The Mafia Writing Process

writing_process

I admit it. I am NOSY. I love hearing how other writers write, what their process is like. Some people plot, some are pantsers. Some set a word count everyday while others set a time limit. Since I don’t think I’m the only one who likes a peek behind the writer curtain, I thought I’d ask the Mafia to share their writing process with us. I asked them two questions: What are you working on now? What is your process when writing? The answers (including mine) are below. Enjoy!

Debbie D’Aurelio

Currently:  I’m working on a chapter book series and MG novel which also relates to my writing process—I like to have two projects going at the same time. This allows me to truly put down one project for a week or so and get my mind working on something else. It also helps when a manuscript is out with a beta reader. I can work on another project while I’m waiting for a response. I’m a bit of a writaholic that way. 

Process:  You could also say I’m a hybrid plotter/pantser. I definitely prefer to plot out the story as much as possible from beginning to end. By plot out I simply mean mapping out plot points such as significant events, turning points and action in the story. However, I allow much of the character to evolve as I’m writing. Of course, I have some ideas about the personality of the characters before starting—are they confident, shy, type A, assertive, timid, etc? I can clearly picture all the characters in my head, but I find that I get to know them even better as they come to life on paper. 

I admittedly enjoy the revising process. Once the story is complete and all the loose ends are tightened up, that’s the time to add even more depth to the characters and the setting. This is the time to add character quirks and fun scenes to enhance the story. 
For more, follow Debbie on Twitter!

Currently:  I am finishing the first draft of Extraordinary Sam, Book 2.
 
Process:  My process is to carve out a few hours each day during the week while the kids are at school. My routine is to have some sort of music playing in the background and I light a good smelling candle. Doing this helps create a break from everything else and tells my brain that it is writing time.
For more, follow Kevin on Twitter!

Lela Bridgers

Currently: I am working on revisions to my newest middle grade fantasy-adventure. (Think MG meets Twilight Zone.)

Process: You can’t just read. You have to listen! The ear often catches things the eye misses. My process is: write, read, record, listen and repeat. I’m mostly a pantser when it comes to the creative side of things, but I’m becoming more of a plotter.
For more, follow Lela on Twitter!

Beth O’Neal

Currently: I’m working on a novel about a boy scout, my family’s Christmas newsletter, a blog about salads, a story about how I killed my father, and a short story about a mystery at the Grand Canyon.

Process:
As a fledgling writer, I don’t really have a process. I have tried desperately to create one.
I’ve blocked off my calendar and tried thinking of it as my “part-time job.”
I’ve tried writing for 3 hours, 3 days a week, in 45 min increments with a 15 min break in between.
I’ve tried getting up early and writing immediately for 15-30 min.
I’ve tried writing about something else first, before I delve into my project.
I’ve tried writing for just 5 minutes or just an hour-a-day.
I’ve given myself daily and weekly word count goals and page count goals.
I’ve tried writing by hand, and typing on my desk-top, and a combination of each.
I’ve tried writing in my basement, my bedroom, the park, and at a cafe.
 
Many tricks, but nothing sticks. I’m in this wonderful critique group, but I feel such shame when I have nothing to bring, no project to present for help. So then I doubt whether I am cut out to do this. Maybe I should just stop torturing myself? But then I get a great idea. A book that writes its first chapter in my head while I’m walking the dog, sitting in church, making dinner, driving down the highway… The internal dialogue in my head provides a never ceasing wellspring of material, a story that must be told. And I get so entranced by the story that I can’t push it away.

Currently: I am in the middle of revisions with my fabulous editor, Nancy Paulsen, on my second MG book.
Process: I try and start my day at 6 a.m., watch some news, have some coffee, then go for a workout. When I get home, I have some quiet time/prayer, THEN I finally begin writing. I’ll write till noon, then stop and begin one of my many other jobs. I work from home doing graphic design and social media, so I may not be finished until 7 or 8 pm. When I’m on deadline, I write every single day. FYI, my house is a wreck. I can’t do it all, so I don’t even try. 
For more, follow me on Twitter!

Don’t miss out on great content from the Mafia! Have agency news, author interviews, book reviews, etc. delivered straight to your In-Box by entering your email address in the Subscribe Form at the top/right of the page.


2 Comments

  1. I tried that “Seinfeld” chain thing once (in quotes because he has said in later interviews that this isn’t his method, but it has passed into urban writing legend). I crossed off every day that I wrote with a big red pen and kept going, so as not to break the chain. It became more of a millstone around my neck, but I did get a lot done.

    Now I just block off 15 minutes at the start of each work day. If I write more, it’s a bonus. If I skip it, I don’t beat myself up about it, but try and write more the next day. It gets me through the first draft at least.

    If I’m blocked on something, I go for walk and talk to the dog. He is the source of my best ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *