This month, part of my usual book tour stop organised by WriterlyYours I decided to invite Priya, who just published an interesting Young Adult novel I Still Remember, to share her writing process experience.
Priya is writing poems that were published, among others in Eastlit and New Plains Review, but also write about books and recommendations. You can find her here.
The life of the manuscript
Thanks Ilana for offering this space to share my writing process. So, to keep it short and precise, I’m going to talk about just the process up to the manuscript phase leaving out the further editing that the manuscript may undergo prior to publication.
- Plotting - rough plot - ideas
- World building - developing the world, characters - research
- Outlining - structure and organising
- Drafting - draft 1, print, draft 2
- Polishing - print, read, polish
I get started with a project when I have a basketful of ideas. As a writer, I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration, and I collect them in my digital diary. Sometimes I get ideas when I’m travelling and I jot them down using the notes app on my phone. There could be visual inspiration too - pictures I click and pictures I find online, are all saved at one place. When I think I have enough ideas to form the story, I try to put them together to form a rough plot.
The Research Stage
Once I have the rough plot, I start with research. Research could involve reading, interviewing, watching movies or documentaries, travelling, and doing things that you want to write about. I even tried my hand at Korean cooking while writing I Still Remember because I wanted to lend some authenticity to the story setting especially since I was writing out of my culture and country.
The next step in my writing process is world building and it involves rewriting the plot in a more elaborate manner in the light of my research. It would magnify the plot and would include developing the places and people in the story. The places could be real or fictional or a mix of both, and once I’ve developed the place, I add the places to the plot. While developing the characters, I try to develop a complete profile or story for each of them and that makes writing about them easier. For example, if I know that a character is an optimist, when I have written a scene where something goes wrong, I can imagine what the character would say and write that down. So I work around the characters and the places a lot to build a world that readers can immerse themselves in.
Once I’m done with world building I start building my story. I develop an outline of the story which would mean putting together the larger plot alongside a timeline and working out a structure for the story. When I have the outline ready, I begin writing my first draft.
Working the drafts
Many a time, getting that first draft written is what takes a lot of time and once you have that done, you feel more confident and organised about the whole writing project. I like to print out my drafts so that I can spend more time with it, reading and making notes on it, even when I’m not at my computer. So after the first round of reading and editing, I would start working on my second draft which is basically fleshed out of the first.
When I have completed the second draft, I would take some time off and then get back to it to follow the same pattern as with the first draft - print, read and polish. When I’m happy with the draft, I may share it with someone or just send it for editing directly.
As you can see, my writing process is not very difficult but it demands patience and perseverance. So, get back to those drafts you abandoned halfway and begin afresh with a writing process that suits you.
Note: The title and undertitles belong to me