Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Everyone is different, and every writer is no exception. When I started writing my first book in 1993, I heard about writing voice and writing process, not really understanding what either meant. By the time I completed my fifth book and signed with my first agent in 2007, I not only knew exactly what writing voice is, but I’d found mine and it was well developed; plus, I’d learned various types of writing processes from countless authors through the years. While those authors explained details on their writing process, I knew it wasn’t the only way to write fiction, even though it often sounded that’s what those authors were saying. Many things about the publishing industry and writing fiction can confuse new and inexperienced writers.
Even the plotter vs. panster techniques can be misleading, suggesting a writer is either one or the other. I’m definitely a panster (write by the seat of my pants), but that doesn’t mean I’m never a plotter, and that’s okay – I allow my muse to work the way it wants when it wants. No restricting rules; my muse is in control.
POV is one of the biggest topics I’ve found writers debate with strong conviction, suggesting there’s only one way to correctly write POV. I’ve read excellent books by successful authors who are: 1) POV purists 2) POV non-purists 3) POV head hoppers, and 4) Everything in between. Some authors’ method of writing POV can differ from book to book, making each new book of theirs unpredictable and fresh. Obviously, there’s multiple ways to write POV. What works for one writer, doesn’t work for all writers. Similarly, what doesn’t work for one writer doesn’t make it the incorrect way to write it. As a reader, I want an enthralling story with fascinating characters within a well written book that I don’t want to put down, even at two o’clock in the morning. The details on how it’s written, including POV, are up to the author’s unique imagination and individual style. I’m a POV non-purist; meaning, regardless if it’s at the end of a chapter/ scene or smack in the middle of one, if it’s best for the characterization/scene/story, etc. to change the POV, then I change the POV exactly where it’s best to do so. However, I focus on writing that change with clarity and an easy flow transition.
So, in 2007 after years of learning varied types of writing processes, reading countless novels, and writing my first five books, I developed my own writing process – the one that works for me based on trial and error.
My writing process:
On a daily basis, and without any effort or cognizant thought on my part, opening scene ideas simply pop into my brain. These “situations” (always suspense in nature) play out in my head as naturally as my respiratory system inhales and exhales. However, I jot down the ideas for future use since I’m always writing my next book, working on copy edits and galleys on my upcoming release or marketing my current release. Sure, story ideas are plentiful for me, but not all of them are strong enough for a 400-page suspense novel, and some of them I forget before I even have the change to write them down (at times I’m out doing something adventurous and not able to jot it down).
When it’s time to turn one of those jotted down “situation ideas” into a book, I allow my writer brain free-rein to write that first scene then the rest of the book. I write and write, focusing mostly on action and dialogue (think: screenplay), until I have a full rough draft. After I’ve completed that full first draft, I decide the GMCs (Goal, Motivation and Conflicts of all main characters) and the plot points, then I integrate those into the manuscript via deep revisions. Also via deep revisions, I flesh out characterization, add description and research. Then I read the entire manuscript and improve on everything that needs revising. I let it sit for several weeks, allowing the story and characters to ferment in my mind for further revisions. After I revise again, I send it to all my critique partners and beta readers. Once I receive it, I read through the insightful input all my critique partners and beta readers supplied me. I heavily revise. Finally, I polish: I print out the entire manuscript, read every word on every page and revise anything necessary.
My writing process isn’t that rigid, and I revise more than I stated above, but you get the general idea. Every writer is so different. If you’re a writer, what process works for you? If for whatever reason your process isn’t working and you’re struggling, try other methods until you find what does work for you. If you never give up trying, you eventually will find your unique and individual writing process.
For details on what led me to write that first book in 1993, visit my WRITING page on my website: www.diannatbenson.com
After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding toA medical emergencies and helping people in need.
Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children. Final Trimester is her second release.