A Writing Process by Christine Duncan

   I realized after I wrote last week’s post about the fact that I’m reading right now instead of writing that it’s not entirely true.  The fact is, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write before I write it.  So yes, I’m reading, but there is a planning process going on in my head.   I do this mental rehearsal with everything I write.  I have a post I’ve been wanting to write on journalistic ethics for this blog for weeks now, but it’s not ready yet in my head, so it’s never made it to WordPress yet. 

Many times the mental dealie is how I get myself psyched up about a project enough to start a project or a book. I never have an outline, or a chart of the characters but I have to be able to see in my head that I can make it into something, even if I don’t know exactly where it’s going yet.  It’s more of a glimpse of scenes that I know can lead somewhere, if that makes any sense. 

  Later, midpoint in most of my books but somewhere in every project there is a delay of game, for lack of a better term, while I somehow review what I’ve got and add on to it to finish up.  It can take a while as many times it turns out to be an  unconscious assessment that something is missing or needs fixing.  Editing can lead me back to active writing but only the kind of editing that comes from taking a big step back from the writing and looking at the piece as a whole.  Then I might get together with a writing buddy who knows the story and discuss the whole thing the way we would gossip about friends, talking about my characters as though they were real people, eg:  “I can’t believe what’s just happened.  Kaye is just not that obsessive.  I don’t believe she is acting this way!”

         So I guess you could say I’m in time out just now.  But I count this time as writing time, because without it, I can’t write.  I haven’t heard many other authors talk about this, so I don’t know if it’s common or just crazy.   But my closest guess is that it’s how those of us with a less than organized mind deal with the planning.  So in a way, all of life is really working on my writing.


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