Someone told me once - I think during a writing workshop, I'm not really sure - that the best way to write a book was to write a first draft, revise that draft, send it to your editor, and then revise again according to the edit notes. That person said, at that point, the book you've written is ready to be published.
That could very well be the best way to write a book. It isn't my way. But I do know how to write a book: your way.
Seriously. The best way for you to write your book is to do it YOUR WAY. You don't know if you have a way? That's why we're sharing our ways this week...to show you that you don't have to write like anyone except yourself. Here's a peek into my process:
Like Liz, usually the main character comes to me first, and although I write contemporary romances where the hero and heroine have roughly the same amount of point-of-view scenes, I do think each of my books have a single main character...a person that book 'belongs' to. In First Love Again, that main character was Jaime, the heroine with the troubled past. In The Daughter He Wanted, it was Alex, who wanted so much to be whole again. In What the Bachelor Gets, my next release, the book 'belongs' to Callie, the heroine who's made a few missteps, but who is still determined to get things right. Once I've got that character mostly fleshed out, I start working on my outline. The outline looks something like this:
Scene 1: POV Character
Scene Internal Conflict:
Scene External Conflict:
I repeat that Scene guide through the end of the book. I'm giving away too much of the book you say? Possibly. Here's what I know: this particular outline format helps me keep my characters GMC - for the whole book and for that scene/chapter - focused in my mind. Also, I'm not married to it. I've had Scene 1 flip into Scene 10 and I've had what I thought was the midpoint of the first act of the book morph into the beginning. I move the outline around as I write because sometimes the characters take us on strange journeys. Once I'm through the draft, off it goes to my agent, and when it comes back, I make the revisions and it's sent off to my editor. That's my process as of 4 o'clock this morning. Check in with me at the same time next year, and I may have tweaked it a bit.
When I started writing, I was a total pantser. I had no idea where the story was going, I just wrote as fast as I could from start to finish. That worked for me through the first 2 books (neither of which will see the light of day). After that, I was still a pantser, but I started by getting to know my characters. After I sold my first book, my process changed again. I sold books 2 and 3 in my Texas Girls series based on rough outlines, and I knew I needed more to go on than a rough character sketch and pantsing my way through 50,000 words. So, I wrote synopsi for each of them and worked off of that. But I didn't like sticking with the synopsis, I felt stifled. So I came up with the outline idea because, to me, a synopsis is final and an outline isn't. I know, I know, I have fooled myself into believing it...but it's how my brain works. So far, the outline method is working, but even that has tweaked. I'm more linear in my writing, but entire scenes will hit the trash bin and something completely different will come into play. That's pantsing again? I call my process pant-lotting for just that reason.
We all have very different processes. That is perfectly, acceptably okay. It's also important to note that your writing process will change along the way because our writing also changes. Our voices become stronger, and our stories evolve just as our writing skills evolve.
Do you have a writing process or tip you'd like to share? Hit the comments - we love tips!!