MY NEW WRITING PROCESS: I THINK I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING
Lately writing feels more and more like a job. I get up, get my coffee, and sit down to do my job that I know how to do. It feels weird. It's new. I used to just wake up and start writing. You know, gleefully banging at the keys, hoping I know what I'm doing. Now it's different.
I plot every scene ahead of time, I read a chapter from a book on plotting, I decide on the conflict, on the scene goal, on the scene conflict, on the scene disaster, then I read my notes from the previous day, then I read an example of prose I like to emulate, then I plan out the scene (and all its turns and emotional shifts) in an Excel spreadsheet, and only after all of this do I begin writing. Which doesn't quite look like writing anymore, either. It's mostly thinking and speaking aloud one line until I get it right. It can take up to 30 times for me to repeat it. With dialogue it can take up to 50. So at the end of my new writing day I end up with 300-800 words, tops. On rare days (like today) I can get to 1,200. But the number of words no longer matters. What matters is, did I stay on track? Did the scene question get answered? Did every character play their role? Did the scene and the way the characters behaved fit into the act and into the overall story? So it's really like math, or like engineering.
Don't think I don't feel things and write like a robot. Far from it. I cry and rage and laugh and cringe as usual. But now I'm freed up from anxiety of having to wonder if I will hit the nail on the head. It's much easier to fix things that don't sound right. I have craft tools at my disposal to use to detect the problem. It's nothing short of amazing. I think TUBE will be my best writing yet, and The Dacha Murders will be even better.
In light of this change, as you've seen me rant on shiny internets, you asked how different it is, this new writing process, and how and why it changed, and what impact it had on my productivity and output. I shall use this post to answer your questions, and more.