My writing process is pretty messy right now, but as Peter Drucker put it, “What gets measured, gets managed.” In that spirit, here’s how I approach writing fiction:
1) I get an idea and jot it down in Google Drive or on a notepad if I’ve got no internet connectivity.
2) If it’s in a world that I’ve built before, I review my documentation on that setting and decide if it’s adequate for the new story. (Hint: It’s not.)
3) I alternate between using a Mindmap to plot elements of the story and another Mindmap to track relevant characters, their relationships, locations, and floor plans / street maps / region maps relevant to the story.
4) I do the exercises in Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.
5) I do scene writeups, looping back to 3 & 4 if they need updating. Remember, stale documentation isn’t worth having.
6) I write scene 1. I write scene 2. I edit scene 1. I write scene 3. I edit scene 1 & 2. I write scene 4. I edit scenes 1-3. I write scene 5. I edit scenes 2-4… (you get the idea)
If changes emerge in writing or in structural edits, I return to steps 3-5 and update documentation, rework the story’s trajectory, and update the blueprints.
7) Having finished the story, I take a two-week break and do something else.
8) ON PAPER, I reread my story from scene 1 to end with a red pen, noting issues.
9) I do surgery if necessary to fix the structural problems in the story.
10) I do a whole-book Strunk & White edit.
11) I do a whole-book edit for consistent character voice.
12) I take another two weeks and then reread it on paper again, this time without a pen in hand. At this time I pull in three beta-readers to get their opinion, since I’m probably too close at this point to see the problems.
13) I wait another two weeks, and then read beta-reader and my own opinions, and make a final edit.
14) Someone else copy-edits it.