The seven things about my writing process
meme, nabbed with affection and thanks from eponymous_rose
1. Almost without exception, I get my initial writing ideas while traveling. By foot, by bus, by train - particularly while driving, which tells you something about my less-than-stellar driving habits. I almost always listen to music as I commute, and I think a combination of music and passing scenery knocks loose the necessary inspiration from my logical mind's usual death grip.
2. I am a compulsive researcher, but it's not as much about accuracy as the strange, formerly unimagined directions new information can inspire in a story. I want to take as much knowledge about a subject as possible, stuff it all in my brain, and then rattle it around until something surprising comes out. Research is also an excellent way to procrastinate when you're avoiding a particularly challenging scene or dauntingly important moment.
3. I almost never write anything by hand. When I used to work at Borders and would spend miserable late night hours alone at the registers, I would occasionally draw incomprehensibly abstract diagrams outlining the plot and pacing of whatever I was working on, but aside from research, all prewriting, outlines and brainstorming live only in my head.
4. A story doesn't seem real to me until I have a title. Which is problematic, because thinking of a title SUCKS. Most of my titles are either obvious one-word nonsense or song lyrics. Once I've decided on a title, I get very attached to it and rarely change my mind; Tomorrow Is a Long Time
is the rare exception. It started out as a very different sort of story (smaller, quieter, shorter) and was called Eastward, in Eden
. Then one day I was listening to Pandora and Bob Dylan's Tomorrow Is a Long Time
came up, and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before. It was perfect for what the story had grown into, and just like that Eastward, in Eden
was a thing of the past.
5. In a book I read recently about writing, the author talked about the almost trance-like state many writers find themselves in as they write. This made a lot of sense to me, as it somewhat explains my habit of listening to the same song on repeat for hours at a time while I write. I know lyrics distract some people as they write, but I swear I don't even hear them - I just need the same song playing, over and over and over again. (This is why my friend who follows me on last.fm is convinced that I am a psychopath. She says it's unsettlingly Shining
6. I always, always edit as I write. I've been told this is a bad habit, but I can't stop myself. I can't move on to the next sentence until this one is just right
. This is probably why I am, it would seem, the slowest writer in fandom. (This doesn't mean, of course, that I don't still make mistakes - as those who beta for me can tell you.)
7. When something isn't working and I can't see how to fix it, I do what my favorite high school English teacher told me to do: take out the part you love the best. Chances are, I'm keeping it in just because I love it, and not because it serves the story as a whole. I hate this advice, but it almost always works. (Though I do have a file full of well-loved rejects bits from all my stories. Just in case. )