My Writing Process

Outside of writing my PhD thesis I told myself many reasons why I just couldn’t start The Worlds Within. Of course, I was procrastinating. I was lazy. But really I didn’t know how to start. Years ago I read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. In that book he talks about his writing process. He just throws characters into a problem situation and sees how they figure it out.

No outline.

Other writers put together an outline. Considering how mammoth I saw The Worlds Within in my mind I thought I needed an outline. I wrote an enormous amount of lore for The Nyre Lands. And then I tried to write an outline.

Know that much of this happened six years ago and I only started writing the novel last summer. What happened?

The outline killed the story for me.

Finally, last summer, I decided to just write. I had my character, Aedinn Finn. I knew him well. I put him in the room in Kol Uthera and waited to see what he would do. And that’s how The Worlds Within began.

All of the back story I wrote helped. For any novel based on a completely different world I feel that a certain amount of back story is mandatory. At least for me.

How about the actual writing process? Well, at first I sat in front of the computer and just typed, but soon I found that I typed too fast for my self correction process to keep up. At work, during lunch breaks, I started to write in a notebook. To my surprise I found that I preferred writing by hand. Handwriting slows me down. Allows the self correction process to assert itself.

I then transcribe the handwriting to the computer, another step that allows for correction.

And that’s the process. Here’s a picture of my handwriting in a journal. Alefiya asks me how I can read my handwriting. Well, I wrote it, didn’t I? Still, sometimes I have to squint and rotate the page to figure out what I wrote.

My scribble

10 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. One of the reasons I write on a computer is that I often cannot decipher my handwriting if I leave it too long between the writing and the reading. 😦 But to the point…I embrace both the methods you reference here. I always have an outline. Then when I start writing I end up throwing it away and just writing belongs on the page. I have tried to NOT do the outline, but for some reason I need the structure to be there before I can ignore it. (LOL) And I do multiple rewrites…mostly deleting words and phrases I do not need and fine-tuning vocabulary. Nice article.

    • What’s funny is if I take too long to transcribe my handwritten work, I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what I was trying to say, especially if the writing is little more than a scribble. The handwriting turns into a scrawl when I enter a part of the story where the action is fasted-paced. Exciting. At those times my hand can’t keep up with my brain. Becomes an anchor, dragging me down. Then the writing goes from readable to illegible.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Some people can’t write without an outline, a completely fleshed-out list of characters with backstories and anything else to give it structure beforehand. Others just sit down and write. Neither option is right or wrong, they’re just whatever works for that person. Your method sounds pretty similar to mine actually!

    • Like I said in the post, I tried writing an outline, but all it did was stunt the process. For me an outline telegraphs the story. I’d rather find out what is going to happen along with my protagonist(s).

      Thank you for visiting.

  3. I’m beginning to think there are as many approaches to writing as there are writers. Good post and good luck with the writing. Thanks for visiting my site – that’s how I found yours. I also enjoyed your post on being a stay at home dad.

    • Thanks. After this novel I may try to organize my thoughts before writing part II. The Nyre Lands has grown in my mind as I’ve written the novel, and while I have a large amount of background material sitting around, the overarching story that will span multiple novels requires that I look ahead more than I have so far.

  4. Outlines have never worked for me either. There’s a plan in my head, but if I write it down then I get too attached to finding out how to get there instead of just letting it happen naturally. Maybe it has something to do with my tendencies to procrastinate… But I do write story ideas down in a notebook I carry everywhere with me.

    • After The Tome of Worlds is done I feel that I should make a rough plan for the remaining books, because I am scared of what may happen if I just go with the current and see where it takes me. I don’t want to get two or three books in and realize that I have a gaping hole in the overarching plot.
      Still, I wonder how much of The Dark Tower series Stephen King planned out? He claims to be a writer who lets the characters take him where they may, but the Dark Tower was an epic undertaking. Had to be some planning.

      • Very true, I think there always has to be a plan. I LOVE the Dark Tower Series.

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