Back to My Roots

FullSizeRender

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Heflin

There are as many writing processes as there are writers out there. We each have to pick the one that work’s best for us. On the other hand, we’re all striving to write faster, better, and more efficiently. Whether it’s writing software, plotting tools, character questionnaires, craft books, live courses, or webinars, we’re all searching for the Holy Grail.

I’m more of a pantster than a plotter. I have a general idea where the story is going, what the conflicts are, what background contributed to my character’s flaws, and where it’s set. But, I like to see where the story takes me. It’s part of the fun of writing. I ponder my characters for a couple weeks before I even sit down to write. By the time I sit down, I have a pretty good picture of who they are. During the course of the story, I get to know them even better, and by the end of the book, they’ve revealed even more of themselves to me. I also typically edit as I go. It helps me get back into the story at the beginning of each writing session, and I have a fairly clean first draft.

With my latest book, Dreams of Her Own, due out January 27th, I decided to try a new process. It was a mash-up of different processes I’d read about, different worksheets, etc. So, I plotted the major points, tried really hard not to edit as I wrote (and let me tell you, that was like asking me to abstain from chocolate), aimed for weekly word count goals (which I do anyway), and just put words on the screen.

Well, it was a disaster. The first draft was a disaster, which completely stressed me out. And despite painstaking editing prior to submitting the manuscript, the revisions I received from my editor were some of the most extensive I’ve received thus far, and included a major rewrite. Which, of course, stressed me out even more. The release date had to be pushed back because of the rewrite. Sigh.

This experience taught me a lesson. It’s fine to experiment with new processes, but keep in mind, they may not improve your writing, and in fact, they may make it worse. I’m going back to my roots. For me, writing faster isn’t necessarily writing more efficiently.

What’s your writing process? Have you ever tried changing it up? What was the result?

Advertisements

About Rebecca Heflin

I've dreamed of writing romantic fiction since I was fifteen and my older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to me and told me to read it. Now I write women's fiction and contemporary romance under the name Rebecca Heflin. In case you're wondering, Rebecca Heflin is an abbreviated version of my great-great grandmother's name: Sarah Anne Rebecca Heflin Apple Smith. Whew! And you wondered why I shortened it. When not passionately pursuing my dream, I am busy with my day-job at a large state university or running the non-profit cancer organization my husband and I founded. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, Savvy Authors, and Florida Writers Association. My mountain-climbing husband and I live at sea level in sunny Florida.
This entry was posted in According to Rebecca, Soul Mate Publishing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Back to My Roots

  1. Our process is different for all of us, Rebecca, that is so true. I have found compromising between pantsing and plotting is the best for me – a process I’ll talk about when I blog for SMP on Jan 25th!
    Thanks for sharing your *painful* process experiment!

    Claire Gem

  2. I did very much the same thing. I tried scene and chapter plotting with a flow chart. Whereas before I knew my story and where I wanted it to go–I just followed my characters hearts–now I tried to organize. It failed for me. Constricting my writing to a format, I went nowhere. The result is I learned that as a writer I can’t color within the lines, so to speak.

    I also edit as I go, I find it alleviates writer’s block and reinspires me. I did gain one useful tool and that is detailed character studies, inclusive of birth dates. A tip from Cherry Adair, it forces you to use a wide range of astrological traits and tendencies both negative and positive which enhance your characters.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami
    The One (The Only One) #1
    The One & More (The Only One) #2
    Coming 2016 – One More Time is Not Enough (The Only One) #3
    http://bookshow.me/TheOne
    http://bookshow.me/TheOneAndMore
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/belle.ami.96?fref=ts
    Twitter: @BelleAmi5
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/belleami96/
    Website: http://belleami.us

  3. Commented, Fb’d & Tweeted

    Writing as Belle Ami

    The One (The Only One) #1

    The One & More (The Only One) #2

    Coming 2016 – One More Time is Not Enough (The Only One) #3

    http://bookshow.me/TheOne

    http://bookshow.me/TheOneAndMore

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/belle.ami.96?fref=ts

    Twitter: @BelleAmi5

    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/belleami96/

    Website: http://belleami.us

  4. NevaBrown says:

    I seem to amble along with my characters, never very confident that I know where we are going until we get there. However, edit as I go long is a must for this old English teacher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s