10 Things About My Writing

This post is inspired by one my critique partner, Mary Ann Marlowe, did a few months ago. The idea is to share your own writing quirks to see if maybe they resonate with someone else. After all, no matter where you are in the process, we’re all in this together.

  1. When a manuscript is almost done and ready to go to my agent, I read from the bottom up to catch obvious typos.
  2. Sometimes I also publish to ebook format (thank you, Apple, for making this super easy) so I can read it with different background and fonts. Whenever I do this, I get ridiculously excited  to see what my manuscript would look like as a book, even though my .epub version has no cover and no formatting.
  3. When I have an idea, I can write anywhere: in front of the TV, listening to music, whatever. Sometimes when I’m in the zone, I can sit down and start throwing down words in total silence. I don’t have special writing music or playlists—half the time, if you walked in and asked me, I couldn’t tell you what’s playing. It doesn’t matter. 
  4. I steal character’s names from people I know. If you’re one of my friends, and you don’t want your name to pop up in a book at some point, you should probably tell me. (Although, if your name is common, you’re out of luck.)
  5. ….But for some reason, I won’t name any characters after my sisters. 
  6. I don’t outline. Typically, I know where the story is going, but I don’t always know how I’m getting there. 
  7. I do not write scenes in order. With my first manuscript, the final scene was the second or third scene I wrote. (That scene ultimately changed, but the bones of it are still intact.) Everything else was geared toward getting where I needed the manuscript to go. With every manuscript, I’ve had the end written by the time I got to around 20-25,000 words. 
  8. Most of my best plotting is done when I am nowhere near a computer and physically unable to write anything down: while driving (but not sitting the passenger seat), during yoga, in the shower, or while taking a walk. I really need to get those waterproof sticky notes you hang in the shower.
  9. Some writers plod along, agonizing over every single word before it hits the page. Not me. I think about scenes enough before I write them that when I sit down, the words usually pour out. I type very fast. I don’t stop to edit a thing until I’m done. As a result, my first drafts barely resemble English. That’s okay—I love editing, and am much better at reshaping and molding words already on the page than creating clean first drafts.
  10. I am most productive when facing off against other writers: writing sprints on Twitter, “racing” a CP to see who can get to their draft faster, or at a coffee shop with a friend while we both type away. I spent a week trying to come up with anything at all to add to my latest MS, and the second Deana walked into Starbucks, I threw down 2,000 words. Being accountable to someone else really helps.
What are some of your writing quirks?
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