Earlier this year, I re-took a class on character development at Gotham Writers Workshop to help me jump into the second book in the series. As part of the (online) class discussion, the instructor asked us to say something about our writing process. I thought I’d share what I wrote:
“I've found that, when I write, I walk into the 'movie' of my characters' lives and just watch, listen, write it down. Then, it seems as if there's another 'voice' available in the background: it corrects me if the language isn't right and prompts me when I'm stuck. When I'm 'done' for a while, it's as if the movie theater has closed for the time being or for the night.
If I try to write more methodically (the dreaded plot outline), everything is just as dry as sand. It isn't that a story arc hasn't been made generally clear to me along the way, but a well-planned fiction project seems outside my ken, possibly even harmful for me to try to achieve.”
An excellent book on fiction writing is Write Away by Elizabeth George. She’s a champion of a more systematic approach. I look at it from time to time to make sure I’ve covered some of the bases!