I get asked a lot of questions as a writer, but one of the most common ones is what my process for writing each story looks like. Because I’m an organized soul, it’s typically the same for each book. I’m here today to share what that process looks like for me.
I’ve written a lot of stories over the years, and after the first several, I started to develop a process that worked for me as I created a story from beginning to end.
The beginning doesn’t start with writing, it starts with plotting. In fact, it just starts with an idea. A big idea. For example, with STING, I thought of one of my favorite classic stories, The Count of Monte Cristo, and knew I wanted to write a retelling. But I wanted to have a female heroine and a dystopian twist. So first I get my big idea. Then I test it. Testing it means making sure there’s a big enough conflict to sustain a whole story with twists and turns. With STING, it was a little easier because I wanted to stick close to the original plot, but typically I figure it all out from scratch. I make sure I know the ending, I make sure I have two or three big plot points, where the story changes in a big way. And then I make sure my characters are in a situation where those twists and turns are going to affect them in a huge way. As long as I can test my story like that and it passes the initial test, I know I’m good to go.
Next up comes the playlist. I HAVE to have a playlist first because it helps me as I continue plotting. It helps me figure out who my characters are and what scenes are going to be key scenes for me. Basically, without a playlist, I don’t have a story. Then I figure out characters. I decide on names, I come up with their quirks and likes and dislikes, and I also find pictures to represent them. I make a whole “package” about the book before I even start writing it. This also includes random scenes I want to add, a summary to guide me, and pics to represent a lot of other things in the story–mostly to continue to inspire me. I often make a board on Pinterest for these.
Somewhere during that plotting time, I think of a title. Sometimes it’s a working title that’ll end up being changed, but it still has to be something I love. It’s very, very hard for me to start writing a story without a title–not sure why (I guess I just like to be able to refer to it by title)–so sometimes I’ll take a few days to figure this out.
Then, I get to write. I try to write almost every day as much as I can until the story is done because I don’t want to mess up the flow or feel like I’m losing a relationship with my characters. STING was one of the ones that I just couldn’t stop writing and I’m so happy I got to retell one of my favorite classics, and now it’s wonderful to be able to share the story with you!
They call me the Scorpion because they don’t know who I really am. All they know is that someone is stealing from people with excess to help people with nothing survive another day.
But then a trusted friend reveals who I am–“just” Tessa, “just” a girl–and sends me straight into the arms of the law. All those people I helped. . . couldn’t help me when I needed it.
In prison, I find an unlikely ally in Pike, who would have been my enemy on the outside. He represents everything I’m against. Luxury. Excess. The world immediately falling for his gorgeous smile. How he ended up in the dirty cell next to mine is a mystery, but he wants out as much as I do. Together, we have a real chance at escape.
With the sting of betrayal still fresh, Pike and I will seek revenge on those who wronged us. But uncovering all their secrets might turn deadly. . .
About Cindy R. Wilson
Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She’s the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels. Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You’ll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea