Writing Fiction: Discover Your Process

Workshop Topic #1: Discover Your Process Discover your optimal process for entering into the mind of your story. In the book, The Craft of Writing, by William Sloane you will find several ways to enter into the ‘mind’ of story. “Experimenting with your process is a way to open yourself up to new possibilities," writes Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo. If writing is about generating the atmosphere of a specific time and place, how do you enter the atmosphere of YOUR story? If you know how to do this in ways that work for you personally, you will not have an issue with writer's block, because you will know how to prepare your psyche for the mood, the time, the place you want to incorporate into your novel or story. To discover more about how writers do this, listen to podcasts of interviews with writers. When you do need inspiration, this allows you to move into new clarity about what works for YOU in your writing. For every writer this is different. When you discover how to focus on what allows you to intentionally enter into the process of writing YOUR story, you will find the momentum it gains cannot be ignored…

For example, as a writer myself, I lived pretty much in 16th century Scotland for two years while setting down the first draft of my novel on the witch trials in North Berwick in 1590. I might look at painting from the era done by the Dutch School of painters so evocative of those times when perspective was first discovered in art. Or, I might listen to music from the Renaissance. But for a writer working on the story of the prohibition in Chicago in 1920, there are other resources. I had to go to texts that were written in Elizabethan English to try to discern the mindset of the thought leaders of the time to try to wrap my brain around what they must have been thinking, what their values were that could justify the scapegoating of masses of women. For the prohibition writer, there are images from the period and much more to go on in minute detail in the historic record.

WRITER'S TIP To hear recordings of author interviews that are especially well done, I highly recommend the BBC broadcast of The World Book Club where some of the world's internationally acclaimed authors have been interviewed with great insight and care to the process.