It’s here! The Character Collective Podcast is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and a bunch of other podcasty places. New episodes are out every Wednesday so I decided to supplement the awesomeness with a little blog post. This week, we talked about our writing processes and how they evolved. My process is still evolving and I think the important thing for any new or emerging writer to remember is that your process is your process. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as anyone else’s. More importantly, what works now, works now. Tomorrow is a different day. So, I’m going to share my CURRENT process – it might not be my process tomorrow.
My Writing Process
Every author seems to have their own process and that is an important thing to know if you are entering the industry or considering trying your hand at writing. It’s like anything, you have to find what works for you. One size definitely does NOT fit all. My writing process works for me and more importantly, it works for me right now. It wasn’t always like this and it won’t always stay like this. Writing process evolution is as important as personal evolution and growth.
1. The idea
- It all starts with either an idea or the decision to use an idea
- I have an ideas folder in which I collect ideas – so I’m never, ever looking for one!
- The NUSA series (PJ Silva) and Death Wish Foundation series (Kai Parker) both developed from a single thought saved in my ideas folder
2. The Story Circle
- Once I have the concept/idea, I’ll braindump (using paper and pen) against Dan Harmon’s Story Circle
- The Story Circle is my current preferred planning resource/tool
- I ask questions based on the Story Circle such as, What does my protagonist WANT to find, and What do they NEED to find?
- Using a pre-made story circle template, I write an overview (usually one sentence) for each part of the story circle
- Under each section, I will dot point scenes or major events and then separate these points into chapters
- I then dot point out the events of each scene including any prominent dialogue, interactions, foreshadowing, and insights (information I know that is not shared in the narrative)
4. Dumbest Version (aka First Draft)
- I turn on Audacity and record as I verbally write from the dot points for 15 minutes
- I load the exported file into Dragon for transcription and do the next 15 minutes voice record while it transcribes
- Once the transcription is done, I copy and paste it into scrivener with a note of the saved audio file title, load the next transcription, and do the next recording… and so on until the dumbest version is complete
5. Cover Design
- Once the first draft is complete, I can order my cover design
- I currently use 100covers for my custom cover designs
- There are plenty of pre-made cover options available but a good custom cover is worth the expense
- I do a full grammar and spellcheck using Grammarly as a minimum
- Next, I do a read edit one chapter at a time
- Then I do a chapter voice edit where I listen to it being read back to pick up anything that I might have missed and repeat the last two steps for each chapter
- I set my release date and announce it on GoodReads and my websites
- Publish on Amazon
- Create Amazon ads
Evolution of my writing process
There wasn’t a time when I wasn’t writing. I wrote my first “book” when I was ten years old. By book, I mean, it had a cover and was stapled together to look like a book. Hey, I was ten. I still have it. Writing was in my blood and soul. It always has been and even before I wrote my first novel, I had a box full of writings, musings, book chapters, stories, poems, etc.
In 2019, I did a writing challenge. I wrote one million words in one year, and boy does a challenge like that make you think about your processes. So, that is how my current process has developed. My first novel (2009) was written primarily pen to paper and in emails sent home during breaks at work. There was no planning, it was pure pantsing and when I finished, I didn’t know what to do next. I then went on a journey of learning and education and that has never ceased.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of things that just didn’t work. One example is voice to text. I tried it and gave up, quickly. It just didn’t work for me. But the reality is, it just didn’t work for me then. Now, I swear by it. What changed? I found the software that worked for me and I found a way to manage voice to text that overcame the problems I was encountering. Basically, what changed, was my mindset. Instead of focusing on what wasn’t working, I started focusing on what was working and what I could do. The point is that just because something does or doesn’t work now, doesn’t mean it will always be that way, and that is totally fine! Find what works NOW and do that. If you focus on what doesn’t work, you will just get overwhelmed and do nothing.
I am Kai Parker AND PJ Silva. Yes, it’s a thing. As Kai Parker, I write Urban Fantasy/Dark Comedy/Satire (Cupid’s Guide series) and as PJ Silva, I write Sci-Fi, Paranormal Fantasy (NUSA series). My Publication House is Writer’s World Books under which we also have published non-fiction titles (The Write Now Book Writing Series).
About the Podcast
The Character Collective is a podcast from writers Kai Parker and Kristy Westaway about writing and talking to your… characters. It’s a thing. I’m a character-based writer. The characters are number one. The characters tell me the story, I’m just the vessel through which their stories can flow.
This podcast is about showing the reality of writing. It’s not about being perfect and polished and ‘successful’ (whatever that means) but rather it’s about passion and desire and fun. We created this podcast because we saw a huge gap between where we were in our journeys as writers and the other podcast presenters out there. We aren’t financially independent writers, YET. We are on our way. We are in the gap between where you are and where you want to be, so come play and let’s grow together.