Today’s post is inspired by several conversations I have had over the past few weeks about the creative process as it applies to both fiction and nonfiction. For me, these are two entirely different realms I live in – and I approach the writing really differently (well, not as differently as I originally thought, it turns out).
Nonfiction is a very linear process for me. That is, it moves in a line – like outlining. Point A leads to point B and so forth. I can write it in my sleep (assuming it is a topic actually know something about), regardless of what’s going on around me or what I am listening to. I think about the chapters in outline form, and write them the same way. Sure I still have to edit and fine tune each and every chapter, but it is still a comfortable linear process for me.
Fiction is different. I have to stew and mull before I ever write a word. It seldom comes out in a particular order, and certainly not in a way that makes sense. I typically start writing it, only to rework and reweave a million times before I am ready to show ANYTHING to ANYONE. It is a very circular process for me.
Most of the time.
That is, except when I really have a NEED to flesh it out.
Then, I am back to an outline (very loosely) based on typical story boards ( you know, intro the protag and problem, create a crisis, etc). With my current WiP, I started writing it as I did the first couple of books I wrote – circular fashion, write it from whatever scene is in my head, etc. Before long, I got myself tangled in the story and had to hack my way out. Literally. I deleted most of it and started again.
But this time, I fleshed it out – stewing, running, researching, thinking and yes, outlining. Then I rewove the storyline, pulling in some of the previously deleted scenes, moving things around etc.
The result – I am much more settled and feel I can write any scene I wish, and still know where it is going overall. Whew. (A settled Christine is a much better Christine, trust me…)
For me, I have to combine the circular and linear parts of my brain and create from there.
What about you guys? How does your creative process work?