Hello, hello! As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was planning on starting a new novel in order to respark my writing passion. I started it on Saturday and have worked on it regularly since then. I admit that I’m still not up to my usual word count per day yet, but whenever I open the file, I’m filled with the desire to move forward instead of dread. That’s a win! But, as I noticed with my last novel attempt, this novel has its own flow and wants to create its own routine. I don’t remember having to adapt to new writing habits with every new short story I wrote, but apparently novels are different beasts entirely and each one is going to require special treatment. Today, I wanted to ramble a bit about how my routine has changed with this novel compared to the other two of which I have (at least) completed first drafts.
My first novel was written completely in pantser mode. Music from my iTunes (which basically runs the gamut of styles) played in the background for almost every writing session. When I hit snags, I usually figured everything out after random bursts of subconscious ideas. And in the end, the first draft was an unreadable mess that took another year or longer to clean up. It was fun. It was hard. It was draining. But I got it done with plenty of help from my Stonecoast mentors and compadres. Honestly, if I hadn’t had help and people telling me that I had to finish it, I don’t think I would’ve been able to keep going.
The second novel that I actually finished (I started one between them, but got stuck halfway through because I stepped too far outside of my comfort zone), was wildly different. I had the first half plotted out and knew where it would end, but switched to pantser mode to connect the beginning and end. It was written mostly in silence because music distracted me. When I got stuck, I’d actively plot things out in my head, but rarely thought about it otherwise unless I was working on it. I wrote it in about seven months, a record for me, with little help. Only a handful of people have actually seen any of it. But when I read it to start revisions, I was surprised that it made sense and flowed as well as it does. It still needs a lot of work, but I’m happy with how it turned out with that routine.
Again, I started and stopped a novel before deciding to switch to my novel-in-progress. I was in a position where I didn’t want to write anything when this idea started pestering me. I’ve got the major plot points figured out and there hasn’t been a night that’s passed by without me laying awake in bed plotting out the next scene. It’s a little scary to think I might be turning into a plotter on this one. I’ve tried writing with iTunes and in silence, but neither feels quite right, so I’m going to try my CDs (my teenage anthems sprinkled with some more recent music) next. I’ve also had the urge to find reference pictures for my characters, which is something completely new for me. I never needed pictures of my characters before, so part of me thinks I’m just looking for excuses to feed my need for eye candy, but I’m going with the flow and looking for some. Granted, this is just the beginning of the process. I might revert to pantser mode later on. But the new process feels right so far.
Hiro from Nocturnal Bloodlust is basically Jyou (one of my protagonists).
Maybe I’ve just been refining my technique with each new novel or maybe my routine really will have to change with each new novel. Either way, I’m just happy to be enjoying writing again. It’s been a while since I could say that. What about you? Do you notice changes in your writing routine between each novel/story? Or have you found something that works consistently for you? Share your thoughts, comments, questions, or whatever here or on my social media pages!