While editing a story, I have to be writing another. I dislike editing so much that I can't do it every single day. A break is required, or I might lose my mind... more than it's lost right now!
It's taken a few years for me to work myself up to writing novel-sized stories. For a long time, I wrote short stories exclusively. I didn't outline until the stories became more complicated. What came first, the outlining or the need for outlining? I'm not sure.
Around that time, I was gifted Scrivener from a good friend who beta reads most of my work. For those who don't know, Scrivener allows a writer to keep an outline with notecards in the same file as the story itself. It keeps research and photos in it as well. I haven't even touched on most of the things Scrivener can do, and I love it.
Before Scrivener, I had three or four files with notes, outlines, potential book blurbs, and the story itself. Now, it's all in the one Scrivener file.
The new story is about an integrity shopper named Casey. The outline came first, of course. I ran into a snag in the middle of outlining. This will be the first mystery I've written, so I'm caught up on the red herrings as well as the motive for the crime itself. I have a notebook for this story, which I haven't needed for the others. The rest is outlined there. Sometimes, I just have to see it on paper.
I've created all the characters I'll need in the story. The main character Casey and her entire family. I've given them all interesting characteristics like the younger brother who is a bit of a loveable screw up. Her mother who was a groupie during the time of 80s hair bands. And Casey's step-father who loves her as if he were her real father. The family restaurant, which is a character of sorts itself.
Those are the basic descriptions. I love creating characters. They'll have more depth than the labels I've given them here. I'm giving them broad strokes because I don't want to give away any secrets or hints!
I'm struggling a bit with how many characters are involved in this story. There are the family members including another brother, the employees of the restaurant, Casey's friends and a few store employees. I'll have to see how it evolves as I get into the meat of the story. Since, it's been half outlined forever. I decided to get started writing without my outline completed in the hopes that the story will evolve organically. It's how I wrote the short stories.
Even though I outline, I don't always stick to the outline. A story I wrote recently had a full outline when I started. I had to keep adjusting it as I added in details not in the story previously. Surprise twists usually happen like that. I won't stick rigidly to an outline if a semi-brilliant idea happens to land in my brain mysteriously from the ether. That would be silly.
Anyway, that's my writing process. Do you have a process that works for you? I'd love to hear about it. I like comparing notes with other writers. Do you sit down and write without a plan, or does it have to be outlined within an inch of its life?
That includes you bloggers, too! How do you write?