by Judy Merrill Larsen
Process? We don't need no stinking process!
Oh, wait, maybe we, or at least I do.
It goes kind of like this . . . my own 12-Step Process
1.) Ohmygawd this is the best idea ever! I can knock this baby out in no time. My agent is gonna love me. Oh, man, I am so excited.
2.) What was that idea again? Crap. (Twiddle thumbs. Play solitaire on line.)
3.) Okay, Judy (you know it's bad when I start referring to myself in 3rd person), this is serious. You need to write that book. Or ANY book. Sheesh. Oh, but wait. Isn't there laundry to do? And when did you last refill all the soap dispensers. DO THAT NOW!
4.) Whine to husband. Pour another glass of wine. Repeat as necessary.
5.) Trudge up to 3rd floor office. Go back downstairs to refill coffee mug. Look at headline from yesterday's NYT. Start to reach for the crossword puzzle. Slap own hand.
6.) Sigh. Loudly.
7.) Actually sit down in writing chair (amazingly novel idea!). Open laptop. Take a deep breath. Type: Chapter One.
8.) Keep typing. Ignore sound of dryer buzzing. Do NOT look at Facebook. Okay, turn airport OFF. Good girl (pat self on the back).
9.) Reread the 867 words you just wrote. Tweak them. Rewrite first paragraph again. Keep writing. Read over everything from the beginning. Smile.
10.) Glance at clock and realize you still have all those errands to run. Keep writing because you want to. Then write some more when it gets a little hard. Allow yourself to write in all caps--THESE SENTENCES SUCK. You'll fix them later.
11.) Stop for the day even though you can't wait for what's going to happen next to your characters. Spend evening thinking about your characters while appearing as though you're listening to your husband (he knows and you know he knows, but it's all good).
12.) Wake up with a great new plot idea for your characters. Ignore steps 1-6 and dive in to step 7.
Repeat as necessary until you've got a complete draft.
There. You've done it. Now you just have to revise. But that's okay. You wrote a novel! 1500 or so words at a time. Hot damn. Cool beans.
So, what's your process like?
(As I post this, I'm a teensy bit more than halfway through my latest novel. I promised my agent she'd have it by Sept. 1. Wish me luck, okay?)
I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, am the mom/stepmom to five kids (ages 17-25), and taught high school English for 15 years. I'm over on Facebook and Twitter . My first novel, ALL THE NUMBERS was published in 2006.