I’ve been thinking about this lately because I just finished NaNoWriMo and am now working on a short story and the two of them just make me feel more aware of mechanics lately.
I usually start with a setting or situation, and then have to find characters and a plot to put in that setting. Some of the original ideas are as simple as the word “mermaids” I have jotted down in my idea book, and some leap into my head almost fully formed. Some, which often come from dreams, are so complete that I don’t want to post them here.
If there aren’t any people in these settings yet, I put some there.
Usually, I have to write a partial draft to figure out what the plot is going to be. I think this is slow and inefficient and wish I would stop doing it. I outlined NaNoWriMo, and then blew through my outline in one week/12,000 words. Maybe this is just my natural writing style. Maybe I just suck at outlining. At this point in a story, I’m eagerly waiting to find out what happens next, and am really excited when something does.
Then I analyze what I wrote and say, “Oh! So that’s what I’m getting at!”
Lately I’ve been having to go back and do character arcs. That’s where I am now with the short story; I have two POV characters that I like a lot, and they kind of wander passively through this setting, but at least I know what’s going to happen now. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the next rewrite right now, though. Maybe I should concentrate on the easier one first and then go to work on the main, harder character.
I may write mermaids next.