Writing is such a journey, and while we all seek the same destination (a published novel) the road to travel is vastly different. When we create the perfect novel, how do we do it? There seem to be two ends of the spectrum
Multi-drafter <————————————————————————————————–> Planner
Planners spend weeks, months, or years planning out their story. They know all details of their story from start to finish, and what they write is sometimes set in stone.
Multi-drafters find their story as they are writing. They do little or no planning before they start, and will rewrite their story many times. The final version of their story might be completely different from their first version.
Okay, so I must admit that I lean more towards a planner! I have over a dozen partially fleshed out ideas chasing each other in my brain, crying their non-existent eyes out for my attention. So while I pick one for the story to write, I don’t remain entirely faithful. I actually plan story B in my head while I am writing story A. Then when I am done with story A, I spend a week to a month plotting out my new novel on paper and allowing myself to do research. I know exactly what each chapter will contain; I know what the world looks like; and I know each of the characters individually, like a best friend. But, more often than not, I have the hardest time with names. Unless the title or the protagonist’s name comes right away, I go through names like I go through tissues when I have a very bad cold. (And yes, that does confuse my critique group. The names, not the tissues.) There are many things in my story that are set in my mind, but there are many things that I realize as I write my first draft. While I know that a certain event has to happen in chapter nine, I don’t know exactly why it will happen. But as I’m writing, all the final pieces fall into place and suddenly it all becomes clear! My story becomes complete.
So what are you? What is your writing process?