My Drafting Process

My Drafting ProcessI have talked previously about my editing process, but as I’m currently drafting a new Iski Flare story I thought you might be interested in my processes around drafting.

I started out as a pantser and deep down I still kind of go with the flow. But now I would describe myself as a bit more of a planning pantser.

There are lots of articles and books out there with a range of opinions on how to outline and plan your story, and the level of detail you need before you start writing.

I use a combination of processes to outline each Iski Flare story but it seems to work best for me, at this stage. I start with the idea and the fairytale I’m basing my story on. I try to pull my idea down into a single sentence but at this early point it is more the idea of the story.

Then I use some tips from Holly Lisle to pull the main characters, the main conflict, twists and setting together.

I use this as the base to start the Snowflake Method. I don’t use all of this process as I think it gets too detailed. But I follow the steps through, summarising the story as a paragraph and then expanding that out to a page with all the main story points.

KM Weiland is brilliant when it comes to structure and plotting, and she has written several really good books on the subject. I have a summary page I created with a structure outline with all the main stage needed for a good story structure.

I then put my page long summary into the structure sheet to create my outline. I think for some of my larger works I need to develop that a bit further to include some more detailed beats. But for Iski it is enough.

For each Iski episode I aim for around 20,000 words. So I also add to the outline roughly how many words I want in each section.

Then it’s time to write.

I make the time and using the notes as a starting point away I go.

I don’t worry about spelling, I don’t read back over what I have written, unless it is the beginning of the next writing session and I might need a little reminder. I just type. I don’t worry if it is any good, I don’t worry if I’ve forgotten a name, or haven’t got a name yet.

For this first draft I am only worried about getting the story down. The bones of it onto the page.

It is the editing process that will look at the details and make sure that it all flows together, that there is consistency, and that everyone has a name and a clear voice.

The first draft is getting a feel for the story. For me it is Iski letting me know what he wants, or discovering it with him as he works his way through the issues with Flare, those he meets and his ongoing battle to prove himself a man. Sometimes he gets whiny, or frustrating but I have to let that go, let him talk it out or punch it out sometimes, and then we can revisit on the next round.

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