Writing is a process. Thinking about my own process helps me grow as a writer. What works for me might not work for you, but maybe you'll find a few useful bits along the way. I hope you will share your tips with me as well.
Today, I'm sharing my prewriting. As you'll see, it took a few months of planning before I even started writing a first draft. Here's what I did.
- I've read dozens of verse novels because I enjoy them. After several attempts to write one, I realized that I needed to go beyond reading for enjoyment and actually study them. I looked at one element at a time and took notes. Most verse novels are character-driven so I started there and examined things like: voice, behaviors, and character arc.
- I did a lot of research to learn more about the issues and struggles my main character faces.
- Next, I had an idea to get to know my main character. For many years, I've kept a journal. I believe that is where my truest voice comes through. So, I chose a spiral notebook that my eleven-year-old character would like. Everyday for a month, I wrote entries from her POV. I let her decide the topic for each entry. My NIV is inspired by my own childhood so she and I share a lot of the same memories and emotions.
- In my personal journal, I wrote about why I the NIV is important for me to write, how it will serve children, and examined why the character had to be eleven years old.
- Meanwhile, I looked through images on the internet to find pictures that were similar to the characters and setting I had visualized.
- I wrote several pages of character sketches. These have been so helpful when I have questions about a character's thoughts or behaviors.
- Then, I made a map of the setting (and glued the house and other items) on a sheet of cardstock.
- Finally, I made a timeline of plot points.