Recent Posts

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Develop a Writing Process: WL 366 (#13)

Lesson 13: Develop a writing process.

The best way to develop a writing process is to write, and write a lot. It takes time for the rough, blurry edges of your process to sharpen into full focus.

To complicate things further, the process for a short piece will be different than it is for a long piece. Fiction and nonfiction will vary. Writing a screenplay will follow a completely different process than writing a how-to article.

I wrote dozens of articles, short stories, and poems and three novels (Okay, we're being honest here, right? Make that three partial novels.) without a strong, sharp process. It wasn't until I wrote my first screenplay with a writing partner that I discovered the beauty of a focused process.

Screenplay writing is heavily structured and formal. It reminds me of sentence diagramming but on a much larger scale--everything has its place. What you write is wholly and creatively yours, but where you write it and how you express it is wholly defined by the industry-standard screenplay format.

When you write a screenplay with a writing partner, you have to have a process that focuses you both. When we finished our screenplay and I started writing my fourth novel, I was fascinated to discover that the majority of the screenplay process translated nicely to novel writing. And it must work because we finished our screenplay in just a little over four months, and I finished the first draft of my novel in two and a half months. I'm currently on draft three, and on schedule to complete it by the end of the year so I can start agent shopping in January--I started writing my first draft in July.

There's a reason I didn't finish the first three novels--I didn't have a process. Having a process focuses me...and my writing projects. 

Do you have a writing process?  

Visit me tomorrow for another Writer's Leap 366 lesson, which will include my writing process.


  1. Sara Bulla said...

    Funny you should mention process because I chatted with my writing partner about that very thing today. I think there is so much sharing of information on the internet now, that often I compare myself with 'the Jones's'. I wonder if I should be blogging the way they are, should I be editing like that, should I embrace NaNoWriMo or abandon it for my own 'process'. Great post and a great idea. Where does 366 come from?
    I appreciated your comments about 'Nellie' and am glad that you have a tamer, kinder and funnier version in your book! :) The world can only handle one Nellie! I'm looking forward to more posts from you. Thanks for sharing! I usually post on Tuesdays on our blog, Live to Write, the other days Angie man's the command station! :)