Now, without further ado I leave you with Mia Castile and her writing process.
Thank you, Hiba for inviting me to WovenStrands. It is a pleasure to be here. You asked for insight to my writing process, and at first I thought, “I don’t have a process. I just write.” But then the more I thought about it, I realized, everything is a process. So this is mine, I hope it gives your readers a bit of insight into their own style, and they enjoy it.
Everyone is different in their writing technique. Whether you go by a detailed outline, or just sit down and start telling a story, no two people do it the same way. When I first get an idea in my head, I begin thinking about it. It’s not just “hmm that’s a good idea.” but in an obsessive “I have to know everything about this character” sort of way.
I begin by making an overview. This may be what some consider an outline, but I don’t like that word. I break down each character. I break down their appearance, style, their personality, and main arc. If it’s a romance, I also spend time describing their feelings for their romantic interest. After I have a feel for my characters, I find pictures of people who I envision they might be. When I’m stumped or lose focus I return to my overview, and get the characters back on track. The final thing I do before I begin writing is put together a playlist in iTunes. Usually at this point I don’t have a title for my story, so I will usually call the playlist an expression from a song. For example the playlist for Generations was called “Soundtrack of my summer”; but for Gods of Detroit it began as “Detroit” since I knew that was the setting. The playlist evolves and changes as I write. A song may not move me as much as I originally thought it would, or I find a better suited song.
Then I write. At this point I know in my head where I want to go and what I want to happen. Some people like to hand write their ideas and story first and then type it. I prefer to do all of my writing on the computer. I save and back everything up. If you take one thing from this post, it’s this: Always back it up.
I don’t write my story in one document. It can get confusing for me when I want to go back to review, so I keep my novel in a file with each chapter in its own document. Once I feel confident in the story, I will compile it into one document. This way, it’s also nice for tracking a daily tally of word counts. Less math is always good math in my opinion. I usually start writing at the beginning of the story. If I have an idea of something I want to happen, but not until later in the story, I will start a document called “future plot line”. When I’m ready to insert the scene I’ve written, I cut and paste, easy as pie.
The advantage to writing this way, is the freedom I feel telling my story in a way that is a bit raw and truthful to me. The disadvantage is there have been days I simply stare at a blank page racking my brain for what I want to happen next. In those moments I may go back and read the chapters I’ve already written, or reach out to my inner circle to discuss the plot. Sometimes a simple conversation is all you need to put you back on track. Other times I have to set it aside for a few days and not think about it. When I return to it, it’s fresh again. I’m not saying my way of writing is the only or best way. It just works for me.
My best advice I could give to the aspiring author is this: Find the method that works best for you. If you are writing it’s because you love it, so make it enjoyable.
If you have questions for Mia, please feel free to leave a comment.