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.
After a lot of planning, (you can read about here) I jumped in and started writing. Here's what I did.
I usually brainstorm first drafts of poems in a notebook, but I knew that wouldn't work for a project as big as a novel. I tried that method before and found myself revising the same 20-30 poems over and over without moving forward. An author of a verse novel once told me that she got the story down first then went back and worked on refining the poems. I decided to try her process, and it seemed to work for me.
Focusing only on content, I wrote quick drafts of each poem. I made a spreadsheet with columns for: title of the poem, its purpose, and when it takes place. After every writing session, I recorded each poem I worked on that day. Tracking the poems helped me see where holes are in the story. It also helped me stay focused on moving the story forward. I got the idea to do this after reading this interview with Marilyn Hilton.
So here's where I am now. I have a VERY messy first draft of my NIV, and a strange thing happened along the way. Even with all the planning I did, the story I thought I was writing isn't the story I actually wrote. I realized that the problem the character is struggling with is really the result of something much larger.
I've always heard the advice to put a story away for a bit and then come back to it with fresh eyes. So I'm taking a little time to sit with the story and think it through. I'm enrolled in a verse novel class that begins later this month. By then, I hope to be ready to jump back into the story. In the meantime, I want to work on some stand alone poems and revise a picture book.
If you are writing a novel (or have written one), I would love any tips you are willing to share. This is new territory for me, and I can use all the advice I can get. 😊
Thanks for reading.