I’ve seen this question asked on several writers forums lately. Of course, there is no one answer. Writing styles are like clothing styles. Need I say more?
Some writers set aside a scheduled time to write every day. Whether it be early morning, late evening, or in the middle of the night, they are adamant about writing X amount hours a day, every day. Others decide on a daily word goal, and won’t quit until they’ve reached it.
Then there’s the question of outlines. I’m amazed by those who have their story plotted from beginning to end. Undoubtedly there will be changes made along the way, but I salute those who are that organized.
Me, well, I write whenever I feel like it, and I abhor outlines. That said, I do attempt to write something (even if it’s very little) every day. Yes, even on the weekends. I’m terribly picky, however, and my goal is to make a first draft read like a second or third. Sort of slows the writing process, but it works for me.
I seldom know where a story will begin or where it will end. Though I write romance, so the guy will inevitably get the girl, or vice versa. My inspiration has been known to come from a single line of dialogue, but for the most part, a particular scene that I simply can’t shake will roll around my brain. It’s then up to me to figure out where it will fit in the story. I also write in story order, beginning with chapter one and ending with chapter…whatever it takes to finish the book. On rare occasions I’ll write a scene and set it aside, but that doesn’t happen often.
One of the first things I like to do is name my characters. A list of names and ages is always within reach – especially for minor characters. It’s rather embarrassing to have someone read your chapters only to point out that the professor was named Jones in one chapter and James in another. Oops!
At the end of the day it’s not the writing style that matters, it’s the writing. Like the well-known commercial says … Just do it!