Saturday, 6 February 2010

Stage Two of the Writing Process: Writing

This is it. The moment I've been waiting for since an idea appeared in my head. This is the time to tell the story. To write. To let the creativity pour out of me. Without restraint. Without worrying about the final result. This is the time to immerse in the world where my characters and I are the only people in existence. Ironically, this is also the shortest of the three stages. I finished the first draft of my current WIP in November for NaNo. Entire draft in a month. Of course that was a bit extreme case, but say even if I were to do it on a more slower basis, in terms of overall hours, it wouldn't take much longer. Having an outline definitely makes it easier, because I don't have to stop to worry about how I am going to move forward. To avoid internal editor from switching on, I open a new document for each of my outline point. I copy a point in the new document, so I can see it as I write, and make sure I don't miss anything. Of course sometimes I may add things that are not included in the outline point, but that's okay. When I am done with that scene, I delete the outline bit, close the document and open a new one for the next point. I find this works better than writing it all in one big document, because then the temptation to go up a page and check/change something is too great. As a rule, I don't change anything as I am writing, even if I know it's wrong. For example, in my NaNo novel, I realised half-way through the book that one of my supportive character's name changed after a few chapters. Instead of going back to all the scenes that he was in, I left it there. When I started editing, it was one of the first things to be corrected. Of course there are exceptions. If I have written/changed something about the scene I am writing or the scene right before, and if it's a small thing, then I might go and change it then and there. The point is not to get bogged down by editing. Writing process must flow fast and smooth. I have found that this works for me. The purpose of the first draft is to get the whole story out. Once it's there on the page, it can be revised and made better. But it needs to be there first. I tried using yWriter and Liquid Story Binder, but in the end, I found MS Word works best for me. For any kind of lists I need, like a list of characters, I use Excel. MS Office covers all I need, and I suppose because I have been using it for years, I am comfortable and familiar with it. I have occassionally written first draft by hand too, but that was mostly because of flexiblity issue. Now that I have Finn (netbook for those of you who haven't been introduced), typing straight on the computer is definitely more practical. So there it is - the writing. I just sit down, follow my outline, and right as fast as I can, or sometimes as fast as the words would flow.


  1. I find the actual writing stage the shortest stage as well.

    I like your way of copying outline points into your draft - I might have to give that a try.

  2. Writing is the best part for me. I sue MS Word too - works well enough ;o) It has a feature where you can take notes on the side - notebook feature - pretty cool!

    Hey - going to feature you on Monday's Featured blog this week :o)

  3. LW--your writing process sounds remarkably similar to mine. I find a detailed outline also helps me keep moving forward, and I've learned over time if I go back and start fixing something, I stall.

    So for the first draft, onward and upward without looking back.

  4. C R,
    Because I don't always keep a printout of an outline in front of me, having it in on top of document certainly helps.

    Yes, the notes picture certainly helps when editing.

    Thanks for the featured blog :-)

    Jon Paul,
    Funny how all of our brains connect. :-)

  5. It seems like now that I've started trying to write better first drafts, I'm getting bogged down by my inner editor again. This is what I need to work on - having my outline done so well in my head that I don't think so much about what I'm writing in the draft. For some reason, these two things are still working at cross purposes for me...I need to trust that I know the story well enough to just write that first draft, like I did when I wasn't planning.

    I totally agree w/different files for new scenes - I use yWriter as you know for that purpose. Love it. :-)

  6. Jamie,

    I guess different problems for different people. I am okay with churning out first draft, but once the editing begins, I get all the issues. *sigh*