No matter what author you talk to, no two will give you the same answer, probably because author’s stories are generated from somewhere that isn’t tangible. The funniest myth I have heard is that authors use a computer program which they fill in the names of the characters and their story is randomly generated. Ha! If it were only that easy everyone would be “generating” stories.
Some writers have reported that they develop a plot, then carefully diagram out a detailed outline. While others just sit down in front of the puter and craft a story onto a word processor as they go along. I actually dream my stories while I am sleeping. The process is like watching a movie on a theater screen. I will dream a scene repeatedly over the course of the night. In the morning, I enter the scene into the word processor and that same scene will continue to play night after night until I have captured all of the details into the word processor. Then, for some strange reason when the projectionist in my head is satisfied with what I have written, he will play the next scene of the movie. This continues until the entire story or nightly dream-movie is captured as a completed manuscript. I am continually amazed when I go back and read what I had written. If it weren’t for the little projectionist in my nightly dreams, I would have no earthly idea where to start writing.
I have learned that during the initial writing stage I sleep with a hand held voice recorder in my hand to record any thoughts when I wake during the night. It’s been a great help, for many times I’ve had these really awesome ideas during the night but when I wake up in the morning, the thought is gone or the phrasing isn’t as brilliant as the original. What is it about sunlight that diminishes our night time inspirations?
Just as there are a myriad of authors, each author has their own writing process that works well for him/her. Either just sitting down and forcing an idea, plotting an idea, writing a story around an idea or dreaming it, each author is just as unique as the stories they write. So, the next time you are reading a book, an article or a short story remember that somewhere an author plunked the idea down on paper or into a word processor and did not use the elusive Computerized Generating Book Writing Program, it all originated inside an author’s head before it became reading material.