I love starting new stories. It’s like having a blank canvas in one hand and a painter’s palette full of colors in the other. I throw on one color, add another, mix. I consider depth and texture. I stand back. Hmm and haw. Have a new idea. Wash off the canvas and start again. I do this numerous times. It’s fun.
The book I’m working on is Eternal Danger, #4 in the Mata Hari Series.
Every writer has his/her own process. I’m constantly tweaking mine, but what works for me right now is a bit of planning and a lot of pantsing (i.e., writer speak for writing by the seat of my pants). I need the planning to give me structure and the pantsing to bring in the excitement.
I draft with Scrivener, so at this stage I’m playing with chapters on a cork board on my computer screen (see left picture). Slowly the skeleton of the story clicks into place: A Sadie action scene, Intro Marco -the bad guy, re-intro Khalid – the really bad guy, Sebastian the lover turns up… Twist point 1, a lot of blanks here… Twist point 2, more blanks… Crisis, denouement, which I actually know but don’t want to share, the end. I imagine scenes in my head and write a few. I plunk them in, see how they look, move them around like furniture in a room, knowing that now is the best time to rearrange the parts. “Emotion, emotion, emotion…” I say to myself.
When I’m confident I have a skeleton I can work with, I create a physical four-part storyboard, I adopted after reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, with color coded scenes, on a large white board beside my desk. I know this is a redundant effort, but the kinesthetic experience of moving scenes helps me. I’ll be honest, my muse likes it and I don’t mess with her.
Then I start writing.
After months of editing, proofreading and formatting, getting back to storytelling is like dancing in heaven.
That’s what I’m up to. Do you have a set process for writing or creating things? Has it changed over time? Is your muse cooperative or cantankerous (mine can be both). Love to hear from you.