Had lunch last week with my writer friend, Angel (whose name I ALWAYS WRITE as "Angle." Why do my fingers do that?)
Anyway, we talked about process, and, HAHA what's that? Are there really writers who sit down with a fully-sketched outline of plot arch and character development and finely-selected places to insert symbolism? Do people DO that?
Here is my "process."
1) Sit down, preferably in coffee shop or book store where there is no opportunity to chuck writing to the side and watch 16 and Pregnant marathon instead.
2) Write whatever comes into my brain. Hope it sounds like English.
3) Get latte. Tweet about weird people sitting in coffee shop.
4) Write a scene based completely around a bad 80s song that pops into my head.
5) Get stuck, because scene is based solely on bad 80s song.
6) Quit. Schedule lunch with parents/friends/strangers. Explain plot dilemma. Hope they say, "Well, what if you..." Hope idea is brilliant. Usually, it is.
7) Write with renewed direction, destined for greatness.
8) Get stuck again, attempt outline, settle for crumpled piece of notebook paper scrawled with things like, "DON'T FORGET TO FINISH BOOK."
9) Have a million friends read over me, point out inconsistencies, use manuscript as parakeet cage liner.
10) Write blog about lack of process.
Angle (SEE?) gave me a good tip over lunch, though, one that I think I might actually use. She writes note cards for her characters, listing their names, ages, jobs, traits, likes, dislikes. That way, you just refer to the cards to stay consistent. It helps you avoid a mental breakdown after you send your book out to ten agents only to realize you have made the main character 12 different ages and heights.
Good idea, right? Talking to other people is the only process that really matters, I think.