Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “What is your process for writing? Plot, then write? Edit as you go or not until you’ve reached the end of the story? Figure out your characters first? Something else?”
Sometimes, while writing, if I notice myself making a typo, I instinctively reach for the backspace key. But most of the time, I write, then edit.
I usually write by the seat of my pants. As long as I have the general story in my head, I let ideas come to me, as I’m writing. But recently, I decided to try making one of my short stories, “Living Vicariously,” into a novel. Unlike with my other stories, I had no clear direction. I had an idea of how it would end, but I couldn’t figure out where to start, and I wasn’t sure about other details.
So, I tried the Snowflake Method, a ten-step process of outlining your novel before you write it, in the hope that ideas would come to me. But after the third step, I still felt blocked.
The first step is to write a one-sentence summary of the book, an elevator pitch of sorts. While signing books at the Wyoming Writers conference last week, an author sitting next to me asked what my next project would be. I immediately launched into my elevator pitch and suddenly thought how lame it sounded. The other woman said she thought it was interesting. I’m sure she was trying to be polite, since we hardly knew each other.
After giving it some thought, I realized the problem was with the story, not the pitch. “Living Vicariously” works better as a short work of fiction, not as a novel.
However, all was not lost. Several years ago, I started working on a collection of short stories set in Wyoming. I was inspired to write this after reading Ann Beattie’s The State We’re in, a collection of stories set in her home state of Maine. “Living Vicariously” could be the opening story in my collection, and I could even call the collection Living Vicariously in Wyoming.
How about you? If you’re an author, what’s your writing process? You can tell us in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?