Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

I Wish More People Would Share Their Process (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I was thinking that about Apparition. Especially now that I know the setting. The story of the two artists stepping out of society to be part of a small community and live in a rustic farmhouse would appeal to a lot of people. People like me...

The problem with making such a complex story compact is there isn't much room to let the story breath. I'm having to manufacture that breathing space. If it was a novel, I could easily do that simply be expanding some of the scenes.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Well, Az, I was riffling through my writing notebook last night and came across planning I had done for an LM story a little while ago. So, very roughly, I'll try to explain the process for this one story.

First, I wanted to scare up an idea for the prompt "The Frost Lands" so I spent some time doing a word association (that's the list) and just noodling out some ideas from that. Then I got into a little research (lower right) about "owlconry" and made a few notes.
Frost Lands Proc 3.jpg

In this case I was probably away from the computer doing something unrelated when the ideas started coming together in my mind as scenes and a character speaking. So I grabbed my notebook and started writing.
Frost lands proc 2.jpg

A few ideas turned up later about themes to riff on (probably when I was trying to go to bed. Grabbed my notebook, jotted them where there was space. Managed to actually write everything I was thinking before I fell asleep.
Frost Lands proc 1.jpg

The first rush of the first draft was done, everything that my brain had kind of gathered up and put into story-form but it wasn't really finished in any way. So I spent some more time considering what was happening and what I wanted to happen and did another little word association to continue to find connections.
Frost Lands Proc 4.jpg

At this point I kind of had the whole story thought through. It probably came together so that I was ready to write it at some inconvenient time, like when I was in the bathtub. Or it didn't click like that yet, I can't specifically remember.

Either way, next step was the computer and the hourglass and my 'Timed Writing' junk doc. 15 minutes at a time I either transcribed from the notebook or completely ignored it when the story started taking new paths to satisfy the themes I had in mind and as the characters did things. This is part cognitive and part instinctive.

Once I had a fresh draft on its own doc then it was time to edit for continuity, make sure all the chunks of the story happened in the right places.

Then the wording, making sure it flowed, finding metaphors pop into my head that said things much better than how I'd originally plonked them down. Checking for errors.

More polishing. Cutting, cutting, cutting so many words that I almost cried so that it would fit into the 650 word limit.

Polishing, agonizing.

Sent to beta readers. Readers all liked it. They were also all a bit confused...but they liked it.

Horrified at the confusion, I considered tearing the whole thing apart and reconstructing it but the deadline was upon me. The real title finally solidified and I subbed "Running Water" to the LM figuring that I would hear that it was confusing.

Instead it won that LM and was published in Flashes. So my odd little child of a story found a place.

And there ya go.

ETA: Contrast this with "Dead Spot" which came out of my head in one fast draft, no real planning and took very little editing. Wish they were all like that.
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
Friend, I have one finished work, it is published on a free reading site, it is advertised over dedicated pen name profile in social media, and yet nobody reads my story.

I would hold my fingers before showing up to share my process at this rate. :???: Different matter if there's a thread discussing about it.


Okay, just to add more substantial stuff in this post, recently I got a flick of idea for new story and my (latest) process is as the following:
- Write down the protagonist. Who they are, what they do, how they live, how they look, etc.
- Write down the city/place the story set in.
- Write protagonist' background. How they settled here, how the event of the story get built up and their relation to it.
- Visualize the protagonist (mandatory for me)
- The points above will stimulate ideas for other characters. Repeat process.
- Begin the long process of writing. (Oh yeah, no beta reader because nobody around me likes to read novels)
- Self-assessment. Moment of truth. If it turns out not interesting to me, then red flag. Either rework or kick it back inside to the vacuum storage of human memory system.
 
Last edited:

Darkkin

WF Veterans
My process is not explainable, it is inexplicable. A thousand stupid little things I see, read, or hear. Something will trigger an echolalia, internal monologue. Words, phrases, music on repeat. Twist it like a Rubik's cube and fuse it into story cannon that has accrued. It repeats until I write it. The pattern on the showerhead in our bathtub...things most people never notice.

This is the stuff that will trigger a rollback (my term for when I shut everything else around me down and rollback into the depths of my own head, oblivious to all but my internal musings.) Two damn words and I've got another piece of a puzzle, I have no clue how it fits together until I come up with another random tangent piece. Normal processes don't work like this. The hyperfocus on my writing screen is one of the few major cracks in my masking skills, it is one of the very rare times my ASD is profoundly apparent.

I'm a competent writer without rollback but it is ordinary work. My pieces that have the real impact, those are hardwired into my rollbacks. The pieces that I pull out of nothing in just a couple of minutes is more than a little freaky. If I leave something too long in the plotting stage I overthink and second guess, which does me no favours, so I need to take my leaps and worry about the landing once I hit the ground.

Some people play with sensory toys, I make word tessellations about nonsensical things. How does one share something like that, when it has a tendency to freak normal people out?

My process is what it is and I would not exchange it because as weird as it is, it actually works very well. No one has ever accused my of being inarticulate with my keyboard or ink.
 
Last edited:

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
There has to be a process first. Now, bearing in mind that I tend to stick to one fictional setting and cast at a time this may not have any broad application. I don't have to start from scratch with regards to the world or the people that live there since most of what I do has the same backdrop.

I know who my characters are - where they start, where they wind up, some general inkling of what they'll have to pass through on the way. The rest of the equation is mostly figuring out what they'll have to do between Points A and B and picking what parts of that to show. This is probably more akin to whittling a hundred-hours of film into a ninety-minute story than actual creative writing.

Then again....I'm not an artist. I'm a technician with a sledgehammer. :wink:
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I have waited until the LM scores are in before I share my thought process behind this entry.

https://www.writingforums.com/threa...021-Defiance?p=2342065&viewfull=1#post2342065

Since Covid slammed the lid on my social life I have been delving into my DVD collection. And reading some of the old favourites as a balm to my troubled soul.

The Avengers, (The one with Steed in it) has been a trip down memory lane. I got to thinking, how could I revive some of the old stuff.

There was a time when spy fiction was king. The Avengers, James Bond, Our Man Flint, Man From Uncle, The Saint and so on.

I have been kicking around some scenes and plot ideas. Then the LM came up with Defiance, and I fancied doing a bit of Forum Fan Fic. I have a history of forum fan fic. Then Foxee agreed to be a kick ass character.

Foxee's, forum persona is a perfect fit for a female version of Simon Templar. Set in modern day with some high tec toys and a spot of safe cracking. There is an early draft that is far too long and in dire need of a decent edit, I may post it sometime, for a laugh.

So, there it is. That is how this story came into being, and how it may become part of something bigger.

good Luck
BC
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
There was a time when spy fiction was king. The Avengers, James Bond, Our Man Flint, Man From Uncle, The Saint and so on.
As a spy fiction fan I'd say I'm up for more of the genre. Also, you just reminded me that I haven't seen Man From Uncle and need to find where I can stream it.
I have been kicking around some scenes and plot ideas. Then the LM came up with Defiance, and I fancied doing a bit of Forum Fan Fic. I have a history of forum fan fic. Then Foxee agreed to be a kick ass character.

I used to belong to a humor forum where we did forum fic all the time and it was FUN. Thanks for giving me a little throwback to that. I always agree to be kickass if I can.

Seriously I would really love to see more spy fiction! Bring it on!
 
Ok, here's an ~extremely loose~ outline of the process for my LM April entry, "Bloodseed." Bear in mind a lot of process happens subconsciously, when I'm just daydreaming/meandering/thinking.

I was looking at the Death to the World (Eastern Orthodox punk zine) website, particularly this shirt. I was also thinking about the word 'defiant,' because that was the prompt. Then John the Baptist came to mind -- I think having the song "Jesus Freak" in the back of my mind helped here. The first paragraph, though in a much longer form, came to me very quickly in my head, with a sketched-out idea of the rest. But I was in class, so I just wrote this on a sticky note: DEFIANCE idea: experimental w/ 'chapters' 1-thoughts of rebels, John, Elijah, ravens 2-crustpunks 3-flat earthers 4-eastern orthodox 5-monolith??-- fire strangers poem incorporation! The images/characters came naturally because I just imagined the POV character wandering around Dinkytown (where I live). A lot of the images are direct from experience: the tree full of crows, the anarchist crustpunks, etc.

I sat down to write it after class. The three little pigs reference became a natural way to structure the different people the POV character visited. I had to cut out some of my ideas, like incorporating the theme of "pyroxene" (means "fire strangers") -- that will have to come in for a different story. The crustpunk anarchists stayed the same, but the flat-earthers split into two character sets: Modernists, and a man who believed in nothing, not even observable reality. That seemed more interesting to me. When it came to the scene where the POV character encounters the transcendent, I was very inspired by the song "Monolith" by Drottnar, and, like most of those scenes that I write, by personal experience. The crazy ever-shifting images, things opening and rising up suddenly, cleave very closely to what those moments are really like for me.

Then I had to pare it down ... and pare it down ... until it was finally 650 words. Always the hardest part, but I've learned to enjoy it.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Ok, here's an ~extremely loose~ outline of the process for my LM April entry, "Bloodseed." Bear in mind a lot of process happens subconsciously, when I'm just daydreaming/meandering/thinking.

I was looking at the Death to the World (Eastern Orthodox punk zine) website, particularly this shirt. I was also thinking about the word 'defiant,' because that was the prompt. Then John the Baptist came to mind -- I think having the song "Jesus Freak" in the back of my mind helped here. The first paragraph, though in a much longer form, came to me very quickly in my head, with a sketched-out idea of the rest. But I was in class, so I just wrote this on a sticky note: DEFIANCE idea: experimental w/ 'chapters' 1-thoughts of rebels, John, Elijah, ravens 2-crustpunks 3-flat earthers 4-eastern orthodox 5-monolith??-- fire strangers poem incorporation! The images/characters came naturally because I just imagined the POV character wandering around Dinkytown (where I live). A lot of the images are direct from experience: the tree full of crows, the anarchist crustpunks, etc.

I sat down to write it after class. The three little pigs reference became a natural way to structure the different people the POV character visited. I had to cut out some of my ideas, like incorporating the theme of "pyroxene" (means "fire strangers") -- that will have to come in for a different story. The crustpunk anarchists stayed the same, but the flat-earthers split into two character sets: Modernists, and a man who believed in nothing, not even observable reality. That seemed more interesting to me. When it came to the scene where the POV character encounters the transcendent, I was very inspired by the song "Monolith" by Drottnar, and, like most of those scenes that I write, by personal experience. The crazy ever-shifting images, things opening and rising up suddenly, cleave very closely to what those moments are really like for me.

Then I had to pare it down ... and pare it down ... until it was finally 650 words. Always the hardest part, but I've learned to enjoy it.

Off topic a bit.
I came across a poem by Pádraig Pearse titled The Wayfarer, an Irish revolutionary that was executed in 1913 for his role in the Easter Uprising... one line in particular echoed through my mind when I saw the shirt in your post.
"They tried to bury us, they didn't know we were seeds."

 
I had to look up 'crustpunk' and that's kind of fascinating. It's like punk hobo or hippie. Thanks for the new word! And for the description of how you work. I find it interesting that music makes a lot of appearances in your thought process.
Yep, crustpunks are pretty common where I live, at least in summer. There's a 'snowbird' homeless community in Dinkytown that has a lot of crustpunks. The crustpunk culture is also linked to a particular music style -- think the least-upbeat, least-hooky kind of punk you could imagine. Some crossover with black metal.
Here are the links to the two songs I mentioned, if you're interested:
Jesus Freak - dc talk
Monolith - Drottnar
Off topic a bit.
I came across a poem by Pádraig Pearse titled The Wayfarer, an Irish revolutionary that was executed in 1913 for his role in the Easter Uprising... one line in particular echoed through my mind when I saw the shirt in your post.
"They tried to bury us, they didn't know we were seeds."
Ah that's so cool! I've always loved Yeats' poem about the Easter Rising -- "all is changed, changed utterly / A terrible beauty is born."
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church" is a loose translation of a Tertullian quote.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
I'm in the process of throwing different writing styles against the wall to see which one sticks. I had some success with a style I used a few years ago, but I didn't find it fun to write. I re-read it a few days ago and found it pretty well written and questioned for a few moments if I had actually written it because it was nothing like who I actually am. I wasn't really expressing myself; I was pretending to be something I wasn't. And there's nothing wrong with that if it's fun. For me, having fun writing is the most important thing since it's merely a hobby at this point.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I'm in the process of throwing different writing styles against the wall to see which one sticks. I had some success with a style I used a few years ago, but I didn't find it fun to write. I re-read it a few days ago and found it pretty well written and questioned for a few moments if I had actually written it because it was nothing like who I actually am. I wasn't really expressing myself; I was pretending to be something I wasn't. And there's nothing wrong with that if it's fun. For me, having fun writing is the most important thing since it's merely a hobby at this point.
I wouldn't consider giving up on it because it's hard. If you liked the result, stick with it until it comes naturally and doesn't feel hard. It's the same process I'm going through. Push yourself through it. Even if you don't end up using it in the way you thought, the practice will be rewarding.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
I wouldn't consider giving up on it because it's hard. If you liked the result, stick with it until it comes naturally and doesn't feel hard. It's the same process I'm going through. Push yourself through it. Even if you don't end up using it in the way you thought, the practice will be rewarding.
I agree, the practice of writing is almost always good. As long as you're not developing bad habits that will handicap your writing, anything that gets you to write is a good thing. Writing is a skill that is developed with practice, like playing a musical instrument. Even if you're not a natural musician, you can still play music if you practice enough and with time, you can even be entertaining.

George Harrison claimed that he never practiced guitar; he just played. Of course, that was after he had mastered the fundamentals, which required a lot of practice. He would play until his fingers bled when he was a teenager, according to biographers. I'd bet that people who have natural abilities get an enormous endorphin rush when they do what they're naturally able to do, which motivates them to do it more—even to the point where your fingers bleed! I would love to have something like that! I feel it sometimes. Earlier today, I was playing guitar to a jamtrack and just having a blast. The music was just flowing out of me! I was in the zone! What a feeling! And it doesn't really matter how good it was, since I'm not a professional musician. It felt good, and that's all that mattered. It's like getting high without imbibing or snorting any external substances.

As Plato once said: "Life should be lived as play." Once you're able to pay the bills, your main goal should be to have fun. But when it doesn't come naturally, there's always tequila. :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
In my opinion a set process isn’t needed for writing short stories. A cohesive idea as inspiration is all that’s required.

For longer works I don’t believe there is a process that works for everyone, and think that authors discover their own unique way by writing. We take our best guess the first time we take on a novel, then, once completed we look at what worked and what didn’t, and adjust our process for our next project.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Off topic a bit.
I came across a poem by Pádraig Pearse titled The Wayfarer, an Irish revolutionary that was executed in 1913 for his role in the Easter Uprising... one line in particular echoed through my mind when I saw the shirt in your post.
"They tried to bury us, they didn't know we were seeds."

Love that line. Although there were issues in 1913 in Ireland, including an attempt at a general strike, the usual date given for the Easter Rising is 1916.
 

apocalypsegal

Senior Member
I'm afraid that by this point my process is pretty much internalized. I don't really think about stuff, it just comes out. So, I get an idea, sit down, start writing, see where it goes. If I hit a spot where nothing is coming, I'm usually done for the day. The muse is tired and wants to stop. The trick is butt in chair, hands on keyboard the next day. Keep it going, figure it out if my brain hasn't done it for me. Brainstorming, thinking through how one thing or another would work. But mostly, it just comes and I don't have any problem outside of consistency in the chair, getting those words.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top