I have been writing professionally – as in, someone’s paid me for it – for the past twenty years. In the course of these years, I’ve developed my own writing routines, found my voice, and developed my process. I’ve even gone so far as to coach others in working with their own processes.
Today, I thought I’d give you a look at how I take an idea and then bring it to fruition.
First things first: ideation.
I have sparks for ideas.
Sometimes, it will be just a title. I wrote a novel called Couch World which was initially supposed to be about a young woman’s experiences through various forms of therapy – the therapists’ couches – but morphed into a novel about a homeless DJ who couch-surfed through San Francisco.
Sometimes, I’ll have a concept: modern twists and retellings of classic stories, or tropes that I want to build a framework upon.
Sometimes I’ll just have characters that I know I want to work with.
This is the hardest part of the process. It can take months or years to marinate. I “work” a story idea by opening a “foundation” document. It’s a stream of consciousness piece. There is a lot of “um” and “so” and “hmmm” as well as statements like “GAH WHY DID I THINK I COULD WRITE THIS?” and “BLERGH.”
I ask myself questions. Whose story is this? How do they change? How do I want the reader to walk away feeling after they read this? Is this my story to write?
I’ll admit: this part often feels like I am banging my head repeatedly against a cinderblock wall. [Read more…]