I write my novels in bursts. Writing N words every day is a mantra that doesn’t work for me. I must visualize the whole chapter at once (or at least get an aha! moment for a certain scene) before I can write even a single sentence of it. That requires days of brewing the story in my head. Sometimes those chapters get written in several steps or parts depending on their size. A 2k chapter is usually done in one go in a single day or two. A 5k chapter can take a week or two, because I return to it over and over and add stuff (some research required). Things happen to get added a month later.
I have finished the first part of my WIP (12 chapter totaling in 31k) and I can say that outlining doesn’t work for this story either. Sure, I wrote quite a detailed outline for the whole thing (100k planned) and after slowly going through the first 12 chapter I can safely say that this outline is for some other novel I’m not currently writing. So I scrapped it and now I’m just going forward with a vague idea of the outcome of the whole thing. Which makes it more interesting to work on — I get surprised, I let the characters freely drive the plot and the inner logic of the world starts to dictate things well. At this point I don’t know what an ending scene would look like (I don’t even know what the next two parts will be like), I just want to get there organically. But I do know that there will be an epilogue with a scene from the far future, I just have to pick the right place in time for it; I have several candidates for that one, none of which make any thematic sense now, since I don’t know the first ending yet.
I admit that I’m moving at a snail’s pace here, but this story requires slow development. I’ll probably consume a whole crate of red wine to celebrate after I’m done with it. 😀
What are your writing habits and methods? How do you get the job done?
My writing process sounds very similar to yours. I think I picked it up in uni. I couldn’t write a single sentence of my paper until I had a title. Same goes for my writing. I need that one, good sentence to start, and I need to have it fully visualized in my head. I take solace when I find other writers who work similarly!
My recent blog post: Nure Onna: Snake Woman
I have the same thing with titles. Without having a title first I can’t begin writing a book. 😀