Monday, March 21, 2011

What’s Your Process?


I was at a get-together this past week and was introduced as “an author.”  This would normally be cool, but… well… it was one of THOSE gatherings. 

You know… pretentious, awful, snooty people who will show up to the opening of an envelope if there are free drinks.

A woman who had “I read the arts section of the Globe and take notes for just such occasions” written all over her looked along her nose, got me in her sights, and fired.

“Oh? What’s your process?  I find it all so fa-ha-scin-ating.”

“Erm,” I replied, in a dazzling display of wit.  Stay with me, I followed up. “I basically just stare at the screen until something happens.  With fantasy, which I’ll be working on after a current project, I do a bit of outlining and world-building. But basically, just the staring thing.”

Dude, it was like I farted and blamed her mum.

But it was the truth.  One of the reasons I put my coming-soon-I-swear YA fantasy aside more than once?  I can’t stop world-building once I start.  I have several years of procrastination racked up in what was largely  loads and loads of hours creating the world for that book.  I know it like my home town.

Contrarily, when I write something in a world already built by the forces in the sky, I am almost a total pantster.  I talk about it a little, jot down scraps of things I want to remember, but just sit at my computer and write.  I brainstorm before starting—but once I start, I don’t want to stop.  I even ignore anyone who wants to talk about it.  Writers often assume fellow writers want advice… I ask for advice when I want it, and then run away from any opinions.  Because once I start, the brainstorm is already in progress, and nothing is going to stop it. Stories happen as I type, wads of paper, or weenie notebooks with snippets scattered around me.  Also candy wrappers.

What?  It’s my process.  Isn’t that fa-ha-scin-ating?

Yeah, yeah, everyone’s a critic.  BTW, was that YOU?  You gotta get that checked.  And pass the Glade.


  1. I don't stare. I open my Word doc. And I open solitaire. What?

  2. LOL!!!! I do a bit of staring too...but then my brain opens and many times my fingers can't type fast enough. I outline a little, but usually nothing real specific. I make notes if idea for later in the story pops into my head.

  3. I do a lot of thinking. A lot. Sometimes while napping.