At my last critique group, there was an entirely too brief conversation about how some of us write. Naturally, we all do it differently. I started to think about my writing process and how it varies from genre to genre. All of us currently unpublished authors read how published writers do their thing. We shouldn’t be left out. How we write is important.
I have one complete novel that I’m currently shopping and one that I have put aside due to genre reasons. I also have two manuscripts that are in the need of some tender loving rewrites. Not to mention some short stories lying about. As for the first drafts that await my red pen, I wrote them each in a completely different way.
The YA fantasy that I’m rewriting was thoroughly outlined. I knew the entire story. Every single bit of it. And guess what? It changed as I wrote. The main points and purposes don’t change but how we get to the end does. As my characters grew, I knew that what I originally planned wouldn’t work. So I let them guide me. I love how it turned out too. Also, I typed the first half. The second half I wrote long hand. Why? I started to feel too disconnected from my main character. Writing by hand is more intimate for me. So I reconnected. It worked perfectly.
The YA contemporary was a totally different process. With the fantasy, I had the idea. With this one, I had the main character. She told me her story. I just typed it all down without an outline. As it sits on my desk and begs for me to revise it, I can’t help but think how hard it will be. I love the story. I love the characters. Rewriting the fantasy, which was so carefully planned, will actually be much easier than rewriting the contemporary that just flowed out my fingers.
My writing process is ever-changing, as I’m sure most writers change their own. The ideas, the plot, and the characters dictate how the story will be told. We just channel it then nurse it. The most important thing we can do is not stress over the process but to just write.
Because, published or not, we are writers. That’s not going change.