One of my grandmother's favorite things to ask as she's proofing one of my manuscripts is, "Where do you come up with these ideas?" Naturally I shrug and say, "I don't know." My thought process is probably like a lot of other writers... something like this...
A story always starts with An Idea.
When I get an idea for a story, whether it's a basic plan for a story or just an opening line I have to get it written down immediately. When this happens don't talk to me, don't look at me, don't interrupt me to make you a sandwich! I am in the writing zone and in that moment, I feel like a genius so if I'm scribbling on a napkin or post-it note or frantically typing a note on my phone the best suggestion is to let me be until I'm ready to resume normal life.
Next Comes The Who, The How, and The Why.
Not necessarily right away, but when I'm ready to begin writing the story idea I've come up with I begin doing some preliminary outlining. Character names, setting, and time period usually get chosen at this time, although names have been known to change throughout the course of the story. In Out of Darkness mean girl Julie was originally named Keira before I decided it resembled Arianthe's boyfriend Keiran's name too much. Thus, a name change occurred.
After the first basic details get sorted out I start the fun/torturous part: WRITING.
In the beginning, everything is great. My fingers fly over the keyboard or in the alternative if I'm writing my story by hand then typing it, my pen flies over the paper and page after page gets filled with words.
Sometimes after the initial idea begins to fade I hit a rut and this happens...
This is known as "Writer's Block", the most horrible of afflictions known to writers. When a writer feels...
When I hit a block I usually try to list out what I want to happen in the next section of my work-in-progress (WIP).
A lot of Note-Taking also goes into my writing process. I can't always have my WIP with me (especially if it's a word doc.) and so when an idea strikes I'll scribble a note on anything I have handy. Whether it's readable is another matter.
Finally after the writer's block ends I'm back to writing like a maniac. Then, after many, many months or even years and many repetitions of the writer's block/unblock process and days filled with sore fingers and ink stained hands the first draft is finished!
After that comes the sucky part: Revisions.
Hopefully, some of my favorite parts won't get cut in the process. Usually, for me revisions just mean adding things to sections that came as afterthoughts or clearing up thoughts that are a bit undefined. Trust me, you'll bleed as if you've been injured when you have to cut much-loved passages.
After several rounds of revisions, proofreading, and editing (both self-editing and having someone else edit your manuscript) then viola! My manuscript is ready to go into the publishing process!