Now it’s my turn to welcome you all to the Word Wenches parlor. I’m one of The Susans here, Susan King, also writing as Sarah Gabriel (so I’ll be Susan Sarah — it will be easy to tell the difference. Susan Miranda is taller, trust me).
Pat and some others were talking about writing methods, so I’ll pick up on that thread and describe my general process (maybe another Wench or two will chime in with their approaches. For every writer, there’s a different method and a unique Muse).
I start with a nugget idea (where that comes from is anyone’s guess, and fodder for future posts), and then I come up with an outline that leads to a synopsis. With a notebook or notecards to keep stuff all in one place (I’m paper-challenged, though I did take graduate courses such as Writing Stuff on Notecards 601), I start listing ideas, character traits, conflicts, whatever I can think of. Oh, and there’s research, lots of lovely historical research. Yum.
This is the stage that’s the slow climb up the mountain, wheels creaking…
When I start writing, it’s slow at first, with all that thinking and note-scribbling going on, but it snowballs. Despite every intention to Be More Organized This Time, eventually I’ve had enough of structure. Tolerance level reached.
By the end I am rushing down Story Mountain at breakneck speed, writing 10, 20, even 30 + pages a day. I’ve lost that outline and tossed the lists out the window. I’m happiest working late at night when the characters are walking and talking on their own, and solving story problems without the aid of outline or idea list…my fingers are racing over the keyboard, and I can blithely ignore my sons and husband (are there any clean socks? who’s going to the grocery store? OK we’re ordering out again….).
Thankfully, the subconscious is a remarkable thing, and the foundation work I did in the beginning is still there, and has been hard at work on its own, so that the story comes together in sometimes surprising ways.
And then I clean up the place and start all over again: ideas, outline, research, slow creaking climb up the mountain….
I’m not sure what use this is to other writers, since we are all so different, but there it is: my method, nurtured years ago when I pulled all-nighters in art history graduate school, and discovered that I did better writing thirty and forty page papers in the middle of the night, a day or so before they were due, than writing papers in more logical ways. And I enjoyed the process more.
I am right-brained. What can I say. Is there a treatment for that?