This post is going to be a little different from the posts I normally write. This is because this post is going to be about writing, particularly my writing process.

There are many things that happen with a writer when it comes to embarking on the journey of being a novelist. In their journey, they begin to find their novelist voice. Part of that is finding a methodology. What is your process of writing? This is important to pinpoint because this is the seat of where your creativity will flourish. It is the foundation from which your ideas will have a framework to mature. If everything is always hodgepodge with no concrete process to follow to maximize your writing sessions, then it will always be a struggle to write anything of any particular length, let alone anything of any particular worth.

Every writer has a different writing style and process. There are many ways to find this and much of it is through trial and error. It is not copying somebody else’s process unless that process is the process that works for you. Many times, it is an amalgam of different techniques and methods pulled from here and there created as your own.

No one has ever asked me what my writing processes. I don’t even think anybody really cares what my writing process is. So why would I write this post? Two reasons really.

The first is so I have something written out before my eyes. S omething I can refer back to and tweak as I go. I like to see my progression as a writer, where I’ve been and how I’ve grown. So in a sense, it is keeping track of the details of my novelist hiostory.

Second. on the off chance, there may be one person that’s curious as to how I write my novels. So I’ve decided to lay out the particular process I’ve developed over the years which has been more refined as recent as my last book Blacksons Revenge. That’s the thing about a process. It’s always developing.

Third. Someone may be trying to find their process. What works and what doesn’t. I don’t claim to be an expert and I’m not trying to be. I’m a writer. I write. That’s what I do. How I do that may help others so they can write themselves. I’ve been there. So maybe aspiring writers may find nuggets of wisdom and can take something away they can add to their personal writing journey repotoire.

Whether or not I will keep this process as is remains to be seen. However, I am confident in saying I don’t see myself deviating from it any time soon because it is the process that works for me in terms of productivity.

So for the one and a half people interested, here is my writing process. Or at least part one of it. This is in the order I perform them.

Character Profiles

This is probably the most important aspect of my writing (prewriting) process. I go through a rather rigorous and detailed character creation regimen. Those who are part of the RIU will know this when they see my character profiles in the Veiled Athenaeum.

Part of this stems from playing roleplaying games (yep. I’m one of those geeks). The better roleplayers out there tend to create backgrounds for their characters that are rather involved. I’ve expanded on that when I create characters for my novels.

Another part stems from the fact that in terms of my writing style, I am probably 65% character-driven and 35% plot-driven. For me and apparently for most people who read novels, it’s all about the characters. If you don’t have interesting characters people can relate to in some way shape or form, you’ve probably lost them and they won’t want to read the book. Boring characters make for boring stories and a plot-driven novel just becomes more interesting if the characters are.

Character profiles take me a considerable amount of time to complete. There is the main character or characters. After that, you have the antagonist(s) and then any major supporting characters that will show up regularly. For Blackson’s Repentance, there are ten characters who needed to be fleshed out.

In addition, I like to have a picture in my mind of how these characters look. That may be a drawn picture which is the case for Adlai Blackson since he adorns all of the covers. I like to think of my novels as a precursor to a movie and begin to cast actors in their respective roles as if I was the casting director. Sometimes these are actors and sometimes they are just people who look like the person I have in my head. I’ll do research and pull images down off of the Internet then slide that into the character profile. This takes a considerable amount of time and preparation (I’m picky) but once it is all said and done, I know what my characters will and will not do. I know what they eat. I know how they think. I know what annoys them. I know what they like. I don’t have to do a guessing game as I’m writing the character into the book but the knowledge of this character written beforehand makes writing the story more fluid. I don’t really have to think hard if I’m writing a section in the book and think about what that character may do. At that point, they just write themselves. That makes the whole writing process that much more enjoyable.

Outline

I am not a pantser. I don’t sit down, start writing, and see what comes up. I’ve tried that before and it’s just not how my mind works. I’m an outliner. Or what is commonly known as a plotter though that description is not accurate. I am a planner. I have to know where I’m going in my story. I have to have some kind of roadmap that takes me in the direction I need to go so that I know my stories are cohesive. Plus, I throw many small symbols and story connections into my books so it’s a necessity for me to outline them.

Normally, I will write anywhere from a 10 to 15-page outline. These outlines are simple and not overly detailed. They are summary paragraphs of things that absolutely have to happen in every chapter of the book. Key details so I don’t forget. I refer back to this often during my writing sessions.

It is untrue that outlining your novel takes away spontaneity and you shouldn’t do it. That’s a bunch of nonsense and bad writing advice. It is absolutely false. My method leaves room for discovery in the draft writing process. By not being too detailed in my outline, I can have a concrete destination for every chapter but how I get to that destination is up in the air. It is more important to know what is going to happen and not how exactly it’s going to happen unless that detail is important to the story.

I often find my outlines don’t have enough chapters in them. Many times I have to break down a chapter from my outline into two chapters in the actual book because the writing process has expanded to a point where that’s necessary. I love that part of writing. There is this happy medium of having a direction but still having room to take the side roads to see where they lead.

I’m going to wrap it up here but I’ll be back with part two of this next week so you can see into the maniacal mind of that guy who creates this weird universe you are seeing unfold.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the Tapestry!

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