Writing

My Novel Writing Process

I’ve written some novels in my lifetime. But whenever I undertake a new one, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to the end. This is a glimpse into my writing process.

Brainstorming

I’m a character-centric writer. Always have been, always will be. So I tend to come up with an interesting person and throw conflict at him or her as I go.

Outlining

Based on past experience, if I had to outline every novel for the rest of my life, I’d be on pace to never finish another one ever again. I sort of outline in my head. Depends on your definition of outlining though.

Writing

It isn’t too bad once I get past the beginning and middle.

Researching

I tend to research after I finish an initial draft where I brainstorm my own ideas first.

Waiting

I like to wait a long time in between writing the first draft and all that follows after.

Transcribing  

I handwrite most of my novels, so at some point, I have to type everything up onto the computer.

Critiquing

The one novel I sought feedback on was incomplete at the time, and it still is about six years after the fact. At least I like critiquing my own work. I’d much rather crush my own ego than have someone else do so.

Rewriting

I enjoy losing my sanity and seeing improvements at the same time.

Editing

Some stories don’t even get this far. What a shame.

Publishing

Obviously, I’m not at this stage yet. If my dreams come true, I don’t know how I’ll refrain myself from talking about my books.

Procrastinating

I procrastinate so much it’s a miracle I get anything done on time. Sadly, I put things off at all stages of the novel writing process. Nothing like consistency, am I right?

Reading

Even when I’m writing a novel and it’s a priority like during NaNoWriMo, I try to read as much as I can. Books inspire me. Other stories have inspired my own.

Celebrating

I celebrate the small victories as much or maybe even more than the big ones. I believe in rewarding myself. Otherwise, my motivation would be six feet under.

What’s your novel writing process like? I’d love to know.

Editing

My Problem With Peer And Self Review

Let me start by saying I love one and hate the other. Care to hazard a guess?

In high school, I hated peer review sessions. Who doesn’t jump with joy at exchanging work with classmates and giving feedback for improvement?

I didn’t get a lot of helpful or useful comments from others. People tossed my essay back and told me it was perfect. I fumed inside because I knew my first draft was not even close to perfection. Imagine a world where first drafts were great.

I almost always came out of peer review workshops feeling a bit frustrated. OK, a lot.

Even though I tried my best to give constructive criticism, some people didn’t reciprocate. I don’t blame them. More than any other institution, I feel like in high school people are at a completely different level on their journey. Don’t get me started with teenage maturity.

To be fair, editing is hard. Giving feedback isn’t a walk in the park. But I guess what bothered me the most was the people who didn’t take it seriously. I can picture fourteen year old me making comments and suggestions while everyone else around me talked about whatever high schoolers talk about. I grew up fast.

Obviously, the more I edit other people’s work, the better I am at reviewing my own work. That said, I can’t look at my writing the same way someone else can. Still, I should charge a premium anytime someone asks me for feedback.

I’ve never given much thought as to what I think about when editing my own work.

I care about consistency and clarity whenever I’m critiquing. I also love brevity as much as the best blog reader. Wordiness will likely be the death of me.

Ever since I’ve learned about parallel structure, I’m careful around lists. This ties in with consistency to an extent. If you have two verbs in your list, I don’t want to see a noun phrase at the end of it. That’s guaranteed to drive me crazy.

Shout out to all the writers who have amazing flow. I aspire to write like you. Because I never outline, my first drafts are a hot mess.

Surprise, I’m such a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference. But I like rule breakers within reason. I’m one myself. Tough to get around not doing things by the book in academia though.