Everyone’s creative process is different and no one process is the right, ultimate process to create success. Over the course of lifetime, I have changed my process to creativity. One of the first things I do seems counterproductive but I sit down and create a backstory. Characters from major to mid-major are outlined with roughly how they look, certain mannerisms, plot points, interactions with other characters. Not everything is set in stone and is subject to change as the story is written. Minor characters are added in later, often with less detail.
After characters, I cover the locations. If part of the story takes place on another planet, I need to know what this planet looks like, when humanity colonized it, etc. I’ll shift course to events, what events happened before the story took place – will they be partially revealed during the story? How about events during the story? Is there a wedding? A death?
The idea behind creating the backstory is because it serves as a reference guide. How is the reader supposed to understand the story if the author does not understand the world they have created? The backstory for Within the Grasp of Ordinary, my first completed novel, is roughly 100 pages. Though the reader will not see everything in the backstory play out in the world, I have a firm grasp of the characters, their mannerisms, what drives them, their strengths, weaknesses, etc.
When it comes to sitting down and doing writing, I don’t retreat to a quiet place of solitude and seclusion and lock a door. I go to work. Literally. Every day I pack my laptop and lunch into my backpack and travel the few minutes to work. The place where I work is loud at times but in the bustling environment filled with people and machines, I find my own solitude. The constant rhyme of machines tingled with the faint echoes of whatever radio-station is playing, provides enough of a distraction to keep me focused.
Is it the most productive work place for some? No. For me, I have tried writing in quiet places and my mind dislikes the silence, something needs to be happening. I’m not always writing at my place of employment – I do attend to my job duties, which provide me a mental break by walking around the facility. In these breaks, I can take my mind away from writing. The walks tend to help especially when stuck on a problem within the story, I will return with an idea which allows me to progress forward.
I’m not always writing. I’m constantly researching either by reading a book or watching a new series off Netflix or Amazon. A small aspect of a show or book can influence me and provide a unique way to handle an ongoing situation or present light on what to avoid. Another great benefit of writing at work is the people here mostly unwittingly can become characters. Their behaviors observed, names scrambled, and before you know it, there is a minor character.
I know my creative process is not ideal for others, to each their own. I am sure I will probably develop a different creative routine later in life. Right now, I enjoy the relatively stress free environment and beautiful distractions and natural breaks of work which allows me to write and read at a leisurely pace.