Wednesday, May 6, 2009

TLYDF Style Series: Process

1. Preparation | 2. Influence | 3. Process | 4. Product

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Before I start writing this article on the Process of creating a story, I need you all to sit through reading a little bit of Emibella introspection. Now, any of you who read my stories know that introspection is what I do. But that is my fictional characters. This is me.
When I came up with the idea for this series of articles, I thought of the four basic areas that best explain the way we choose to write, the way we were taught to write or the way we are born to write, depending on how you look at things. Our Style.

When I sat down to write the first article in the series, I wrote it much like I would any essay or article. It had philosophical components and points made from various academic sources. It had my own experiences and a healthy dose of what professional authors have written on the subject. I did what I was familiar with and what was expected of me. But something was missing. Style, by definition, is unique. We can pointedly choose to write a certain way, we can learn through academics or by gleaning style from writing that we enjoy or we can believe that the talent comes from within. These three things obviously work best in combination.

But we are still all very different. The best way, then, to write an article about style is to get a broad spectrum of technique. Sure, these are just a small sampling of authors. Yes, they are most known for consistently producing quality work. What better group of women to go to than these to have a better understanding that different techniques can produce similarly amazing results?

This article is about unique technique. No one is right and no one is wrong. I can guarantee you that the authors you love to read most, from the classics to fan fiction, have all had very different styles and this is the much the same with our own little group.

The authors that gave the sampling for today's article are:

All of them, in their own uniquely beautiful way, write lovely pieces of fiction for our enjoyment. They take time out of their lives to study, read, write, revise and discuss. They all come from very different backgrounds and speak more than one language. They all have lives outside of the writingfan fiction; family's, husbands, boyfriends, pets, friends.

These women, along with you the reader, are here because they get something out of this. It is a wonderful gift to both be able to write and get wonderful feedback and to be able to read and give it in return.


One last thing before we get started. This was supposed to be a four part series but after looking closely at all that this entails, it only makes sense for me to break this down further. To create is a process and this process is complex. That said, I am going to break down this fourth part in the series into three individual sections. Special thanks toMinisinoo for urging me to do so. I think that there is much to be gained from learning from our fellow authors, and this section proves this.


Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

How does an idea come about? There are many ways to answer that question but the most basic answer is that there is a need. This need to write something can manifest itself in many ways. It may be the urge to write something that drives you. You brainstorm ideas, think of plot points and format a story around your basic need to put fingertips to keys and create. It may also be the need to write the idea. You may be watching a movie or walking through the grocery store. You may be having coffee with a friend and then WHAM!, the idea hits you with such strength that you need to write.

When I started writing, I stuck to canon. It was comfortable to me and I liked the idea. Truth be told I didn't understand the draw to humanfics about vampire characters.

Over the summer I was put in a position where I needed to brush up on my rhetoric philosophy for work. I began thinking a lot about persuasive writing and, being someone who reads mostly non-fiction (gasp! I know.), I wondered how the application of rhetorical persuasive theory would apply to fiction. Further, I thought about how this persuasive style would be best put in emotions. As this basic skeleton began to form, I kept in mind how in Plato's time this persuasive style was frowned upon as lies and manipulation. Before I knew exactly what was happening, a story began to form in my head. A story where, not only the characters are manipulative through their words but in which I manipulate the reader through mine. A tangled web, of sorts, where we love and hate and laugh and cry all because we are manipulated by those 26 letters and the way they are put to paper.

I needed to write this story.

Do you start writing because you have thought of an amazing idea or is it your urge to write that makes you brainstorm an idea?

I start writing when a character comes into my head who is compelling enough that I can't shake him/her. The character has a story, and if it is good enough for me to bother writing down, then it may take on a life of its own. But the character and his/her story are the inspiration. -jfly


I write because a good idea occurred to me. Then the idea takes residence in my head a I can’t help but write it.-gustariana


It’s a two-way street. I’m always seeing things that don’t fit into their environment, like a dilapidated building or a bum stumbling through a nice neighborhood, which causes me to weave stories around them. Then I get itchy fingers (no, that’s not an STD) and have to jot it down for later use. -gondolier


I actually put off the "work"/writing part a lot, but usually the motivation to see an idea realized is what makes me get off my duff and write it out.


I have a writing schedule. I assign certain days of my time off and tackle the information I have collected into a notebook - from when my muse struck - and try to form the random ideas into on cohesive unit. But I stick to my schedule and that allows me to get everything done. It's not always the most top notch quality - but it's bones and those I can work with later. -smellyia


Initially I decided to write because I wanted more Alice. I wasn't familiar with FFN yet, so I rather over-ambitiously decided to write it myself. -siDEADde


I always have more ideas for stories than I could possibly write, so I tend to write in response to ideas. I sometimes even start writing on the idea to see if it grabs me enough to keep going. I have several of these "orphaned" first chapters or summaries in both fandom and original fiction that I'll probably never continue. Sometimes the problem is that it's a cool idea, but I don't really have a plot (I have one first chapter of an original story that is exactly that -- really COOL idea ... but not PLOT, ha), or sometimes I have a plot fine, but I'm involved in something else and don't have time to write the story. This is also why I do *badly* fic exchanges and such because I write because an idea inspires me and I have an idea, not "on demand." I can usually produce SOMEthing by the deadline, but it's rarely that good. In fact, I've not even included some of those exchange pieces on my website because I thought them too "blah." I think I've only done one piece for a fic exchange I actually LIKED. (Challenges are a different matter, as I can pick a challenge that interests me.)

I should add that I RARELY come up with ideas that are short story material. 9 out of 10 of my story ideas are at least novella length or longer. This is part of why a lot of them don't get written. Novels require time to write. -Minisinoo


amazing idea. i can tell you jandco writes because she gets the urge. -wtvoc


For me, the idea comes first. Usually one that I can't shake and it plagues me for days. It will be a scenario that I find myself thinking about when I'm trying to get to sleep at night, or dreaming about, or constantly pops in my head while I'm just going about my day. I have to write it down, at least in outline form, so that I can see what happens all of the way through. -GinnyW

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Once we have that need we can't shake, what do we do with it? It's driving us to write, sure, but how do we process the information. Do we write "Chapter One" on the top of page one? Do we know how it ends?

When I started writing "If it's the Beaches" (the story I am using as a model for this article) I wrote a simple five hundred word synopsis of the entire story frombeginning to end. Not an outline really, just the plot. The equivalent to your mom coming up to you and asking you "What was the book that you just read about, and I want proof that you read it." (Maybe I am the only mom who asks that way.)

Do you begin writing with the basic plot-points in your head or do you write them down separately from the fic?

The plotpoints have usually already played out very vividly in my mind before I get down to writing. I get the character, the story, the conflict... then I research. All along, though, I make notes in Notepad. I have so many little .txt docs full of random shit. -jfly


I outline the basic plot points from start to finish, along with the characteristics of the main players. Some critical scenes also make their way into the defining process. -gustariana


I always, always write down my basic plot structure before I write. Except for poetry—I just write words that sound well together, then work them into a mini-moment. -gondolier


I usually keep it all stored in my head. If it's a good enough thought, it is committed to memory. -halojones

I used to do this with the "idea" of what I wanted to happen in my head, but the journey is so important that I am trying something new - PLANNING. My experience from writing Disaffected showed me how essential a plan is and me being the kind of person who has her hands dipped in everything, having a corporeal diagram of what I am planning comes in useful for the forgetful. -smellyia


I write them separate from the fic. -siDEADde


Initially, yes, it's in my head, but if I do decide it might fly, I sit down and sketch out at least a plot arc. Sometimes it never gets beyond that when I realize the length and/or that I don't have a really solid plot. Sometimes I write a bit of a chapter, then plot it out, BUT I never really leap into full-scale writing without at least a plot arc. For why, see below ... -minisinoo


nah, i write down the plotpoints. there's like, a vague idea floating around. "boy meets girl, girl meets boy. they have searing sexual and emotional connection. boy goes back home and girl spontaneously shows up at his place, only to find out that he's knocked up a lesbian. angst ensues." other than that, i had nothing but a few scenes and karaoke songs in my head when i started out writing. scotch had pretty much the same m.o. -wtvoc


Most of my basic plot points get written down in email or IM to one of my friends. I find that the idea develops more fully as I'm trying to explain it to someone else. - GinnyW

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

To outline or not to outline, that is the question. This is something that strikes me as one of the greatest questions and one that proves that our unique styles make us who we are. Outlining, to some, is the most important part of a story. It is your fall back, your proof and your backbone. It is not just nice to have around but it's needed.

For those of us who write canon, a basic outline is already in place, the source material. But others need to start from scratch. Some people outline their entire story, some do a chapter at a time and some don't outline at all.

Yes, no outline. I am here to say that there is nothing wrong with not having an outline. Not all authors do it because writing is DEEPLY personal. What works for some doesn't work for others. I will be the first to tell you that my characters speak to me. They tell me when something is working or not, outline or no. They don't care. If Emmett doesn't want to take his shirt off, he won't. Funny thing is, he is always right. But back to that later.

Do I outline? Yes and no. I have an outline for my entire story. A map. I am meticulous and insistent that my story have no plot holes . I want the reader to read chapter 25 and remember something that I put in in chapter seven. So for that, I need an outline. That said, I don't outline the chapters. I have a basic goal and I see where the characters take me.

Do you "outline"? If you do, how far into the story do you outline before you being writing?

I make notes more than outline. I can see the whole story play out in my head. I write down as much of it as I can in one sitting, and that evolves into my outline. With a really simple story like EARTHQUAKE! though, I just wrote the whole thing at once. -jfly


Yes, I outline. In my case I did a list of bullets of everything I wanted to cover in the story, all the way to the epilogue. It helps me stay on track and avoids some of the pitfalls that are a bit common infanfic these days. Besides the key plot points I spend some time thinking about the characters, who they where, what they did. And what I expected to see come out of them at the end of the journey. -gustariana


Yes. I do a basic outline of the entire story (key scenes, climax, etc.), then fill in the detail as I write. Of course, I always reserve the right to change it as the story develops and new ideas beg for my attention.


I don't outline, but I'm trying to get better with that. When you don't outline it catches up to you at some point, as I've realized with my first two stories. -halojones


I used to not outline. But I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON! Let me explain. Disaffected had a general idea of what I wanted to do. I had basic themes and knew certain things HAD TO HAPPEN. But I had no map for how to get from point A to B until much later in thefic. You can see the difference between the first half of the story AND the second.

As it stands now, I am working on my next story, an Au that has went from one novella to a 3-novella/novel series with multiple subplots and complicatedinter weavings with canon. I have about a 30 page outline as of now and will probably have 30 more including character background, motivation, plot tools, purposes, themes and much more until I finally pull it all together into one cohesive Plot Timeline for 3 books and then a chapter-by-chapter outline for the entireseries. I expect this to take me another 1-2 months. -smellyia


I've got a -very- basic outline for the whole story, then, right before I write a chapter I write a more detailed outline for that specific chapter. -siDEADde


I always have something. If I had to pick the #1 thing that sinks beginning writers, it's the failure to think-through their plot when they start writing. The result of this failure is one of several things:

1) story peters out at some point because the author isn't really sure where it's going or how to end it.
2) story drags because it's full of "dead wood" -- scenes that serve no real plot purpose and get boring. "Choosing drapes" scenes. *yawn*
3) story changes direction in ways that weren't planned for and becomes internally contradictory or confusing/improbable

All these are problems of plotting and pacing. There are a rare few writers who CAN sit down and let the story take them where it wants to go, but IME, even they wind up doing a lot of trimming after the story is written to tighten it up and fix any internal contradictions. So as someone who's written something like 20+ novels now (original and fanfic), my advice to new writers is "MAKE YOURSELF A MAP!" It doesn't have to be so formal as an outline, but it IS essential to know where you're going and how you plan to get there. This is something I tend to be quite opinionated and pushy about because I've seen the failure to plot/plan ahead cause SO SO many new and even journeyman writers to trip and fall flat on their faces. There are those few who can do it without the map, but I think it's safer (especially for beginning authors) to assume they aren't among them and PLOT. (I should add, most of the authors I know who can do this have been writing a while; they're not beginners.)

A last point -- plotting ahead does NOT lock one into following that plot. Sometimes the story WILL take a sharp left turn. That's *okay*. The point isn't to be rigid, but to have an idea of where the story is headed and what it's going to take to get it there so it doesn't fizzle out like a dud firework.

For more on plot, why plotarcs matter, and matters of pacing -- with useful concrete suggestions:

"The Glory of Plot"

"Following the Big Fin: Outlines Storyarcs, and Plotting"

"The Art of Pacing"

"The Fine Art of Pacing" (similar to the above, but not exactly) ...

"Develop, Develop ... or Random Observation the Eleventy-Second on Beginning Writer Errors"

"The Author is God ... or Avoiding the Runaway Story"


no outline. i find outlines stifling. -wtvoc


I've done it both ways. I hate outlining with a passion. It seems like such a tedious thing to do, especially if I'm going to have to write everything down again anyways. I am fairly good at keeping my plot and plan straight in my head. And because of that, I have written without an outline many times before. Typically with my shorter stories that run less than 30,000 words. However, I have also learned that when I take the time to write out a complete outline that I have a much easier time writing. This is because as I work through the planning process, I have to really make sure that the plot works from all angles. It makes it easier to see potential plot holes and it helps to know when things like foreshadowing need to take place.

When I outline, I outline the entire story. Although, I can also say that by about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through a story, I usually need to re-outline again because my characters have developed more than I'd anticipated and what I have outlined no longer fits their personalities. This goes back to whether I write a character-led story or a plot/author-led story. And my answer to that is it's always both. -GinnyW

Do you know the ending to the story you are working on now? Have you known since the beginning?

I do know it. I have known it since the beginning. I got the story in my head and wrote several chapters all at once. Now I am fleshing the story out. If I started with five chapters, I have filled in six or so chapters between each of the originals. It's not just fillerthough . The characters are alive in my head, but the only way to bring them to life in the readers' heads is to provide those details that cannot be crammed into the main story arc. The skeleton comes first, then the sinew and muscle and skin. I am to the skin phase of Sanctuary, but the skeleton has been around since September. -jfly


Yes, I know the ending to my current story, Consecuencias, from the very beginning. I have the epilogue outlined at a high level. I did this because I wanted to the story to have an emphasis in characterization, and the subject matter seemed like one that would get out of control easily. It is hard to keep the focus on a story that leads with swingers in exploring the psyche of a swinger and what prompts anyone to engage in that lifestyle. And not on the activities they engage in. I wanted to explore the characters and their journey and not write just sex. -gustariana


Yes and yes. I wrote the end scene before I even began the first chapter, so I have a flowery, paradisaical destination in mind. Not saying the story ends in Hawaii…just a lil’ mind vacay to work toward. -gondolier


I know the ending, as I'm only about four chapters away from it. I haven't known it since the beginning. My story changed a lot from what I originally imagined. -halojones


Yes and Yes. It was the road until about chapter 17 that gave me trouble. Now I have a very detailed "end-game" outline, but I'll not share thosedeets. -smellyia


Yep. I write canon =P There are a few things in mine that aren't in Bella's version of events, but we all know how it ends. -SiDEADde


Absolutely. I think this is all but essential. See above. If the author doesn't know where she's going, how can she effectively get there? NOT knowing all too often results in stories that Don't Know When The Story Is Over. Ha. They just ... peter out and die a sad death. ;> There are are few exceptions to this, but again, I think it takes an experienced author to pull it off without it feeling anticlimactic. -minisinoo


yes and yes. that's kind of how both jandco and i write- know the premise, know the ending. the in-between is the part we fudge as we go along. do you like how i'm answering for her? -wtvoc


In "Coming to Terms" my ending has changed since I first started the story. That's because my character's have evolved and grown much more than I'd expected them to. However, the ending that I'm heading for now isn't too far off from the original one. -GinnyW

Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible. ~Leo Tolstoy

So, what is the point? Yes, some stories are just fluff, but then THAT in itself is the point. To have a good time. It is important that when we set out to write a story that we have our guiding emotion with us at all times. Entertaining the audience is one thing, and it can be very difficult. If we keep in mind the point of why and what we are writing while we write, our story benefits.

When I write I never lose sight of that vision. The reason that I started the story in the first place. It would have been easy for me to think that my Bella really needed to let loose and party without thinking about how it was effecting her, but my story is about the effects the choices have on the characters. It would have totally disrupted my message. Keeping that in mind is of benefit to the readers who expect that we think about these things and remain true to our characters and the story we are telling.

Do you contemplate the point of your fic? What you hope your readership gains from reading it? This could be anything from "a good time" to a "good cry" to "a better understanding of the source material"..... think about what you have written and what your readers got out of it, was that premeditated?

I generally use a theme from SM's universe and marry it with my own thoughts or other works of literature that have addressed the same ideas. So I definitely have something in mind when I write- something to get across to readers. In From Innocence to Experience, I wanted to intertwine the coming-of-age aspects ofSM's stories with William Blake's poems on innocence versus experience. In Sacntuary , I am taking a theme from New Moon that was underdeveloped by SM and fleshing it out into an in-depth dissection of the human soul. When readers GET what I am doing, I feel great. So farm, though, I don't think more than a handful of readers have seen the point ofFItE, and the jury's still out on Sanctuary. -jfly


I do contemplate the “point of the fic”, I had to in order to define how to best approach it. I also try to gauge whether I hit the goal I had for the chapter depending on the reviews I get. It is very important because I am taking a cold and detached individual and developing him through the story. And an “every day woman” in a safe marriage and showing her there is a whole world out there she had no idea existed. Since it is a slow journey it is important that readers are with me along the way. -gustariana


Yes. I want my readers to come out of my story thinking deeper, feeling deeper, and hopefully gaining some insight into their own lives, as I do when I write. -gondolier


1)One story of mine is about wanting to entertain and to do "coming-of-age" somewhat realistically. But another story and the story I'm working on right now attempt to expound thematically on a couple of key phrases from the actual Twilight series that interest me. I was fascinated with the pact Edward and Bella made in New Moon(don't do anything stupid, and I won't ever come back), and I'm fascinated with a statement Esme made about thinking Edward was turned too young and it effected him adversely. So both work as the basis for my stories.2) Wincing while laughing is something I attempt with the coming-of-age story. -halojones


YES. This is the one thing I contemplate the most. I truly believe that the purpose of the story is the fundamental building block. I'm reading because someone has something to say - if the author doesn't know what they something is then shame on us both. I love picking on themes and purposes - a story devoid of either is like a lost puppy dog. -smellyia


The point of my fic was to show that Bella was a self-centered, selfish brat. Not unlikable, but definitely not the Mary Sue she is in the books. -siDEADde


To some degree, yes. I tend to be a very *deliberate* writer. I usually know exactly what I'm trying to achieve with each scene, each conversation, even sometimes a particular description that has symbolic purpose. Not everybody is like that, but I do think it's useful to have at least a general idea. Is the story for humor, catharsis, to make a point/teach a lesson, explore a nifty idea ...? Not every story needs to have a deep theme, of course, but if the author isn't entirely clear on WHY she's writing X story, the story itself will usually be equally schizoid for readers. -minisinoo


not even a little bit. sometimes i am amused/horrified/amazed by what people get out of some of my stuff. well, the one-shot fuckstories... that's obvious. but i'm always bewildered whenever people claim the chapter made them cry.

as for the point... other than SS, which was/is, as stated, an exercise in writing... no. i never have a point. i'm a walking ball of pointlessness. -wtvoc


Mmm. I suppose so. I mean, there is always a purpose, but sometimes the purpose is to give greater depth to the original canon characters, sometimes it's trying to prove a point, and other times it's simply trying to reach the reader with the intent of dragging them on an emotional roller coaster. Really, the points can vary widely from one extreme to another. -GinnyW

Life can't ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer's lover until death - fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant. ~Edna Ferber, A Kind of Magic, 1963

When we write about our life's experiences, combined with keeping in mind the emotion of the characters and their drive, we hold the keys to writing something truly from our heart and mind that we can be proud is our own. These pieces make up the beautiful puzzle.

Even if we don't know, we research. For If it's the Beaches, I stayed in my comfort range. I know about medical programs in Malawi because of a friend who lived in Africa for years but the majority of the story is from my heart. It is what I know. I did research locations, there is nothing worse than finding a mistake in afic that someone wrote about Chicago (really, please, do a google search at least) but in general, the easiest way to be true to your art is to know it.

We talked last time about "writing what you know" and "researching what you don't know", how much time do you put into that research? Do you do it as you go along? If you write what you know, give us an example of something you know...(haha)

When I begin a story, I spend time researching. Once the idea is solidified in my head, I know what details I need to learn more about in order to make the story convincing. Last night I spent hours reading several travel sites to learn about the city I am setting a story in, and the night before I was up til 4 looking at museum portraits to find just the right eyes for a description I was writing. In other words, I do research, but it is random. -jfly


I spent time early on researching swinging and the “rules of engagement” if you will. But once I started and had set the stage I didn’t need to do any more. The story was more about the characters than whether KY is better thanAstroglide. -gustariana


An acquaintance of mine writes popular period radio dramas for BBC4. He said something that stuck with me: research can be the best excuse for not writing, if you let it. I do a lot of initial research, as well as research along the way. But my research should be a reflection of my writing—not the other way around. In essence, I do enough to make my story ring true. What do I know?.... I know thatEmibella is turned on by ecosneakers, organic food, and VW vans. And I plan to use that, shamelessly. -gondolier

(note from Emibella: I adore ecosneaks, organic food and VW vans. YAY!)


I don't really do research because I pretty much write what I know. Like...I know California and Hawaii. Surprise! The Cullens end up in Hawaii a lot in my stories and eat a lot of IN-N-Out Burgers... -halojones


I put in whatever time the story requires with regards to research. I do as much as I can before hand - which can be useful and informative to the pint of idea-inspiring - and as needed as I go along. Stuff will always crop up. Both Disaffected andWWDAN had elements of what I know. Disaffected's points are from a medical perspective in which I have been a professional in for awhile and I still keep much of that subject matter vague so that the situation does not overshadow the story - nothing bothers me more than when any certain plot tool or situation overshadow the character's growth, relationships or healing.WWDAN comes from a more personal tale and mixes of many conversations I have had since I was a teenager to mold one story. The human heart of the characters in WWDAN is what I know. -smellyia


Hrm. Well I put hours into the short I'm supposed to be writing...but I think I went about it all wrong. It kinda killed the story for me. Usually I just write what I know. Lots of French existentialism. =P -SiDEADde


It may be redundant for me to answer this, given that I just did a guest blog on research, but at least one point to make here that I didn't go into there ...

It's very important to research details key to the PLOT in advance ... to be sure the plot isn't based on something that's impossible, or at least unlikely. ;> But for "supporting" details, I often look up these as I go as I may not realize I need to know ___ until I get to that point in the narrative.

The amount of research I do depends on what I'm writing, of course. Using some concrete examples, even concrete Twilight examples ... I had to do a lot research on the Spanish Flu to write "This is My Beloved Son" because even though I'm an historian, I deal with ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, and the Early Church. Not exactly the same time frame. ;> Being a historian, however, at least I know how to DO research for eras that aren't mine, so that helps. Same thing with "Beauty, Shining in Company" -- I had to look up a lot about Chicago, Al Capone, and even poke a colleague of mine for where toilets were located in pre-WW I housing (the basement, incidentally). But when writing "Cowboys & Indians" I looked up almost nothing (except the info on the history of Houston in Jasper's time) because virtually everything in that story is something I know by first-hand experience. -minisinoo


i only write what i know. sometimes i look up little tidbits like the name of the county in which forks resides, but i have never done detailed research about major plot points. i think it's better to write stuff i have experience with.

par example: i happened to go to high school with rich kids. it wasn't a prep school, but everyone i went to school with got shiny, brand new mustangs/big fucking trucks for their sixteenth birthdays.

so... do i know spoiled, entitled dicks? why, yes. yes, i do. -wtvoc


It's easy to get caught up in research. From locale, to jobs, to clothes. There is so much that can be researched. I have a friend (and she's going to kill me for saying this about her) who has been known to buy books about the architecture, style, and floor plans of houses for the houses in her stories. (I have teased her endlessly about it.)

Typically, I research as I go along unless it's about a major plot point that my story is centered around. If I was writing a story about Bella suffering from diabetes and I didn't know much about it, then I would learn everything I possibly could about it before I began writing my story because chances are the things that I learn would probably have bearing on the story's evolution.

Something I know? I did very little research about pregnancy for my story. However, I've had four children and I used to work as a labor and delivery nurse. -GinnyW

Our next installment to the style series will remain in Process. We will be discussing characterization further with our panel.

The key behind this series is that everyone is unique. Thank you to all the wonderful, unique writers who are participating in this series as well as to you for taking time to read.


  1. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy all the style series (actually pretty much everything here). I know how much work and time must go into all of your articles and features and I truly appreciate it.

  2. Great write up here. I always enjoy the advice you ladies share. I felt like I related to halojones a lot in this, where I don't necessisarily write in the most conventional style.

    I really SHOULD make an outline...

    Thanks for this!

  3. Loving this series, very informative and really helpful :)

  4. Another great addition to this series. I'm really looking forward to more on characterization in the next post


  5. i love reading how the writers you chose- aside from me (ie the awesome writers)- approach this.

    i also love seeing my name alongside them.

    i feel squishy.

  6. Holy shit.

    I am so overwhelmed, in a really good way, with all of this information. It's really so nice to see some areas where I have the right idea, and other areas where I am perhaps way, way off the mark and can use this terrifically wonderful insight.

    I thank you all for offering the input in this article, and for you, Emibella, for digesting and offering it up to us in a very user-friendly manner.

    I am constantly astounded at the information, effort and time that is clearly put into these articles.

    Thank you.


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