My Process for Writing (Z Minor)

Doesn’t matter if it is a short story or a novel – they all start with an idea. Some ideas are big like an historical fact or could be just a couple of words. Anything to start me thinking of characters, plots, and what if.

Once I take the idea I start thinking title. I have to have a working title, I think it keeps me grounded in the story. I must admit the title usually doesn’t change over time it takes to write the story – be it years, months or just weeks. In some ways I believe the title is most important as it can draw readers to your finished book.

After the title comes the characters, big and small. I heard one teacher call them fat characters - very developed, and skinny characters - they come on to the page and go off without much fanfare. Names of my main characters I have to have before I start writing. Other characters names I find as I write them into my story. I get names from phone books, there still is a use for phone directories besides being a great door stop. I also use magazines and baby books names. I have a good assortment, some even tell the origin of the first name and what nationality they are from. Last names I find in phone books or sometimes I find them looking at the assortment of books in my office. Many times I might not even need a last name, it all depends on the story line.

I also do an in-depth interview of my main characters before I start writing. I want to know something about them and their lives up to the point the story starts. Gives me ideas as to how they would react under certain circumstances. I ask about their families, what they like or don’t like. What is their pet peeve? - you can bet whatever it is will find its way into the story one way or another.

I usually write two to three chapters to see if I think I have a good work in progress. If so, I write the first draft straight through. By the end of the book I really know my characters and how they reacted to the plot etc. I go back and start the rewrite process and many times I use information found in the later chapters to flesh out the story more and in the process it can give it more depth. I have also started to do a little more plotting with the rewrite. I make sure all the loose ends are tied up, is the plot believable, and add anything that seems to move the story to a strong conclusion. All this works for me. Best of luck with your writing.  

Z. Minor
Author of Historical Romantic & Contemporary Suspense Novels


Joan Vincent said...

I wish I had your discipline for writing. The in-depth interviews sound particularly helpful. Thanks for a few new tips.