I’ve been in something of a slump lately, and I’m really interested in reinventing my ‘process’ – a process that, for the last 12 years, I can only describe as witchcraft and arcane magicks (with lots of finger-waggling) because I’m still not sure what the hell I do. 

As far as I know, this is how writing happens: 1.) plot lots of things with friends that get you really excited 2.) do a hell of a lot of research 3.) nothing 4.) scroll tumblr until you pass out 5.) nothing 6.) MAGIC WHERE BEAUTIFUL SENTENCES COME TO YOU AND PARAGRAPHS WORK AND DIALOGUE EVEN HAPPENS SOMETIMES O HOLY SHIT 7.) fill in the blanks and think very hard and make yourself hurt 8.) every single word is literally like pulling teeth. from your brain. brain-teeth. 9.) edit or sommat 10.) PUBLISH THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND GREAT 11.) long dry spell

Below are some writing tips that I received last night – I want to hear what works for you! If I have enough I’d like to compile a 30 day challenge or something (or a 20 day challenge…or a 10 day challenge…) where I try something every day and post the results. You can join in, too!


  • put on music and just force out the barest skeleton of what you have planned, sit on it for a day, and go back and add the meat to it. (from chosenofashurha )
  • picture the scenes in my head like a movie; then you just describe the movie (from daltongraham )
  • Bargaining with a writer/artist in the same fandom “if you work on your thing i will work on mine.” (from bachin221b)
  • write without expecting it to be a masterpiece on the first try. takes the pressure off. first draft will always be shitty. but at least you’ll have a draft. then edit edit edit. (from papergramps …something I struggle with constantly btw)
  • Clearly you should see me and I’ll be your ~muse~. All artists and writers need one. /Have a friend be a muse! (from pierian )
  • Just keep on writing and reading. Read things you want to emulate. Try different styles, try new things, but generally just keep writing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s any good at first, that’s what editing is for.(from thegeekcooks  …reading is an integral part of my process!)
  • Drink and write! (a failure…from traumachu )
  • I get large pieces of paper and I write my main idea in the middle. If it’s a plot, I put down the general idea, if it’s a character, their name or description, etc. Once I’ve done that, I gather together a bunch of different colored pens and start exploring the main idea. As it turns out, a lot of what I write down around that main idea is questions; what does this person mean to the plot, how does this idea affect the overall idea of my story, does this change what a certain character does at this time, things like that. I write questions in a certain color, descriptions in another, and plot bunnies in yet another. Once I have completely filled the page with scribblings and nonsense, I go back over and re-read everything, maybe crossing out certain parts or highlighting others, and then, I go and start typing out what I like!  (from theshortdragonofglory)

My tip:

Somewhere in your story planning, right, you start forming ideas about “this and then that happens,” or “It starts here and then at some point this needs to happen and then at the end it wraps up like this.”

Start writing those out.  That is an outline half-forming in your head, and if you get it down on paper then you can make room for other stuff, and be able to physically look at how you’re mapping out your story, and experiment with shuffling things around.

And when you have an outline—this is really how people can write so easily out of order, because they already know what happens before or after, so they can just jump to a scene when they have a solid idea for it and write it.

When I finally threw all the stuff for Odalisque into an actual structure, we came up with SO MUCH MORE STUFF to fill in what should happen in the big voids we’d had for the story where we weren’t sure what was supposed to go on.

(This is not to say I’m good at outlining.  I suck at it.  But recognizing your ignorance is the beginning of wisdom, or something, right?)

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