It’s December already, and so it’s time for another posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Please take a moment to stop in to the blogs of the amazing writers of this wonderful group. Read a comment, drop a holiday note, or just sit back and chuckle at the myriad things that we’re all insecure about. It’s quite the list some months. 🙂

This month I’m not necessarily insecure, just contemplative. I recently received my monthly copy of Writer’s Digest, and in it, there’s an interview with Chris Bohjalian. He goes into detail about his writing process and how he pumps out around fifty pages, prints it out, edits, and then moves on to the next section. But once he reaches around 100-200 pages in, the book changes enough that he takes the new understanding of story and goes back to rewrite from page one. 

I was interested in what he had to say about his process, not only because he’s successfully written sixteen novels, but also because that’s a formal approach to the same style I’ve stumbled through in my first novel.

It makes me wonder how others approach their process. I know the main discussion always comes back to pantsing versus plotting, but I doubt it’s really that simple for most of us.

So, my question this month is: what is your writing process? 

If you want to check out part of Chris Bohjalian’s interview, check out the link below. For the entire interview, pick up the January issue of Writer’s Digest.


About kimlajevardi

I am a forty-something-year-old writer. I'm currently drafting my second book. I've also written short stories, poems, and some non-fiction over the last several years. My interest in writing formed during countless hours with my nose tucked in books. I may have even been clutching a novel as I was born. :)
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15 Responses to IWSG

  1. Steven Symes says:

    From my experience everyone is different. I plan things out in a general sense, then while writing the rough draft the characters and story take over and change things. After that I review my notes and insert/change anything from the original plot I think works better. Then I go through the story over and over, polishing it up so everything flows well, makes sense and is overall the best story I can tell.

  2. Beverly Fox says:

    Having only written novels in the frenzied fashion of NaNoWriMo I don’t really have a distinct style yet. Perhaps when i start to edit/rewrite I’ll find out how I tend to do things…

  3. Karen Walker says:

    My process is very organic – I just get quiet and allow what wants to emerge to do so, in its own way and time. Dani Shapiro is a writer who seems to have a similar process and in her latest book, Still Writing, she inspired me very much with her thoughts on writing.

  4. Cathy Keaton says:

    I basically do the same thing where I need to write a certain amount of my story first before figuring out the voice and true direction it needs to take. I’m going through that right now and planning on going back and rewriting a bunch of the beginning of my MS because I realize it needs a fundamental change.

  5. Hey, if it works for him – which obviously it does! Glad you found yourself someone who does it in a similar fashion. I’m an avid outliner and will spend months on it before I begin to write, often taking longer to outline than to write and edit.

    • kimlajevardi says:

      I’ve heard others say the same thing, Alex. I may try a more detailed outline for book two, but it may end up being a hybrid as I refine my style. Knowing my personality, I’ll never have too much planned out. Can’t quite keep up that level of organization. 😉

      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Hi Kim!
    I also don’t have a set routine, but I tend to write to the end, returning to parts that I’ve decided to eliminate or that need rounding out along the way. My latest book is told through three POV’s (four if you count my alternate ending) so I found myself writing it in chunks that skipped around in order to stay in the same mindset for a sitting.
    Chris Bohjalian’s process sounds very reasonable!
    –December IWSG co-host

    • kimlajevardi says:

      I know what you mean about staying in one mindset. My manuscript is three POVs. It’s a tough go, but an interesting approach. It’s clear there many different ways writers approach writing. As long as it get’s done… 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and co-hosting.

  7. cleemckenzie says:

    I’m all over the map when it comes to process. Stories don’t come to me the same way each time. I like reading about others who have strategies because I’ll likely give some of them a shot when I’m stuck, which seems to happen a lot!

  8. I too work in sections, then rewrite from the beginning. I write in so many layers that my early drafts make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I love reading the process of other writers – everyone works so differently, but the end result is beautifully written prose. It just proves that there’s no right way of doing it, just your way!

  9. lexacain says:

    I’m glad you could identify with Chris and took some comfort in knowing he does things just like you! I take comfort when I read interviews where the author took a long time or found the writing process far harder than they expected. Makes me have hope about my own predicament. Great IWSG post! 🙂

    • kimlajevardi says:

      I’m with you on time, Lex. It really does inspire me to read about other writers. I’m thankful to interviews like the one I saw because it gives all of us a glimpse of the other side.

      Thanks for commenting.:)

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