I struggled a lot with my first project. I read many books on the writing process and even attended some courses on it. I tried to be as systematic as possible and write by the rules. I learned valuable lessons and this helped me get through the process and finish my manuscript. However, I didn’t like the end result.
For this new second project, I started a couple of months ago, I tried to let it go and just be a pantser instead of a plotter. However as nice as it sounds to be a pantser, I also knew from my first experience, that there needed to be some infrastructure in the plot. Endless inspiration doesn’t take you to a perfect plot. And there are characters, my weakest point. The very reason why I let my first project remain dormant for the time being is that I ended not liking my characters at all. They needed and still need more development if I ever go back to that first project.
In this second project, I had started writing as a pantser, letting the words and scenes come to my mind as I wrote, but then I reached a point (a couple of days ago) where I didn’t know where I was heading and if characters were being developed as I wanted. So I did something I avoided since I started writing. I stopped after more or less 35000 words and went back to the first page to review it slowly. I know the manuscript is not even in the middle and I have no clue yet where the story is heading yet, but I felt the need to go over what I have written so far to make sure the 35000 words made sense and that the characters didn’t suck. If you’ve gone through writing advice, classes, etc, you will hear that they don’t recommend this approach that much, that editing while still writing might not be the best. But I found out that it actually helps me. I’m in time to detect current plot failures and find opportunities for character development. Who knows, with this initial review, the plot might get a twist and a new rewrite. At this point, I wouldn’t mind the re-writing. I’m not that far in the story. Rewriting 35000 words doesn’t feel as bad as rewriting more than 100 000.
This approach seems to work so far. Maybe it’s already suggested somewhere or maybe some other writers do something similar. I feel that it might the “thing” that works for me. I believe the purpose of getting experience with the writing process is to find your own path and your own method. My objective is that my first manuscript feels good. It doesn’t matter if I need to do a heavy editing after it. I just want to be able to feel that I’m telling a good story.
4 thoughts on “No rules for the writing process”
I got to this post after I read your “Unusual schedules as a Happiness Engineer”.I also want to become a Happiness Engineer with Automattic, and I also love writing! So, when I read that first blog mentioned above, and I realized that you love writing, I decided to pay a visit to your blog site to have a better idea of your writing style.
In my case, my passion for writing goes back to the year 2000, when I started writing my first screenplay (yes I love to write stories that can be transformed into films). Of course, before writing the first word for my first screenplay, I tried to get as much information as possible regarding the proper way to write a screenplay. And, it is precisely here where I think that I can share with you something that I consider very important for any project that I (or you) might want to start writing. If it is useful for you, then I will be glad to have shared with you an important tip that I learned for writers. Here goes the tip, with the words that remain in my mind after years of reading about it for the first time:
“Before writing the first word of your story, you should know your ending”
The explanation that I read after this tip is the following: if you don’t know the end of your story, before you start writing, you don’t know which direction is the correct one for your story.
I hope that the tip can help you in any way, and, by the way: I also love to receive feedback on the way I write. So, I will appreciate if you can visit the blog site that I started writing (with WordPress) on January 1st. with the purpose to get back on track with the use of this wonderful web tool, while I wait for instructions on the next step from Automattic.
Here is the link to my WordPress blog site:
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Thanks so much Ed for your comment and the tip, that is definitely a good tip 🙂
I will certainly take a look at your blog, and hope that everything goes really well with the Happiness Engineer application. If you have any questions about the role, just let me know 🙂
Go Carla!! I would be so excited to read your book 🙂
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