The truth is, my process is pretty ordinary. It happens in the middle of my dining room. In the middle of my day. In the midst of all the family chaos. Maybe the fact that it happens at all makes it of note. Either way, I'm not as eccentric or exciting as my characters or many authors -- for me, writing a novel basically comes down to two things: getting stationery and getting stationary.
If I am stationary long enough, a lot of new ideas hatch. The problem is, if I don't grab them then and there... they're gone. This is where the stationery comes in: Post It Notes, highlighters, binders, dividers, journals (the right ones), pens (the right ones), and those plastic page protectors.
Ok, yes -- I have a problem. I admit it.
I just love buying supplies. Maybe it's the teacher in me, or the student, it's probably a nerd thing. But buying my stationery stash is all part of my process. A ritual, even. Each time I start a new novel, I buy a new journal. A place to scribble and mess about. Something no one else sees but me. It's where I try voices, jot bullets, script snippets of key conversations. It's where I snag those newly hatched fledgling ideas before they fly off and I press them between the pages--
But you get the idea. We've all incubated some awesome ideas only to have them swoop up and away because we were too busy to jot them down. I keep hoping they'll come home to roost. Especially the blockbuster ones. The ones with movie deals.
There's something about physically capturing and moving around the ideas makes the story click. I get a sense of the whole. What belongs? What doesn't? What themes seem to be emerging? I also add photos and maps from my research. (Yay, another trip to the supplies store for photocopies!)