. So it was already done, he just had to discover it. That's how I feel about writing. I may have a lot of ideas about the people and events, but as I write I discover what really happened and write that, and sometimes it's a lot different from my original insights. But I hope I can use the ideas somewhere and just find out where they really belong. As you said in response to Aimee, this means a lot of rewrites, but that's okay. My favorite sites are this one and Steven Pressfield's. His books, The War of Art, Do the Work, and Turning Pro are most reads for any creative person. I cannot recommend them highly enough. (http://www.stevenpressfield.com).

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    1. ^^ This is basically me! There are some parts that I manage to plot, but often, it does feel like that: like I'm just journeying with my characters, as in the dark as they are. I've heard that Michelangelo quote before, but I never thought about using it in relation to writing. It is pretty much perfect for pantsers, though.


      Alexa
      thessalexa.blogspot.com

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  31. I am still trying to find my writing style as i love so many. i am a teen writer and have just created a blog with a little of my work on it if you fancy checking it out. thanks http://lizzyswonderlandvibes.blogspot.co.uk/

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  32. When I get a new idea I usually let it sit for a while and/or at least until I know the beginning and the end. I will sometimes write a chapter. When I get around to preparing for the books, I'll do the three act structure, some character building exercises (like worksheets, character interviews, and character chatting), character goal, and world building work. Then I'll writing the first draft. If I have gaps or things I don't know about the characters then I usually pants them and figure them out as I write. Those are often some of the best parts of the book. After I finish the first draft I let it sit for while then go back and read it over and look for the big things. Then I work out what needs to be done and rewrite the book. After that I let it sit (if I have the time) then go through the whole book both reading it in my head and out loud and fixing the nitpicky errors. Then I send it off to betas. Then I go over it again and fix any errors I missed. That's mine. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  33. I think I am kind of in between I will plan out s general idea for my story so it doesn't go way off topic but I will let it take different turns. Also something that helps when you are at the climax of your story is to do the exact opposite of what you think should happen that usually gives me a good plot twist.
    I am in the middle of a story right now that is really original and has taken years to work out I am really excited to see how it turns out!

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