My pre-writing process is actually a Frankenstein’s monster of sheets and process I
stole borrowed from other writes. And that’s why I’m not sharing my actual sheets. I am bothering to talk about it because hearing other’s processes often helps me refine mine. With that thought in mind…
Where do I start? I literally have a sheet called “Start Here.” The Start Here sheet is where I capture that first idea. The things that sprung to mind and had me not sleeping or the reason I tripped while walking the dog. That scene that popped into my head, that whisper of a general plot, the striking characteristics, and so on. These wisps are captured on my Start Here sheet and a code name is assigned. (I suck at titles, but I want a name to call it by.)
After I have the
fresh brain from the graveyard Start Here sheet done, I slowly start building my monster characters, setting, and plot. My characters are done with a beast of a profile sheet I cobbled together from various sources and refined (because a four page sheet was too hard for me to wield). Not every character gets a sheet (because the cook is just going to look disapprovingly at her and nothing more… No need to worry about her). The major ones (mains, best friends, villains, mentors, and so on) do. This is how I get to know them. My setting sheet is a lot like my character profiles, but for the world (politics, tech level, secret organizations, and so on). Then, there’s plotting…
I start from there with a main plot and move onto subplots after that. I build scenes off them.
Characters, setting, and plot. I don’t do them in a particular order. I jump around. One day I may write two subplots and the next day I cover a criminal’s profile and the setting’s relationship to crime (how prevalent and the general justice system). Though, eventually it is just about finishing odds and ends I need done so I can get to writing it.
Why are you a plotter/pantser?
Is there a method you use?