about my writing process


A friend of mine recently told me that she has never been as excited about a book as she is about Once Upon a Time in Iowa. She said it’s because she gets to watch my writing process as it happens. I warned her that I don’t know how long this is going to take. She promised to wait forever.

Alright, that last part may be a bit of a dramatization, but I’m a writer, what do you expect? Her words got me pumped, and they got me thinking. The pumped got me writing, the thinking brought you this post.

the beginning

It always starts the same. There’s a tickle of an idea. In the past, I always sat down and ran with it. A panster. A dive right in-er. A fly by the seat of my pants and pray for the best writer.

This time was a little bit different. First, there was research. I’ve never written historical fiction before. Oh, and I hated history class. It all sounded like lies to me.

Sticking to books written by people who were actually there has shown me how right I was. Like a game of telephone, the more it is shared, the more it changes. Side effect, I’m loving learning about the time period.

This time was also different because I sat down with many of the characters and conducted free writing sessions. { check out the tag character creation to read those writing sessions } It let me get to know them a bit, though nothing is set in stone. It also allowed me to think about life in 1871.

One day I just sat down and began writing Once Upon a Time in Iowa.

the writing

For me, writing comes in spurts. The first day, I’d written 500 words, and, by day two, I’d finished the first chapter. { read more } Within days, I was hopelessly blocked. I wrote a few paragraphs of what has now spawned into a storyline that I add on to randomly.

Some days I write so much that dinner lands on the table just a little bit late. Other days I couldn’t write a word if my life depended on it. I don’t force it. I let my characters come to me when they’re ready to tell their story.

the editing

Trust MS word for all of your editing needs

I can’t wait until the end to start editing. Upwards of 100,000 words all built together like a house of cards? No thank you. I write for a while, and then I go back to the beginning.

From the beginning, I fill in plot holes. I fix areas that are weak or excessive. I add in sections that allow for later chapters to actually make sense.

Today, I started back at the beginning of Once Upon a Time in Iowa. I had about 18 manuscript pages. I edited about 10 1/2 pages. It may have been a little less since I ended with 19. Even with all the cuts and rewrites, I was up 500 words.

#amwriting #amresearching

Once Upon a Time in Iowa is coming along at its own pace. Often times as I’m moving along, I have to stop to research a new idea. Historical fiction will do that to you. You have to check and make sure that idea could happen during the year you are writing in. Every time I’m headed in one direction, something happens to change it all. { read more }

I guess the truth is my writing process isn’t much of a process at all. It’s just writing. Writing is my process.

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