Saturday, February 7, 2015

Survival Saturdays #7

Writing advice to help you survive that first draft.

My 5 step writing process for completing a chapter.

Step #1:  Outline.
Unless this is my first chapter, this step is usually already done. I like to have the first several chapters outlined before I begin, but I don't always have the later chapters figured out until I get there. If that's the case, then I take a moment to look over my outline to remind myself of what has happened so far in the story.  I come up with a general idea of what the characters should accomplish, and then let the words flow.

Step #2:  Write it.
I try to keep the story goal in mind when I write--not to be confused with the CHAPTER goal.  I mean the end goal for the entire book.  Because a lot of the time I'll come up with something new that may change what happens in the chapter, but usually the story goal remains unchanged.  For this step, I try to write straight through and avoid any kind of editing or rewriting.

Step #3:  Reread.
Once I have the "first draft" of the chapter finished, I go back through the chapter from start to finish to make sure it both flows and doesn't drag on and on.  I also check to make sure it matches the story's plot and meets the goals I have set for that specific chapter.

Step #4:  Refine.
Once I'm satisfied with the direction the chapter is going, I work to expand upon it and correct how things are expressed.  For example, I may change "Mark looked nervous" to "Mark fidgeted with his hands, avoiding Michael's gaze."  I also take the time to add more detail to scenery and senses.

Step #5:  Final edit.
I go through the chapter either one or two more times to correct grammar errors, misspellings, and clarifications.  Once I am satisfied with this step, I move on to the next chapter.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

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