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Writing Tasks - Are these tasks right? (1 Viewer)

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Hi All,

Pauper here again. If you didn't see my last post, I am doing a project for graduate school about the writing process. I received some great feedback from Writing Forums and want to thank everybody who helped me out. I still need a little bit of help, however.

I've included below a list of general tasks that writers complete during the writing process (the attached version is formatted better). I have focused more on what writers do, rather than how they do it. Please note that these tasks are not necessarily performed in any particular order and that not all people perform each of these tasks while writing.

This task list is meant to be as exhaustive as possible, so I would really appreciate it if you could give it a quick look and let me know if I missed anything, or if you have any corrections, clarifications, or suggestions. You could also let me know which tasks you think are most and least frequent.

Again, I appreciate everyone's help so much!

The Tasks:

• Inspiration — find an external or internal source that will inspire ideas and emotions (e.g. a book, dictionary, place, picture, feeling, etc.).

• Ideas — form, preserve, and evaluate ideas for your writing
a.Generate and record ideas​
b.Reconstruct scenes, people, and emotions from​
c.Receive feedback on ideas​
d.Decide whether to write about the idea​

•Planning — organize a strict or flexible representation of the writing piece’s characters, plot, subplots, ancillary plots, emotional contours, and ultimate message (e.g. plot outline, emotional contour map, character notes, etc.).

•Research — experience or learn about the writing piece’s subject matter (e.g. if you are writing about a village in Peru, you may research Peruvian culture or visit Peru).

•Pre-writing — explore and evaluate ideas through writing and prepare the writing environment.
a.Create a pre-writing atmosphere​
b.Do exploratory writing to see if your ideas work​
in fiction​
c.Further develop characters​
d.Develop alternative plot threads and subplots​

•Writing — transfer ideas, feelings, thoughts, plots, characters, etc. to paper/digital format.
a.Just write​
b.Evaluate the writing piece while writing it​
c.Force/encourage the reader to keep reading​
d.Enjoy the emotions and physiological responses​
experienced while writing​

•Feedback — obtain and evaluate outside perspectives on your work.
a.Decide who to show the writing to.​
b.Seek help from more experienced or learned​
c.Focus on a part of the story you have been​
putting off.​
d.Evaluate Feedback.​
i.Decide what feedback is useful.​
ii.Decide between two opposite perspectives on​
iii.Decide what feedback to incorporate into​
your writing.​
e.Find answers to the following questions:​
i.Do people like what I have written?​
ii.Do I like what I have written?​
iii.Do people understand the depth of the​
writing piece and its subtext, or just​
understand it at a superficial level?​
iv.Am I writing to please people?​
v.Where and why is the story unclear?​
vi.Where and why is the story’s rhythm or flow​
vii.Is my writing publishable?​
viii.Am I satisfied with what I have written,​
or do I want to revise/edit what I have​

•Editing — make the writing piece better
a.Compare the original version and the revised​
b.Make corrections to plot​
c.Incorporate new ideas​
d.Incorporate feedback I have received​


WF Veterans
There's much more to editing, such as correcting spelling, grammar, usage, verb tense, etc. An editor also looks for (or should look for) characters behaving out of character, logical fallacies, conflicting time lines, plot holes, loose ends, and other inconsistencies. Look up book doctor, it's much the same thing.

It may sound trivial, but with larger projects, you have to consider organization. My current project started as a few notes. When those got out of hand, they went into a folder. Now there are at least seven folders and other sheets of paper of various sizes. I'm at the point where I can't remember if I've covered a specific topic, so I may have to create a master outline. For the notes, not the book itself.

For self-published authors, you should add marketing as a task. That includes book tours, personal appearances, book signings, conventions, and so on. Without marketing the other tasks are pointless.

"Enjoy the emotions and physiological responses experienced while writing" ... ?? Some people talk about getting "in the zone," is that what you mean? or is there some secret to enjoying writing?


Senior Member
I am so glad I didn’t have this as a tick list. I would have been put off.

1) Answer the question, “Why do I want to write?”

2) Experiment with and decide on method of getting the story ‘down’

  • [*=1]Record using a cassette and then transcribe
    [*=1]Long hand
    [*=1]Type using a typewriter or computer
    [*=1]Use talk to text software
    [*=1]A combination of the above

3) Analyse schedule to decide when it is possible to write. Write a timetable and attempt to keep to it.

4) Negotiate with family for alone time to write.


WF Veterans
I'm not sure I'd call those writing 'tasks' - sounds like a list of things a writer must do to write. I do no planning - I just start with an idea or character and write. Research/editing/revising is done as needed as I write. So make "Planning" and "Pre-writing" optional; adjust "Writing" to include "Editing" and "Feedback". And re-title the whole thing to "The Suggestions". :smile:


WF Veterans
Don't do none of that squire, I just write when I feel like writing - If I had a list like that I would forget to look at it, but I suppose all writers do most/all on your lists, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Hi Pauper - I also wonder if "tasks" is the right word; maybe something like potential steps would be more accurate. While many people may do some of the things you mention, I suspect very few people actually do all of them. When you list them as a, b, c, you make it seem as though there is some necessary chronology between things which are really optional, or which may occur at the same time. So I think you'll want to make it clearer that these are all possible writing-related activities, and that you acknowledge the wide variety of process and goals that writers have. Good luck with your project.


WF Veterans
Hi All,

Pauper here again. If you didn't see my last post, I am doing a project for graduate school about the writing process. I received some great feedback from Writing Forums and want to thank everybody who helped me out. I still need a little bit of help, however.


Some of the differences that you may note in responses comes from a division of writing styles and methodology amongst writers. There are two primary methodologies in writing circles - Plotting and Nonplotting. Plotters, those writers who construct a plot or spend time preparing components of the story before actually writing it, generally incorporate several common techniques, including writing plotlines, "pre-planning" character development, organizing scenes, etc.. Nonplotters, those who write in a more unrestrained and spontaneous fashion, may not incorporate those sorts of plotting/planning techniques or, at best, may only loosely do so.

There are various advantages to both methods, as well as caveats. Plotters know where they're going so can prepare the ground beforehand, but may miss opportunities for inspired additions to the stories and including new ideas may be difficult. Nonplotters may be able to incorporate spontaneous discoveries, but may have to do more rewrites, drafts and edits. Many writers appropriate techniques from each method in order to produce their work.

There's no universally agreed upon methodology for producing a written work of fiction. Writers are concerned with results and, when it comes down to it, don't really care how they get there, just so long as the final result is a desirable one. (Just my opinion.)


Senior Member
Wow. I work for an ad agency and that looks something like the process documents we give to our clients. We use it to keep them in line and it makes us look like we have our act together. Of course it doesn't really resemble what we actually do. We usually sit around and B.S. and come up with ideas then go off into our corners create stuff and somehow at the last minute, we pull it all together. But those documents sure do look good. The lesson here is -- I'm not exactly sure what the lesson is. Maybe something about over-thinking things.
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