The Creative Process (and a little on my current novel)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post on writing, and since I’m a writer, I thought it time to write another post on, well, writing! With this post, I thought I’d walk you through the basic steps I take in order to write a full length novel, short story, or anything your heart desires. Take note that this is what I do and am comfortable doing, you might have a completely different take. That’s what makes being creative so fun, everyone does it in their own way.

So I’m nearing the end of my latest novel, which I’ll give the title to away in just a second. I’ve written two thirds of it and have the last third mapped out in my mind, written in notes, and ready for the paper. It’s been a whole lot more challenging to write than my last novel, The Restoring, and I’ve stretched myself further in places as a writer. To convey the themes and questions I’ve asked, it’s in the thriller genre. While I could also label it horror, it doesn’t go far enough into that territory to be labeled as such.

The question I asked going into it is, “What’s the very thing that separates us from God, and what brings us back to Him?” Of course, there are loads more questions and themes packed into it, but that’s where it all began. As for the title, I’ve held it off but I think it’s time to share. It used to abide by a different title, but the story has changed a little, so the set title for my latest novel is Virulent. I’ll talk a little more about it when I get closer to the finish, which will be around July/August next year (that includes editing), or possibly before then.

So what’s the process I use to write? After completing two novels now, I’ve grown accustomed to a certain series of steps, some of which I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog. I begin simply with a question, just like the one I asked for Virulent. Then I’ll play around with a few scenarios that revolve around that question. When I’ve found the scenario I want to build from, I’ll then build a theme to set the story around. The theme is basically what your story is about. What moral message you’re sharing through the story.

When I’ve worked out the theme, I’ll build the characters and setting. Where my story will take place, and who will be the lucky (or unlucky) ones to take part. Next I’ll map out the main story arc. The three main points that is the beginning, middle, and end.

After I’m confident I’ve got all I need, I’ll begin with the first draft. Simple rule for the first draft: be messy and write. Let go of all thoughts of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and just get that story down.

When I’ve finished the first draft, I’ll look back, and this is where I decide, “I don’t want that and that, and I think I could portray this idea better this way.” That usually makes way for a plot change. Nothing that will detract from the original idea, but an improvement of the original. Then the second draft can begin. After that I’ll look back again, and usually I’m happy. Again you can write another one if you think it can be better, but what I’ll do is rewrite that draft until I have the story as strong as it can be, and then of course comes the editing. This is where you improve all the things I told you to forget about in the first draft. I usually set around half a year for this stage to make sure it’s the best I can make it.

After that, it’s off to my family, friends, and anyone else who wants to read it. I’ll gather their feedback, edit again with their advice, and then get it ready to send it in to a publisher (which I will work at next year).

Overall that’s the basic steps I take to complete a story. Leave a comment and we can have a discussion on the different ways you like write. I’d love to hear your creative process!