Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Do I Write?

I've been thinking about how I write, and realized I don't do it the same way as I used to. I used to just sit down and start writing. I can't do that anymore.I used to be a pantser.
What's that, you may be asking?
There are two types of writers -- plotters and pantser.
A plotter knows every detail of their wip (work in progress) before they start writing the first word. They outline the entire book, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. A pantser is a person who just starts to write. I'm somewhere in between the two. Before I start to actually write, I need to have a clear idea of my beginning (even though it may chance later on) and a sense of the ending. I also need to have lived with my heroine and hero for a while so I know them well.
I try to finish an entire first draft before doing any revising.
This routine works for me.
When I first started to write a hundred and fifty years ago (I'm only kidding here!), I tried different ways to plot out my story. My first story was a mess, going every which way, but I did finish it eventually. My second I decided to get serious and outline it. I got so bored with the whole idea I never even starting writing it. It wasn't until my fourth or fifth one, I  finally found the right way for me.
But now I'm changing my way again. The old way isn't working anymore. Being published, with contracted books that need to be finished by a certain time, and being an editor now, I need to find a different way to write. 
Now I'm plotting out not only the beginning and a clearer ending , but I'm also got a few important scenes to show me the way to the end. Some of these scenes change as I'm writing, getting to know the characters, but they keep me on track.
Just goes to show you never stop learning and changing.
Back in the beginning of my writing, I wrote my first drafts longhand. It was time consuming but I needed the slower pace to get the words right. And I did have a second draft by the time I typed all that hard-to-read longhand into a Word document. (Even I had a hard time reading my writing.)
I tried to do that the other day when my husband wouldn't give up the laptop, and I couldn't do it. Even with notes and characters ideas. I find it much easier to type everything now and save it on my hard drive.
So how do you write? Has it changed since you've started writing?

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post, Theresa - it's fascinating to me how other writers do it. I think, like you, my ways change and evolve constantly. Gone are the days of writing out long hand in a cafe on old envelopes etc. Though I like to think through the scenes and edit in my head before typing - that saves keyboard time - especially if there's only one laptop in the house...
    x x x