My great friend and critique partner asked me today, How do you write your stories?
That's an interesting question that, I realized after a year of writing I now have a definitive answer for.
Having just completed my third full length manuscript it occurred to me that I have, albeit inadvertently created a style of writing that works for me.
People ask, are you a plotter or a pantser? I don't necessarily think I'm a plotter, but I wouldn't call myself a pantser either. I'm a unique hybrid that works with my style and personality.
When a story begins to form in my mind, the first thing I do is meet the characters. I want to know their names, have a general idea of what they look like and their basic personality. I begin to understand their flaws and how those flaws affect them. I want to know their past and how they look at the future. To me my characters are what drive the story, because I base the plot around their strengths and weaknesses to build conflict and tension.
Then I give them action. I plot out the major turning points of my story, including the black moment and resolution. But I never put those points on paper. It's all in my head.
Next I write the first couple of chapters. It could be one or three, but by this time my mind is already spiraling ahead in the story to the next place with the most tension, usually a first kiss or sex scene. Because I'm not a firm believer in delayed gratification, I typically write the scene right then.
After I finish, I pick up where I left off and continue to write until I reach the scene/chapter floating out there. This helps me build in tension and conflict along the way, setting up for the "money-shot" scene I've already created. I continue this process through the length of the book and typically the last chapter I write is the fourth or fifth chapter from the end.
Am I an odd ball in my process? Does anyone else do this?
So I pose the question to you, how do you write your stories? I'd love to know. Leave a comment