Ideas: What happens after the research

I’ve come up with a basic rough idea for a story, scribbled it into my yellow pad of conception and done some research. Where does it go now? At this point I generally move on to the outlining stage of my process. I like using the Snowflake Method of outlining. I write one sentence explaining my story. That sentence gets expanded to three sentences, then a paragraph. One paragraph becomes three. Three paragraphs get stretched into a page. The one page becomes three pages. This continues until I have about five or six full pages that lay out the story, complete with character sketches. By the time I have that many pages written, I know where I want the story to go. There are several details to expand upon and scenes. This has been a very successful method of outlining for me. I’m not one for storyboarding with multiple notecards on a corkboard with yarn strung between the tacks. It’s just not my style, but everybody works in their own way.My friend Cody Wagner loves the outlining program, Scrivner, and he’s going to give me a tutorial, but I’m not very techy. I tend to get frustrated with things like that and want to pick up my laptop and pitch it into the wall. I’m so much more comfortable with my yellow pads. I do the Snowflake Outline on my computer in Word, print it out, and refer back to it regularly.

My brain sparks with an idea, I jot it down in my yellow notepad, jump onto the internet and do some research. After researching the time and place I want my story set in, I outline. Once my outline is complete, I begin writing. I try to write at least 2500 words or one chapter per day. When I’m on a roll, I can crank out three or four chapters. I love those days. Before I begin a new writing day, I read and edit what I wrote the day before. At least once a week during the process of a project, I try to reread and edit the complete manuscript up to that point for grammar and continuity issues.

I generally begin presenting chapters to my Critique group once I’ve written a dozen or so and edit those after receiving the critiques from the group.With past projects, I’ve presented those dozen chapters to my group by the time my editor has the completed first draft of the manuscript and I begin working on his edits. By that point, I’ve decided whether or not I’m going to self-publish or shop the manuscript to publishers. I set up a project page on Createspace and create a cover so I can publish as soon as possible once I’ve made that decision.

That has been my process thus far in the writing game. Cody and I were talking last night and he asked if I thought I’d put as much work into a manuscript if I didn’t think anyone would buy it. That answer was easy. Yes! I enjoy the creative process from the idea stage through designing the cover. Now if I could figure a way to get creative with the marketing!

Until tomorrow: Write On!


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