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Writing Wednesday: My Writing Process & First Check-In

Time for the first check-in of round 4 already. Not really too much to report as it’s only been a couple days. I think I’m going to keep Wednesday’s check-ins as a more general overview of how I’m doing and have a more in-depth review on Sundays.

Writing: I’ve written a little less than 2000 words so far this week. Monday was good, but haven’t done as well yesterday or today. Hopefully will make up for it during the last part of the week. I’ll have official word counts on Sunday though.

Plotting: I finished brainstorming for the NaNo project which now as a working title of “Healing the Heart”. We’ll see if that stays or changes as I plan more and start to write.

Editing: Haven’t managed a whole lot on this. Last week, I started editing the MS Word version of it, then went to do edits in scrivener this week and decided I’d rather just do it all in Scrivener and not have to deal with Word. So, spent Monday making the edits I’d done before on the Scrivener version as well.

Reading: I finished reading Parallel by Claudia Lefeve on Monday. Started reading Jaguar Sun by Martha Bourke and am about 75% through that now.

Social Media: Changed my posting schedule up a bit and got posts up on both Monday and Tuesday. And have commented on 1 blog post. Still need to catch up with those who have commented on my blog this week.

Health: Have kept up with keeping track of calories in/out on My Fitness Pal. Almost forgot to do it at all yesterday. Haven’t done too well at keeping within my budgeted calories, but haven’t gone too far over either. And I’ve walked on the treadmill twice this week. Doing a mile a day this week and will increase that by 1/2 a mile each week.

I did have the rest of this at the top of this post but decided to move it down for anyone who only wanted to read my check-in.

In one of the comments on my goals post, someone suggested writing about my writing process. I figured this being the first check-in and so, a short one, I would include this. I do like the idea of writing about something writing related along with the check-ins instead of just a straight forward I did this and this and this. That won’t include advice, as I’m not much of an advice giver, and as I’m not currently published, don’t feel my advice would hold much weight anyway. So this is really just what seems to be working for me.

Before I even start writing, I do some brainstorming. I’ll already have the idea for plot or at least a character, but usually not much more than that. I’ll start with a mind map of that idea, depending on what it is. For the one I’m writing now, it was a plot idea. So, I did that first, then went on to do some maps for characters as well. The one I’m plotting now, to start on in November, started with an idea for a character from the WiP I just finished in August. So, I started with a map for her character, then went on to brainstorm the plot and a couple other characters.

Once that initial brainstorming phase is complete, which usually takes less than a week, I move on to more in-depth plotting. For me, that starts with the Snowflake Method. I became aware of this last year before starting NaNoWriMo in November. It makes sense for me, since you basically start with a small idea and expand on it. So, I write up a one sentence summary then expand on that to a paragraph. Then comes a one-page summary of the characters with a summary of their story line, their motivation(s), goal(s), conflict(s), and epiphany. After that, I expand the earlier paragraph into about a page, and that into about 5 pages. Each sentence is expanded to a paragraph and each of those paragraphs  into a page of its own. I also like to do the backstory of the main characters from their point of view about this time. There are a couple other steps to this method, but I don’t do them. This can take me up to about 2 weeks to finish.

With my current WiP, Flames of Redemption, I did even more plotting. I used the blueprint and novel notebook templates that Kait Nolan has on her site. It only took me a day or so to fill each in and helped me develop the story a little more.

Once all that plotting is done, I still don’t start writing right away. First, I make out a calendar for the story’s timeline then do note cards for each scene, including the title of the scene, a quick summary of it, the character’s in it, the POV character, setting, and which plotline it goes with. Then, I set up each of those scenes in Scrivener. And then I start a playlist on Spotify for the story. I like to use what fits the mood of what I’m working on, which usually isn’t what I normally listen to(country). For my last WiP, Slow Revenge, I had Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Seether, among others. For my current one, Flames of Redemption, I still have some of that but also soundtracks from the movies “Backdraft” and “Ladder 49” which fit since the WiP deals with firefighters. And then I make up a spreadsheet to keep track of how much I’ve written.

Once that’s done, which in total takes me a little less than a month, I finally start writing. And I start from the beginning. I’ve found that I have difficulty jumping around. I always worry about having to go back and change some big detail I got wrong if I skip some scenes. I do tend to add in quite a few I didn’t have planned as I write though. I added in three between two of my planned scenes for Flames of Redemption right at the beginning.

While I’m writing, I wake up at 4:30 and am usually at the computer by 5. Since my daughter is up at 6 for school, that gives me about an hour of writing time. I can usually get between 500-1000 words written during that time. Sometimes it’s less, and occasionally more. But, I have found that morning is my best writing time. I can usually get some more words out later in the day, but it’s more of a struggle for me. I don’t set an alarm on the weekends, but will write if I wake up before the kids(and the husband). I don’t hold myself to writing those days though, so it’s a bonus. My personal minimum during the week is 500 words a day, although there have been times when I haven’t even made that. I like to keep my average for on days I write to be at least 750 though. I usually have the first draft done in 3-4 months, depending on my speed.

After I have written “The end”(although I don’t usually actually write those words), I set it aside. Work on something else for at least a month. Once that month or more has passed, I open it back up and read over it. I try to read it as quickly as I can, and usually set aside an hour a day in the afternoon for this. I highlight any areas that just don’t sound right. This can take me a couple weeks. That’s as far as I went before sending my last novel to beta readers. I’m going through my novella I wrote this past March now, and I’m going through it several times, checking it over for something different each time. I’m really still working on my editing process though. And right now, I have a project in each of these stages.


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