Friends asked about my writing process the other night. Later one told my wife, "I didn't know Michael was so talkative." Replied the wife, "He's not. You asked him about one of his favorite subjects."
That will teach them.
I consider myself an organic writer. Explaining what that means to friends, I told them it mostly means I work without an outline. An idea and concept finds handholds in my writing mind. A plot sprouts. Characters and scenes bloom.
I do sometimes sketch ideas, characters and scenes, creating snapshots. These are exposition pieces, usually three to give pages, delving into details and adding flesh. I'll also do this as a side journey while working on a fiction piece to help me clarify a situation in my mind so what I write is more fully vetted.
An energy shift occurs when I have the end in mind and a place to begin. The ending is usually pretty fixed but the beginning shifts and shifts as I learn more about the character, story and situation and restructure it to add details, improve pacing and increase tension. I typically write a specific scene 'as I experience it through my imagination as the character POV' and stop for that day. When I begin the next day, I start by going back to the previous scene, editing it through it and the just written scene, and then continuing with the next scene for the day. Often, later, when thinking over the story, I'll realize that X, just written, means, Y must come before it, or be taken into account, and will confirm that Z, the end, is still aligned.
I likened the process to going out to dinner on a whim, without a place in mind. The end, which is eating, doesn't change, but where we go changes as does the dialogue that ensues as options are discussed and explored, desires change, preference firms and knowledge is developed.
It's not always pretty but it's beautiful when it goes as planned. I have tried outlining in the past but the organic method is more my style. Just let out the mind's sails and let the winds guide you.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com