I'm always curious how other writers write. Do they plan a meticulous outline? Start writing and see where the story takes them? How do they decide which POV to use and which names to give to their characters?
My writing process starts fairly simply. I usually get an idea late at night, desperately hope I remember it in the morning and promise myself I'll keep a notepad beside the bed. That promise tends to be forgotten in the chaos of the kids' bedtimes and my nighttime work schedule.
Once an idea is formed, I come up with the first line. I know if I have a great first line, the book is going to flow from there. The first line of Finding Lucas shocks some people, makes others laugh and definitely urges people to read more. When I thought of that line, I wrote it down and could not stop writing the story.
From there, I just write. I have a general mental outline of what the plot and who the characters will be. I have always written in first person, but I am itching to try the third. As a professional editor, it is extremely difficult not to edit my mistakes as I go. But, I hold myself back from making any changes until I have gotten at least a few chapters in so I can get a feel for the story and the characters' voices.
The names for my characters fit the physical descriptions I have given them. But, the names are also what I would name my children if I decided to have more than two. I won't. Instead, I get to give some of my favourite names to characters I love and names I abhor to characters I don't like.
It usually takes me a year to complete a novel because while taking care of my two little ones, I also run a freelance writing/editing business, Perfect Pen Communications, and have to remember to eat and sleep. Oh, and hang out with my awesome husband, too.
In that year, I write the story and then start chopping. I chop chapters and story lines, words and pages. I have at least three people read it; then, I cut some more. I read it again and send it to a professional editor for a thorough polish.
The novel I'm working on now is actually one I've already written, and the process is a bit different. The story and characters are there, but now I'm developing it, fleshing it out and changing anything that makes me cringe.
I would love to know what your writing process is!