The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes. -Agatha Christie
Every writer I know has said time and again that their best ideas come to them at the oddest times, for example-while doing the dishes...or in the shower...or that blissful moment when you're finally drifting off to sleep...
I'm sure we've all been there. Reaching for a paper towel and a pen from above the fridge to jot down the wonderful book concept or scene idea or line of dialogue before it escapes us completely. Or jumping out of bed to run for our laptop to finish that scene that has been plaguing us. I'm actually guilty of waking my husband up to give him a few trigger words to say to me the next morning so I'll remember the idea floating around in my semi-conscience state:)
So, as it turns out-most of our 'writing' is not writing at all, therefore I have a hard time recording my progress on a novel based on daily word count. Ultimately, the words need to fill the pages, but what about the other stages?
In Rosanne Bane's, Around The Writer's Block, she describes six stages of the creative process. The first is that wonderful moment when a new idea for a storyline comes to you. She calls it 'First Insight'. If you're a plotter, this is where you sit down and start brainstorming, freewriting, outlining the bigger picture, while recognizing the holes that still need to be developed.
Next, is the stage she calls 'Saturation', the research behind the novel. If you still love libraries, like me, you dash off to lose yourself among the aisles of books, setting up camp on the floor between the shelves, soaking up all the knowledge you can. Others prefer the internet for their research and have their favorite go-to sites. Right now, I am currently writing book two of my Brookhollow series and my hero is a firefighter. My 'research' of course consists of visiting as many fire halls in Edmonton as I can. I want to be thorough right?:)
The next stage is my favorite-'Incubation'. This is where we do everything but write. We nap, we walk, we do busy work to keep our hands occupied. All the while letting the ideas mingle with what we've learned through our researching, until scenes begin to form. Which leads to stage four-Illumination. The 'aha' moment we all love more than chocolate and wine. The moment when we have to stop talking about our book and just savor it. This stage is exhilarating, but also, for me, a little scary because now that I know what to write, I start to doubt my ability to do justice to this idea on paper. Can I bring it to life?
Next stage-Verfication. Yes, I can bring it to life and this is the stage to do it. This is the time to write the first draft, no editing or revising-just writing. Spelling mistakes, grammatically errors-who cares? This is the creative time. Everything else can be fixed in the final stage six-Hibernation. In this stage, we let the work 'cool off' and sit for awhile. Nothing new is created now, we just relax and regroup before the revisions and edits begin.
Therefore, in this outline of the stages of writing-there's really only one stage where we actually 'write', but we have to account for all the time spent dreaming and fantasizing and creating. To me, that's the real job of a writer. And of course, who doesn't love calling nap time-'working'?
Anyway, that's it for me. I'd love to know what everyone's favorite stage is!