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The writing process I use to keep me focused on my novel.

         Well the novel I've been writing was up in the air for the past 10 years, but I never got around to just sitting down and actually writing down all my ideas. I had lots of loose notes about events that I might want to include in my novel, but it never had any particular structure.

         That is until last summer when I was fed up with daydreaming and decided to take some action.

         This is what I found that has helped me to keep me focused on writing and my own personal process when it come to writing:

         1) I keep a notebook/journal with me at all times. I divided that notebook into
4 sections:
                   a) Current Book Ideas
                   b) Overall Chapter Ideas
                   c) Future Book Ideas
                   d) Characters/Languages/Cultures

*I'm writing fantasy so I'm building up several languages and cultures

         In the first section, I have the overall plot line of my story (the beginning the middle and the end) written down and any idea that might come to me throughout the day. I might be able to include these in the book I'm presently writing, or maybe not. Ideas can be the name of cities, conflicts, whatever. Any important idea I MUST include I'll underline or highlight.

         In the second section, a much larger section I start explaining in very general terms what the chapter will be about. I avoid details at all costs. One paragraph per chapter that gives me an idea of what it will be about.

         In the third section, I include ideas for the sequels, or other books I've meant to write. This section can be large or small. Mine is relatively small 'cause I'm really focused on my present novel.

         In the final section I include character biographies, language grammar structure, vocabulary, and cultural traditions.

**** This is the planning stage and it is by far the most important for me, and if I ever have a mental block, I go back to this notebook and start brainstorming some more. I try to keep myself writing at all times. Helps me overcome Writer's block.

         2) Now that I have the general idea of some of the chapters of my book, I
take a bunch of note cards and start building up the chapters. I work one
scene at a time within a chapter. Each note card contains only one scene of
the chapter. I usually end up with 10-20 note cards per chapter. Each
note card represent about 1-4 pages once developed.

         I'll work on whatever chapter I'm in the mood of working on. I usually tend to work in a linear fashion, but if I'm in the mood of writing about more climactic events, I'll go to the chapters that have far more conflict and build on them.

         3) Now that I have my outline, and an overview of some of my chapters, I'll start to write my first draft. This is where I start adding some details, and let the words just flow. I tend to repeat phrases in this process, and I know it, and it bugs the hell out of me. However, I let it slide and decide I can fix all those problems when I revise.

****When I get a writer's block on my first draft, I usually go back to my notebook and build on the chapters I still haven't written down, or work with the scenes. However, I never go back and revise scenes I've already concluded developing for a chapter, I build on the ones I haven't finished.

         4) REVISION. Once I'm done with my first draft (which I haven't done yet) I plan to go back, chapter per chapter and compare them to any side notes I might have made later in the book. Side notes that urge me to include something in the earlier chapters to give the book a better flow. I'll work on scene structures and remove anything I might find too tedious to read. I won't even bother fixing all my grammar/spelling mistakes just yet. Focus on your structure.

         5) EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Now I'll read the whole book analyzing paragraph per paragraph making sure that my grammar is proper, repetition is avoided or taken care of, and correct any typos. I'll probably do some of this during my revision, especially if they were huge mistakes. Once I'm done I'll set the book aside for a while and then give it another look, just to check any further mistakes I might have overlooked the fist time.

         6) HOPEFULLY, YOU'LL BE FINISHED!!! Start planning your next.

The biggest pointer I can give to others is this...


         If its that time of the day in which you write but you don't want to write, take some paper and draw your characters, the items they might interact with, whatever. Just keep you mind focused on your book. OR if your book is going to be part of a series, start writing a bit about the next book in the series. OR listen to music that you believe your main characters might love to listen to or that would be the rage in the period your story is set. Do anything, but keep yourself focused on the writing during those hours.

I can almost guarantee this will help you overcome your writer's block.


I hope this helps. *Thumbsup*

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