How Do You Write?

Manuscript Writing Process

I find this a most interesting question and I would love to read your answers. Do you plan the whole book, chapter by chapter, before the actual writing starts? Do you do all your research first? Or do you “go with the flow”?

Surprisingly, I am very much the “go with the flow” type when it comes to writing. I say surprisingly, because the people who know me will tell you that I tend to be a planner. Not when I write. I only have the seed of my story dancing around in my head when I first sit down and start my computer. And that embryo grows and grows, eventually turning into a manuscript, stretching into territories I did not even realise existed.

This week, I will start my second novel. I know in which countries and eras it will be set. As it is Book Two of a trilogy, some of the characters are very familiar to me, of course. Still, I am certain they will surprise me again. I know how the brand new story starts. Or, more precisely, the opening scene has been unfolding fairly vividly in my mind for a while now. That is about it. I took the opportunity of a trip last year to do some research, but I will be doing most of it as I progress. Only the names of two new protagonists have been chosen so far and I look forward to others joining them soon.

The blank page does not scare me. On the contrary, it fills me with excitement. I cannot wait to type “Chapter One” tomorrow.

Writing Bubble


11 thoughts on “How Do You Write?

  1. I tend to go with the flow but I also tend to run out of steam rather quickly. I wonder if this is because I don’t have a proper idea where the story is going. Maybe I need to do some planning – light touch to start with as it’s out of my comfort zone but I think I need something to hang my story on.

  2. I also “go with the flow” when it comes to writing but am a meticulous planner too with everything else. I have hundreds of stories in my head but can’t seem to get them onto the blank page. This is inspiring. Thank you.

  3. I’ve gone both ways but I’m definitely favouring the planning, down to overall structure and scenes, character and story arc. I believe it’s much more helpful in the long run.

  4. I go with the flow with my blog posts, often only having general idea when I start, and often ending up with something quite different to what I expected. But I’m going with the planning approach for my novel, because the blank page just made me a rabbit in headlights. Time will tell if that works. xx

  5. I usually have a seed of an idea and then just wing it. This is why I prefer shorter pieces I think – poems, flash fiction, and picture books as a plan doesn’t feel so necessary. I like just seeing where an idea takes me without having to pin it down first. Sometimes my stories take me totally by surprise! Good luck with starting your second book – it’s such an exciting stage! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

  6. The way I write has changed a huge amount. Four years ago I was just seeing what story came out and since then I’ve increasingly become a planner. I’m writing my fourth book now and it has been all mapped out so when I write I know I’m not going to have too many rewrites. I’ve done way too many rewrites of tens of thousands of words in the past that I really plan now. It’s okay if the plan changes a bit along the way though, I don’t want it too rigid.

  7. Exciting!! I usually go with the flow too but I do tend to structure my main story plot. I tend to get distracted by the minor characters and their stories so I find I need the main story to stay on track. #WhatImWriting

  8. I am both! I started writing novel some time ago for which I had a plan (it was a complicated plot so needed one!) but I ended up going with the flow and the story changed… I may get back to it one day! For my own blog posts I tend to free write (with a subject in mind) first, then do any necessary research/fact checking after and tidy up when I edit. When I blog for others the research comes first…. Poetry is always a free write followed by editing… Interesting to note how it’s different!

  9. This is a question I’ve pondered lots over the last few years as I try to work out what the answer is! I think if I’m honest I’m somewhere in between. I definitely like a framework to work from, and to spend a bit of time immersing myself in research and making notes about characters/settings etc. But I don’t have such a rigid plan that I don’t deviate from it: it really is just a scaffold, with the details emerging as I ‘build’. My latest novel is the freest yet in this regard, but I still have some pretty major pointers to keep me on track. I worry that with everything else going on in my life if I just went with the flow I might end up getting lost entirely! xx

  10. I used to be able to order my thoughts, now I’m easily distracted. Ideas go in all directions and I have a job just getting everything written down. The problem with that is nothing gets finished.

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