Recently I started a delightful email correspondence with a “newbie” fantasy writer, who asked me some questions about being “a professional writer.” I was thrilled at the chance to respond, and some of my answers to her questions turned out to be as enlightening for me as I hope they were for her. I thought I’d share a few and see if they give you any insight to your own and other writers’ processes.
1) Do you outline your story first or just write freely?
This is also known as being a plotter or a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants). I've always been a pantser. Write where ever the story and characters take me, never know what's coming next. Wrote myself into a lot of dead ends and corners that way! But lately I've been trying to reform. WHY? Because in order to survive as a published author (at least until you become as popular as and could sell your grocery list), you have to do something called sell on proposal. What's a proposal? Approximately the first 3 chapters of the book and an outline or synopsis of the rest of the story. Can't exactly do that if you don't plan a bit of the story ahead of time! So far this has been very difficult for me.
2)How long does it usually take for you to complete your story?
All three of my romantic suspense novels have taken me about a year to write and research. I'm trying to get faster, but again it's been a struggle.
3)What is the process you use to complete a story?
I'm a very linear writer. I start on page one of Chapter one and I write through to The End. At least on my first draft. Once I start revising, I skip around all over the story.
4)Do you write every day?
Usually, however, I can't write when I'm on a vacation. Lord knows, I've tried! My CP actually loaned me her Alpha Smart TWICE (both times I was on a cruise) and I never did use the dang thing. So lately, I've quit trying to write when I travel. But I do read... a lot!
6)Do you write by hand or type? Why?
Definitely type! My handwriting is so bad that even I can't read it sometimes. Plus, it is far easier to delete and cut & paste on the computer than cross out words and write between the lines and in the margins.
8) Are you a character writer or plot writer?
Actually, I think one depends on the other, so both.
9) Why do you write?
I've tried "not writing" and discovered I was not a happy person then. And you know the saying, "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" LOL! So as difficult and frustrating as writing can be sometimes, it still beats not writing ALL TO HECK!
If you want to see a slightly longer version of some of these answers just go to my post on the Casablanca Authors blog (click on the title of this post to take you there).