In my 10 years of writing, I have found that there is no single story production process that works. Every story comes out different. Every story is a road and every road is different. A river is probably a better metaphor, because the aphorism says you can never step into the same river twice.
But I can think about the overall process, the macro stages of writing, and how they can apply to my overall process.
The four stages are Inspiration, Plotting, Drafting, and Editing.
I suppose one could argue that this blog is also about the fifth stage: Marketing, but that is a secondary purpose to this site, and the one thing where a writer has less control, and it is the business side of writing, which I don’t want to approach.
No matter what I write, there is a spark of something, an idea, an image, a question, that I want to answer, or at least explore. The inspiration could grow into the theme, or feed the theme, but for me, most times, it’s not the end theme.
The inspiration drives the other steps until I either evolve the inspiration into a theme or abandon it for a theme.
I’m going to stick with a plot as a series of causal events and leave it at that. There are tons of systems with infrastructures (Polti and Campbell and Truby come to mind) but the important thing is causality crossing character. (Hey, that’s a nice alliteration I’ll have to explore later.) Plotting is the “What happens” and possibly–although I am willing to reclassify this–narrative pattern, the “How it is told”.
Butt in chair hands on keyboard putting words on page. This is practice time, this is performance time, this is what most people think about when they think about writers working.
Fixing the words on the page, crafting them, sculpting them, rearranging them. This is where the theme comes back into play.
These are macro steps, of course, each one needs more exploration, and I will explore them as this project grows.