I’m going to be frank, I don’t listen to how other people suggest writing! I’ve read a few things and a lot of people say that you need to plan. Plan plot points, develop your characters. There’s whole tools out there for writing down every aspect of your book before you’ve even written the first chapter.
I don’t do it.
I write things freely. And do you know why I write things freely? Because it’s REAL. It’s real to me, anyway. I watch what’s happening in my head while I write it all down. My first draft is not my final and so I can write exactly what I see happening and then, during my second draft, I cut things down. I add things, descriptions, and change things that need to be changed.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying this is what you should do because, frankly, planning might work for you best. Some people have a lot of different stories in one or might even have a hard time remembering all their characters. If that’s the case, planning might work for you! But don’t ever think that’s the only way to write a good story.
In fact, I tried planning at first! I planned a HUGE plot point in The Drifter. I’m talking monumental. You know what happened? The characters changed. They evolved and so did my story. The Drifter isn’t MY story, it’s THEIRS. And because of that, it was made better.
The first thing I do is write the entire book. This generally takes a couple months to do and I tend to do about a chapter each night I write. Next, I reread and rewrite the entire book. That’s right, I don’t just cut things out. I actually rewrite the entire book again with the original right there on the side of the screen. I feel it limits my creativity if I’m just rereading and editing things out. My sentences tend to flow a lot better the second time around. That’ll take another couple of months. After I finish, I tend to get feedback from people — close friends and family. I edit things out or change or add things if I wasn’t clear enough based on the feedback. It always helps getting a fresh pair of eyes to tell you what’s good, bad, or unclear. Lastly, I think about my least favorite chapter. I always have one. And from there I decide how I can make it better.
My process is probably quite different from what you’ve been told but the important thing to remember is that everyone is different. Just like how some people like fantasy novels over sci-fi, some people write differently than others and it works for them. Be yourself. Write the way that works best for you.