My Creative Writing Process

We’ve talked a lot about the creative writing process this month so I thought I would share my creative writing process.

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Outlining

I go back and forth with my outlining process. Sometimes I outline before but sometimes I outline during. I used to always summarize what I wanted to happen in each chapter and then it would change during the writing process of the first draft.

Now I usually outline just the basics. Plot points I’d like to happen, random ideas, a list of characters and places, and the like. While I write my first draft, I summarize each chapter. This makes the editing process so much easier for me in the long run.

Writing

I give myself about a month to write the first draft. This is all thanks to NaNoWriMo. Some people don’t agree with it, but I believe that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. If it’s a bunch of gibberish, at least you got the bare bones down. So I typically spend about 30 days writing 2,000 words a day to get the first draft done. Then the real writing begins.

RevisingEditing

I’ll admit… until I just did the research for this month’s blog posts, I though revision and editing were one in the same. So I guess I should take a look at how I do things.

Still, I’ve gotten into a good routine with my editing. I’ve been using the rainbow editing method for the last few drafts of my various manuscripts and it’s been working really well for me. It helps me zero-in on certain aspects I need to focus on. Editing is not as difficult as it used to be for me.

Publishing

Yeah, I’m still figuring this one out.

What’s your writing process look like? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Publishing Your Novel

Here we are. The final stage of the creative writing process. Publishing your novel.

We’ve outlined, written the first draft, revised, and edited… now it’s time to talk about publishing. Which, admittedly, is something I don’t know a whole lot about. So writing this post should be fun.

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The Various Methods of Publishing.

Publishing isn’t easy. It can be a long process and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With that said, I don’t know much about publishing in any sense. However, I’ve done a little research for myself though I’m still learning. This is just a bare minimum of the basics.

Traditional Publishing. This, in my opinion, is the hardest to get into. You need a lot of approval in order to do this. You need to query your book to many publishers before one decides to take you on. Most of the time, you’d query to an agent first. They’ll help sell your book to a publishing company. However, that’s just an extra step that can take just as long. With traditional publishing, you have a whole team working on your book. Which is definitely nice for you if you want to solely focus on writing the next book.

Self-Publishing. Similar to traditional publishing except you don’t need anyone’s approval other than your own. However, there’s no team working on your book unless you hire them yourself. On the other hand, you make all the decisions which is a nice freedom to have. Some people self-publish just to share their work and not necessarily use it as income as well. Some people see just having their book in the world a “success” rather than “selling” their book as a success. Self-publishing makes it easy to do that.

Wattpad. There are many websites that cater to creative writing. Wattpad is just one of the many that do. You’re not making money from your words, but you’re sharing your stories with the world and that’s just as wonderful. We all write for fun though some people prefer to publish right away on a place like Wattpad and get immediate response from their readers through the comments. I’ve seen some people get picked up by agents through these sites. I’ve also seen people use their audience as beta readers then take the story down, fix it up, and self-publish it.

Blog. So many people have blogs now and use that as a creative outlet to share their stories with the world. It’s similar to Wattpad, except it’s all you and you’re choosing what to put on the blog and when. Plus, all the audience is reading just your work and not browsing a database of all these other writers where they might see your name.

I wasn’t kidding when I said here’s the bare minimum of the basics… if you could call this basics. But there you have it. Once you decide on a goal for yourself and your writing, it’ll be that much easier to decide which publishing route to take.

If you’re published, what method did you use? If you’re planning to publish in the future, what route are you thinking of taking? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Editing Your Novel

Ah, editing your novel. This is the moment some people live for and other people dread. After you revise your novel, it’s time to write the next draft. Compile it all together again so it looks nice and pretty. Then you can tear it a part again!

Editing your novel isn’t an easy task and there’s no telling how many drafts you’ll need in order to edit the book to be as perfect as it can be.

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The different types of editing your novel.

If editing were easy, it wouldn’t take nearly as long to get a book out onto shelves. There are many different kinds of editing to do for your manuscript and can happen at different stages as well. Not to mention, at some point along the way, you’re going to want to hire a professional editor to look it over as well. Plus maybe beta readers and proofreading and… you get the picture.

Developmental Editing. This type of editing is the big one where you look at character development, the overall plot, dialogue, pacing, and more. I find this one takes the longest and is the hardest. There may be a lot of things you need to change. Sometimes you change something only to change it back or have to change something else as well. It can get messy, but will be worth it.

Line Editing. This is what it sounds like. You’re editing line by line reading each sentence individually. Is it needed? Does it aid the plot, character, or setting? If it doesn’t, maybe take it out.

Proofreading. This should always be done last. Once the story is good to go, no plot holes, no messy characters, proofreading should be done. This is looking for simple spelling and grammar mistakes, typos, making sure the tense stays true throughout, and more.

There’s a lot more that goes into editing and there are many different ways to go about it. It will take a while to get into a groove with it, but you’ll soon find a rhythm.

How do you tackle editing your novel? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Revising Your Novel

For a long time I thought revising and editing were one in the same. I thought revision was a fancier term for editing. I guess, in a way, revising your novel is editing. However, it can be a lot more in-depth than editing – even though there’s a lot of different forms of editing.

Let’s just lay it all out now – writing a novel is confusing, guys.

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Revising your novel.

This is something that’s great to do after writing the first draft. The first draft is usually (always) a mess and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You get new ideas and improve some old ideas while writing the first draft as well. The revision process helps with all of that.

I’ve heard of the A.R.R.R. method (it actually sounds like an author name or pen name). While this is all something that you can do in the various editing stages, this method will truly help in revising your novel and dig deep into the story and structure.

Add. You can add words – scenes, new/different characters, places, etc. There are many different word lengths of a story that classifies it as a short story, novella, novel, and more. A novel is typically between 60,000 – 100,000 words (though it varies depending on genre, audience, and just who you ask in general). If you don’t have enough words, maybe there’s something missing in your story. Or, maybe it’s just not meant to be a novel. Experiment with it.

Remove. The opposite of adding words, of course. There may be a lot of filler that you’re able to cut out. If certain scenes are drowning on too long, you can cut them down and make them more precise so not to bore your readers with too many unneeded details.

Replace. When you remove something, can you replace it with something else? Do you need to replace it with something else or is it fine to just go away? You can replace certain vocabulary words as well to make a description stronger.

Rearrange. This is the one that I think I use the most. There’s a lot to play around with in a novel. Some scenes don’t exactly fit where you originally put them. Sometimes a whole chapter can be moved to earlier or later in the book. There’s a conversation between my two protagonists on page 80 and I decided that conversation would be better suited as an ending to the book. It sounds weird, but sometimes rearranging it helps bring new (and better) ideas to light. Revising your novel is like a puzzle.

What are some things you do when you revise? Do you use the A.R.R.R. method or just go with it? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Writing The First Draft

Yesterday I mentioned outlining in the process of writing. The next step in the creative writing process would be, of course, writing the first draft.

Which, can be easy to some but isn’t so easy to others.

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When it comes to writing the first draft.

Personally, I always found that writing the first draft was the easiest draft to write. You’re only telling yourself the story, after all. You and your characters are getting to know each other.

I think I find it the easiest because it’s the least stressful. You’re finding your own voice and tone of the story. You’re discovering the best way to convey the message and theme to your future readers.

There’s no need to worry too much about word count or even the structure of the novel. If you want to write notes to yourself in between scenes, go for it. If you don’t have a name for a person or place, use the first one that comes to your mind and bold it to remind yourself to change it later.

There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to writing the first draft though I know some people who don’t see it that way. They get stressed out because they want to have less editing later.

I’ll admit, I don’t care too much for editing either (mostly because I just want the story to be done) but I appreciate it a lot more now than I used to. It’s satisfying in a way.

Honestly, this is why I usually use NaNoWriMo to write the first drafts of my novels. I get the skeleton down and I finish it in a timely manner so I can spend a good chunk of my time editing. Before NaNo it would take me a few months to write a first draft. Now I just get it out of the way and figure out the basic story line. It helps a lot, for me, anyway.

How do you typically go about writing the first draft? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Outlining

When it comes to writing a lot of us just sit down and writing. Sometimes we think first, but for the most part we just go through the motions of writing a book.

But what are those motions?

There’s a thing called a creative writing process that we all follow whether we realize it or not.

Right off the bat, the first step of the creative writing process is optional. Some people would better this way, others don’t. Sometimes people do only half of step one and other people do it at a different time during the writing process of their novel.

Needless to say, this whole post can be kind of moot depending on your writing style. But whatever, here we go…

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Brainstorming. Prewriting. Outlining.

Whatever you want to call it, the first step is the basic idea of the novel. Technically, those three terms can mean different things, but hey – we all write our novels differently and in our own unique styles. So I’m counting this.

Brainstorming is producing ideas. You can list ideas for many different stories or ideas for events to happen in one story. These are simple ideas of things that could happen in your novel. It doesn’t mean it will actually come to fruition.

Prewriting and Outlining are similar. They sound exactly like their name – before you begin the actual first draft of your novel, you get the basic skeleton of the story down on paper. This can be as simple as filling out a few character charts or creating a mind map of major and minor plot events of the story. Sometimes it can be as in-depth as summarizing each chapter or bullet-listing chapters, characters, and ideas.

I guess it’s kind of like writing the first draft without all the filler stuff.

I personally enjoy outlining before writing the first draft. It helps me keep my thoughts organized. However, not everyone can work like that. So this step can often be skipped. Or, as I said earlier, this step may happen at another point in the creative writing process. I’ve outlined during writing the first draft a few times before and that works just fine for me. It kind of cuts out a step but I’m staying organized all the same.

Do you typically outline before writing the first draft? Or do you do this step at a different time or skip it all together? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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