Monday, March 18, 2013
The (Non-magical) Writing Process
John Steinbeck said, "I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."
John Steinbeck knew that the writing process is not magical. You basically just have to do it; just write. This is not a "how-to," it's more of an attempt to help you know the process so that none of this process will catch you off guard and you will know what to expect. I have broken the writing process down into these four steps:
The simple definitions for each of these steps are:
Prewriting - Anything you do before you actually write any portion of a piece. This includes thinking, getting the idea, taking notes, talking to others and a host of other things you might do in relationship to your writing before you actually write. This is a recursive process.
If you are thinking about your writing project,
you are already in the midst of the writing process for that idea.
Drafting - Putting your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. It involves explaining, supporting and connecting.
Putting ideas into words changes them....it gives them more power than you might realize.
Revising - The act of refining your work, improving the flow, making connections clear, clarifying context, etc. The revision process is more recursive than any of the other steps in the writing process. Be prepared for this.
The biggest part of revision is often elimination.
Editing - This is the last thing you will do before publication. I highly recommend hiring an outside editor since none of us are really objective enough to edit our own work.
"If it's possible to cut a word out, always cut it out." - George Orwell's rules for writing #3.
There you have the four steps to the writing process in a nutshell.