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What does your writing process look like?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Zeleis, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Zeleis

    Zeleis Squib

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    Simple question really. I'm curious as to how you guys go about planning and writing your works. Do you do a lot of research beforehand? Do you outline extensively? How many drafts do you write? + any other details you think worthy of sharing.

    When I first get inspiriation for a piece of writing I always spend a long time (weeks/months) thinking it over in my head. Not in too much depth at this stage, I just try and get a vague understanding of the sort of story I want to write and then a tentative idea of how I want to go about constructing it. I usually end up constructing a few fragmented scenes that I really want to include when I start writing.

    When it comes to proper planning, I tend to do a lot of research as my first priority if I know that i want my fic to feature some complex technical or ideological plot points. After that I'll write character profiles for major and side characters so that I've got it clear in my head how they're supposed to look and feel at the start of the fic. I outline quite extensively. I like knowing exactly where I want to go with a story and I like knowing how I'm going to get there.

    After I finish planning, I theoretically would write multiple drafts but I invariably end up writing maybe a single chapter of my first draft before consigning the whole project to the void, never to be seen again.

    And you?
     
  2. James

    James Auror

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    Step 1: get an idea
    Alt: read an interesting idea with bad romance/hermione/bashing
    Step 2: imagine a story
    Step 3: research problems/questions
    Step 4: don’t write a word
    Step 5: ?????
    Step 6: profit
     
  3. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I daydream, but like at the page.
     
  4. Knightwing

    Knightwing First Year

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    I just do some research, and then rant about fascism for a few thousand words, delete that, and make something half coherent.
     
  5. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    Yeah I have this conundrum where if I write without a plan, i write a lot. But if I write with a plan, I write way better. Still trying to figure out how to balance the two.
     
  6. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Chief Warlock

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    Here's me for the last five years:

    1. read every decent story in a particular fandom... and a lot of not so decent ones.
    2. get hyped about a fairly decent plot
    3. lots of research and create characters for the story
    4. write the first five to ten thousand words
    5. realize it's a steaming pile of shit
    6. change fandoms
    7. read every decent story in a particular fandom... and a lot of not so decent ones.
    8. get hyped...
    9. fuck, I'm going in circles
    10. ????
    11. No profit.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    I prefer to research on an as-needed basis, though that's still a bit subjective. I can have ninety five wikipedia tabs open, and sometimes I do, but the text won't sound like it was written by an expert in a particular subject unless it is, so I decide that I've researched something enough when I feel like I understand it well enough for the purposes of that particular chapter. I don't really have any interest in outlining or drafting. I think for my next major story I might try having an outline, just to see what that's like, but I would not enjoy having to write a story if I've already decided every single thing that's going to happen, leaving nothing to take shape in the process. I don't abandon any of my projects partly because I get annoyed at other authors who do that, and partly because it's wasted effort.
     
  8. Download

    Download Groundskeeper ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm very good at coming up with ideas and hashing out scenes as I'm standing in the shower or as I try to get to sleep. It does not translate as well when I actually sit down to write, even just as notes.

    When I do actually get to planing things I try to write a few paragraphs on the overall story, including a start point, stuff that happens in the middle and then a conclusion.

    I then try to summarise the themes I want to cover. In here I try to explain how I want characters to develop, what they will experience and how that changes them. After that I try to write out a list of events that happen in order of occurrence, before trying to lump them into chapters or chapter arcs. Single chapters or chapter arcs should end with some conclusion that concludes the events of that chapter, and chapter or chapter arcs should start in a way that fits in with previous chapters about the characters (as in if you are following separate groups or characters, from those characters last chapter)

    Of course, if you have a non-linear story you need to modify the system a bit, but the chapters still need to connect together linear from the readers perspective, even if the story is jumping around.

    After that I try to write chapters. Quite often as I'm writing a chapter it will flow into different themes or points than from what I originally I wanted to make with that chapter (usually points I wanted to make further on but sometimes new ideas as well), so I try to edit my planning to reflect that.

    As for research, I generally do it as I recognise the need for it. I will do research in the planing stages if I recognise research is needed, but more often than not I will run into it mid chapter and have to stop to look something up. A recent example being that I noticed the way I was writing a character in a scene looked a lot like depersonalisation. Knowing something about it and having experienced a few bouts of it as a child I decided to roll with the idea, but badly written PTSD/response to traumatic events is a strong pet peeve of mine so I stopped there and ran off to investigate it more before writing anything else.

    Also I suggest if you can manage it having several chapters going at once. It's easier if you have multiple plot lines or characters/group being followed, but you can do it with a single plot line too. You almost certainly will have to change things a bit as earlier chapters get finished, but being able to move onto another chapter if you get bogged down or stuck on something really helps with getting the words to paper.

    I've actually got five chapters that are mostly done for one story at the moment. The first is stuck because the flow of the dialogue needs work, the second is stuck because half-way through I got stuck on a scene and decided to move the later half's topics to another chapter and pull stuff from later chapters to that chapter and I need to rethink how it connects, the third is stuck because I jumped into it without a middle, the fourth's end depends on if an unwritten chapter goes the way I planned or not, and the fifth is a last minute addition when I realised unfinished chapter one needs more back story and character development (as in the characters seem to be too buddy-buddy from where they were the chapter before it).

    I've not published a chapter on that story in a year, but I have put away 30k words on the story out of the ~100k I've written this year.
     
  9. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I fire off countless plot bunnies @Jon then immediately get distracted by Gawr Gura and forget everything.
     
  10. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Once or twice a year I'll open my laptop, sit down, crank out twelve thousand words in a day and then not write anything else until the next occasion.
     
  11. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    I twirl three times and pretend I'm a princess in a dress, while listening to a villainess playlist.

    And then words appear.
     
  12. Ave Imperium

    Ave Imperium First Year

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    My first draft is basically the end result because if I wanted to revise I would go write professionally.
    Same for research.

    Other than that, I sketch out plans using charts on a piece of paper and collect all my little ideas into a document. I write everything by hand first in a notebook then transcribe it to my computer for spellchecking and minor revisions. I almost always write each scene in one go without stopping to think or take a break and then barely look back.
     
  13. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

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    Like this but once every two months instead and only 800 words.

    Also, occasionally I'll get shocked out of sleep right before I fully fall asleep, grab my phone and write like 200 hundred words of a plot that I think is the greatest thing ever. Then I wake up and it's either gibberish, shit idea, or okay scene but I have no idea what larger plot its tying into.

    Being entirely serious, I'm shit at planning plots so my writing process is basically just hoping my brain is up to doing hard work that day and writing a ton of scenes out.
     
  14. Zeleis

    Zeleis Squib

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    I do wonder sometimes if it would be best to cut back on research and outlining and just get something substantial on the page. I feel like a get burned out by an idea before I’ve even made any good progress with writing it haha.

    I’ve developed an outline heavy approach to any sort of formal writing due to my time at university and I feel like trying to write something without a heavily structured outline backing me up would be a very alien experience. But seeing as I never get into the meat of writing any fiction anyway it might be worth a shot.
     
  15. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Chief Warlock

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    Tried that one time... started writing, got a good ways in and realized I needed to clarify a detail. Did the bare minimum of research and realized I'd screwed up something so bad that totally undid the whole plot idea I had. Ultimately fixable... probably, but it totally killed the creativity I had going, and then writers block came and sat down on my keyboard.
     
    Jon
  16. Steelbadger

    Steelbadger Unspeakable

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    At this point, my process seems to work fairly well:
    1. Idea Generation: Mostly just idle imaginings, or the result of conversations or reading/watching something new. A few of these ideas strike me as being interesting possibilities. Once I think it's interesting, I make a GDocs folder for it, and make a couple of 'prompt-like' lines which are meant to capture the concept as briefly as possible.
    2. Feasibility Study: Takes place over months. Every time I think of some idea which could fit with a story, I take a note of it. They don't have to work together. It's really just a case of spitballing. Stories need to reach a certain density before I decide it's interesting enough to bother taking further.
    3. Conceptual Solidification: Takes weeks. I spend a pretty significant amount of time reading my ideas and working out a core theme for the story. I then select the ideas that match the theme, and start to flesh out characters and extremely broad plot concepts with those things in mind.
    4. Find the Plot: Based on characters, themes and plot concepts, I try to build up a chapter-by-chapter plan. These aren't necessarily all that detailed. A small paragraph per chapter. But they give me a good idea of length and complexity of the story. Sometimes at this point I realise the story doesn't have enough... stuff.
    5. Write the Fucking Thing: Just write it. Start at the first chapter, finish with the last.
    6. Edit: ????
    7. Post: Profit.
    Steps 1. and 2. aren't really an active process. That all happens alongside other stuff. Steps 3. and 4. are more active, but I usually have a story or two in this phase to use as a kind of palate cleanser when I get lost in whatever it is I'm writing, of just want to have some fun doing something more freeform.

    5. and 6. are randomly interspersed with pauses of a couple of weeks while I go off and do some Shadow of Angmar stuff. Research happens at all levels, but tends to be very surface-level in the earlier stages. 3. and 4. see the most research, then 5. should hopefully only involve research for things like character flavour, or inspiration for world descriptions.
     
  17. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    https://forums.darklordpotter.net/threads/how-do-you-write.31993/page-2#post-891150
     
  18. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    My writing process is weird. I get an idea (almost always just a rad title), throw together a one-page, basic character + one sentence plot summary, and then outline from there. My outlines generally get as detailed as beat by beat, sometimes I think of a good line of dialogue and throw it in there, and go start to finish. I then re-outline with any framework tweaks I want. After that, I usually sticky-note the paper with any non-plot details that I can think of as important off the top of my head. Then I open a Google Doc and try and get the actual writing down. If I hit a wall, then my outline contains something that I don't want to or can't write, and I troubleshoot that. Sometimes that means my outline's fucked and I gotta restructure my plot entirely, and sometimes it's just something wonky that's an easy fix. Repeat the last steps until the fic is finished. The reason I never fucking finish anything is because I hit a wall in a scene and absolutely loathe the idea of going back through and troubleshooting, even though once I end up doing it, I'm back to hitting thousands of words in one sitting. So I end up having a fuckton of cool ass fics with like 1k or 2k words and a title sitting in my Google Docs without me having done anything else with it. On the far other side of the spectrum, I have an 80k fic, first of five, and all five outlined completely, but I hit a fucking wall in the first fic that I haven't decided how I want to resolve yet, so it's been sitting there collecting dust for almost 3 years.
     
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