I never really thought much about my writing process until I was reading a comment in a Discord chat about Manuscripts on World Anvil. The comment talked about how a certain stylistic format would be beneficial to those who planned their writing, but aggravating to those who had a more stream of consciousness approach. When I looked up stream of consciousness on the Internet, I came across this article on TCK Publishing’s site concerning types of writers, which I thought was amusing.
It’s silly, but I’ve never really considered this. For me, fiction writing is putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and delving into the world and characters immediately. The characters and their actions, their responses, dictate how the story progresses. This is how I started writing at eleven, and it’s how I’ve continued writing. The thought of outlines and in-depth plot summaries and knowing how the story will progress from beginning to end makes me shudder.
That’s not to say I don’t know where the stories will end when I write. Granted, sometimes I may not immediately know exactly how things will turn out, but once I have a few characters and chapters, I develop the ending, no matter how vague (the dragons win the war between them and the sfinxes). At that point, I know where the characters and events are headed, but I never plan out ahead of time how the middle proceeds. It’s an adventure me and my characters go on, together. I love writing this way.
And I love writing with a lot of coffee 😁
While I don’t plan ahead, I do write ahead. If I’m stuck at a particular place in the plot and I’m not certain how to proceed, oftentimes I’ll jump ahead in the story and write. For instance, in the process of writing Trouble in Tindrel, I hit a wall of “I don’t know how to proceed” after Sikode takes out the second Condi siojhetioh assassin. I did know Shiobe and Sikode would leave Tindrel and continue on their quest after the problems were solved, so I jumped ahead to that point and began to write. The story progressed quickly, and those future events actually hinted at what I could do back in Tindrel to flesh out the story.
I tend to jump ahead and write about future events before I have the present ones set in stone. I’ll think about, say, a romantic difficulty between two characters, and begin to write on that. The characters resolve it, continue on with the adventure, and that bit grows into a hundred pages. I now have a huge amount of work done on a book where I technically only have the first chapter written. Then I connect the two, which isn’t easy at times. Maybe that’s odd, how I sometimes solve my writer’s block by writing on the same story, only further ahead of the current event.
I’m certain it is odd, that I don’t divide my stories into chapters until I’m getting to the finished manuscript stage. Everything flows from one event to another, without a designated break, and I like that, and it works well for me. Going back and dividing events into chapters more appropriate for reading isn’t that difficult, because stories do tend to have natural break points, and I already have an idea where those will be.
I think this is one reason I’m not as enamored of Scrivener as some. It’s a great tool for managing research items while writing a non-fiction book, but for me, I would never use most of the features. When I come up with a plot point, I don’t just make a note of it, then let it molder until I get to that part of the story. I write it, usually because I’m excited about it. I suppose, it would be nice to have sticky notes of place names and character physical descriptions handy, but I already have that info written down (I forget place names, people names, special words…like ‘shadow artist’ vs ‘shadowartist’. Which did I use?).
It doesn’t really matter how you write. Do what feels comfortable. If you enjoy planning every detail, great! If you prefer to just jump on in and see where the tale takes you, great! Writing should be fun. Find a way that works for you, that you enjoy. Otherwise, writing becomes a chore, and that serves no one.
Check out Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in Tindrel: The Wellspring Dragons Book 2 at ebook retailers, and read more about the world of The Wellspring Dragons here. If you like what you read, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and buy me a Ko-fi!