♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What is your process for writing? Plot, then write? Edit as you go or not
until you’ve reached the end of the story? Figure out your characters first? Something else?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
If you search writing process on this site, you’re gonna find my other write-ups on this topic, and if you want to learn more about how authors work, or if you’re curious about how normal you are as a writer, or looking for tips, that’s a great resource. Let’s get into it! I mean, this is why you’re here, but I just wanted you to know there are more resources here for you!
My process is to a degree convoluted. I guess that is the right word to describe it. Regardless, I haven’t heard many describe the same process in their own careers, but there is someone on this hop who does quite a bit similarly to me, and I think that’s great. Be sure to click their links to get their impression!
When a story starts with me, it is almost always from a dream or meditation. 5 out of the 6 books I wrote were conceived that way. My first, which was a bear of a project, came about because of a college writing assignment in an independent study project. I proposed to write a piece of literature that displayed my knowledge of the US Civil War and life at that time. It would be highly educative and bridge the gap between my historical minor and English writing major.
That project became known as Blue Honor. Due to its specific purpose the work was heavily regimented. The journey of bringing this work to publication was fraught with great disappointment and strife. Once overcome, it still remains apart from the pack. Basically, I created it on assignment and that was a greater struggle than even the subject matter provided.
You see, my process isn’t like others, as I have already said. The best stories, those that I have stuck with, in my esteem, came from dreams. I fermented them in meditation. Sitting with ideas for weeks, months, sometimes years, helped me decide they offered something worth undertaking. In the end, I don’t write what I don’t love.
I thought I loved the Victorian Era as a period of literary history. I did love literature of the period. Great stories came out of that period from my historical culture. They helped me connect to my ancestors and understand my own history. They also tended to veil the issues of the Americas in which I grew up. Writing Blue made it impossible to ignore and brought more of the reality home like I had never experienced. Blue solidified many of my positions.
Call it a love hate relationship, but Blue was a tough project that nearly defeated me as a writer. I found myself unprepared for the journey. Although that is the case, I think I needed to go through it to become a better person as well as an author. If I had to do it all again, though, I would probably chose another story in another time. Maybe, though, writing about white privilege is a good thing. I just hope I haven’t messed it up entirely.
While I would love to see my books turned into films, because that is what I went to graduate school to achieve someday, I don’t think I would like to see Blue in that capacity. I’ve seen it in my head and struggled too much with the writing and story. While I learned a lot on that project, I don’t want this to continue to hold me back and defeat me.
That, too, is part of my process. I often remind myself of the roots from which I have grown. Mistakes made then shouldn’t repeat in the now, whatever they were. Writing Trailokya benefited from this journey, as did OP-DEC. All of my stories center around difficult experiences of abuse and violence. It’s gut-wrenching for me at times. Yet, you must unpack it. Right?
Overall, the most useful process that I have is the reflective part of the work. Remember when I mentioned that I meditate on my ideas? I play the scenarios out in my head repeatedly and think them through in multiple ways. So much of the work forms in my head before I even put pen to paper, so to speak, that it feels as if I’m taking dictation.
Part of the skill set required for the process is honed critical thought. Part of well-honed critical thinking is walking the intersection of ideas, picking the ripe fruit found on that journey, and also seeing the signs that point us in the right direction. Have you ever heard of Semiotics? If not, I suggest you get with it. While you may disagree with what is said about this theory, if given a chance, you will find it a useful tool to nest Easter eggs and make excellent use of language.
Critical thinking means a lot more than just being able to comprehend something. It means being able to dismantle and reassemble the part. It’s the ability to view it from various lenses and therefore angles. You may recognize it as the walking in another person’s shoes. How does this benefit your writing? Your characters won’t be cookie-cutter or stale, for one. Plot holes are less likely to pitfall your story.
Equipped with these tools, you’ll find your edits a lot easier, as well. If you’ve spent enough time thinking through a work, you’re going to spend a lot less time struggling to pull it out of you onto the page. Above all, exercise patience. You don’t need to be done yesterday and certainly don’t need to exist in print at the end of the day today. Slow down. It really is better in the long run to take your time and do a good job than do good enough. Prolific (quantity) doesn’t always equate to professional (quality).
In the end, the total number of books you have written aren’t going to attest to how good of a writer you are. Their quality will always stand head and shoulders above such an arbitrary factor. Likewise, the number of readers who continue to come back for your future work are proof of your ability to tell tales.
Although I run this process for my work, it isn’t the end all of processes. It is the process I have found that works best for me. If you’re serious about writing, then you are serious about learning to write. Working on your craft is a necessary part of the process. No author completes that process, no matter how far they’ve go on their work.
May your journey teach you what you need to rise higher, and may you reach the next step upon which you’re focused. Be sure to click the links below to see what the other authors have to say on this topic, but also use my search feature to find out more about the writing process.