Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Janet Shares Her Writing Process

Today Janet is going to share her writing process. What inspires her, how she goes about plotting her novels. How she deals with writers block. She'll also share tips for aspiring writers. Take it away, Janet!

What inspires me? Sometimes some very strange things. I've been inspired by books like Bird By Bird, Th Courage To Create and Etymology. I love words and word origins. I've been inspired by Astrology and Music. Also by wonderful fiction books. Sometimes a single sentence, or a sighting of people will inspire me. Writing for me is an obsession so I never know what will trigger an idea. I keep my eyes, ears and other senses open.

Now for the writing process. I'm a draft writer and will do anywhere from five to seven drafts of a story. I begin with the rough draft that's more of an extended outline with scenes sketched in. After this I do drafts looking for specific areas Plot, Characters, and Language. Then I look for things like repeated words. Doesn't it just bother you when you're reading through and you've used one word like it's the only word to describe something? The final draft is just a read through looking for grammar and other errata that might be there. Never catch it all though.

The only time I had a writer's block was when I worked thirteen hour shifts three to four days a week as a nurse. I'm not sure it was a true block but rather exhaustion and also a priming of the pump with not only my emotions but the emotions of the patients I cared for. I would probably write in my sleep.

Now for tips.

1. Finish the book. Do not keep writing the first chapter or first three chapters. You have to reach the end before you know if the beginning is working.

2. Write every day. Even if all you can squeeze out is fifteen minutes, take that time to write. If you could write a hundred or a thousand words a day think of what you would accomplish in a week, a month or a year.

3. Find a good critique partner or a group. I've belonged to the same group for nearly twenty years. The group has changed and people have moved on, many of them to writing careers that have bloomed. Depending on your best friend or a relative may be nice but they may not know how to tell you what's wrong with what you've written.

4. Read and choose many genres for your reading. You can learn from the way the prose flows things that will help you.

5. Observe. No matter where you are of what you're doing use your five senses to absorb the world around you.