And now a few words about my writing process.

Summer trail

In short, when I wrote REASONS, I didn’t have a writing process. It’s true, I didn’t. But my lack of a plan didn’t stop me from writing a novel. I wrote every single day… adding words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters bit by bit until I had a complete first draft.

That first draft wasn’t pretty, but it was a finished story. My lack of a laid out plan hadn’t made the act of writing any less satisfying for me. And for that particular novel, it hadn’t made the overall story any less worthy.

When I decided to write REASONS, I simply started writing. And I wrote as often as I could… squeezing writing into my day whenever a free moment presented itself. I added to the story as the ideas came to me. When I say, as the ideas came to me, I mean the ideas that connected the important parts of the main plot of the story… a plot that I had already formulated in my mind.

I knew the story that I wanted to tell, and I knew the message that I wanted it to convey.

The basic story line, and the lessons learned in REASONS, came from my own life experience. And because of this fact, the real-world characters in the story had been floating around in my head long before the actual writing of these characters became a reality.

Having said that, the story of REASONS is told through the genre of literary fiction/magical-realism, and all of the magical-world characters in the novel were created as the story unfolded.

The ideas would come to me at all times of the day and night, as they do for many writers. And the tiniest of observations could bring on the full development of a character or even a whole chapter.

I understand now that there’s a term for my kind of writing process (or lack thereof). I’m what’s called a pantser. According to The Write Practice: ‘A plotter is someone who plans out their novel before they write it. Whereas a pantser is someone who, “flies by the seat of their pants,” meaning they don’t plan out anything, or plan very little.’

That’s me folks… door number two: Pantser! And I didn’t even know it, which seems to prove just how committed I was to non-planning. But seriously, I simply wrote the story as the connections unfolded.

To be frank, I knew very little about the process of writing when I started writing REASONS. However, after editing the novel twice through, and then a third time while working with various critique partners… boy oh boy, I learned a lot!

And still, I wouldn’t have wanted to write my first novel any other way.

Now, in saying that, the writing process for my next book will be different. The new novel will involve more planning. But not because I’ve changed my ways. No. The new novel simply naturally requires planning. Unlike REASONS, the new story does not have its roots squarely planted in my personal life experience… where the characters and basic story line sort of had a head start. The new story line, and each character, event, and connection will stem from pure imagination… no drawing from my life this time.

So I’ll plot and plot and plot. And you know what? I’m excited about plotting.

I think it’ll be a nice change to have some stepping stones in place before I begin venturing across the river of brand new story building.

We’ll see. When I’m done, I’ll let you know how the two ways of working compare: pantser vs plotter.

Either way, I’ll keep writing and I’ll enjoy every single word… no matter how I come to write it. I believe there’s no right or wrong way to write. The important thing is to do it. Just write. Get that first draft done. Have a chuckle at how much work it needs, and then get to fixing it.

Like a new flower in the early morning light,
fragile and fleeting and full of life…
imagination blooms in all of its glory…
when words come together, and you write your story.