The Writing Process
From time to time we will ask Gestalt Media team members to share a bit about their writing process and how they get their ideas onto the page. This week we feature David Voyles to give readers
a bit of insight into how his creative mind works.
My Writing Process by David Voyles
You'll have to forgive me.
I know you've been just dying to know how I, David Allen Voyles, auteur de glorie, go about the process of writing the wonderful pieces you've come to love so much.
Well, wait no longer, loyal reader, for all shall be revealed.
First, I have coffee. Then a perusal of the daily news followed by--
What? That's not what you meant?
Ah! How I actually get the ideas, develop them--massaging and molding them before I put them on paper. I see.
I have no idea.
It seems like I just pull the characters out of my brain, give them names, dip their tiny feet in ink and let them wander around on sheets of paper and voila! A story appears.
But in reality, I suppose it's more complicated than that. Once I get an idea, I outline what I would like to have happen--the story arc, if you will, with major conflicts and resolutions identified along a plotted course. Just a very skeletal outline, nothing fancy. The story doesn't always follow that arc, but that's entirely ok. In fact, that's when the story usually gets more interesting, to tell the truth. But it definitely helps me to have had a plan to start with.
And then the characters. That's kind of the easy part for me. They seem to just develop on their own. It's almost like—
Hey! Whatcha doin'?
What? Who is that? I'm trying to write a blog for—
It's me your latest character. A blog? Cool! Can I be in it?
What do you mean, can you be in it? NO! I told you this is a blog and I really need—
I can be in a blog.
No, you can't. This isn't a story. It's non-fiction, a piece about writing.
Pretty sure I'm already in it.
No way. A character from my imagination cannot be in a non-fiction blog.
I'm right here.
Here. In italics.
I know. I love italics. Makes me look sleek.
No, you can't be here. Go! Get back in my head where you belong.
OK, but your blog is gonna suck.
I'll take the chance. Now, leave!
Sorry about that. See what I mean? They just pop out. I suppose really good authors have some sort of system in which they catalog their characters and create elaborate back stories for them that provide rich background. Probably a good idea. I just, well…kinda turn 'em loose.
So, I guess the curtain has been pulled back and I, the haphazard writer of horror stand revealed, not a genuine auteur de glorieas claimed. (That's not even a real French phrase, tbh. I just made it up.)
But there is one tip I can offer. I always do best when I follow a set schedule of writing. Since I am retired and have the luxury of not having to go to work every day, I find that I can do my social media in the morning along with blogs and newsletters, and my creative writing in the afternoon. The more consistent I am in following the schedule, the more writing I get done. The structure really helps. Even if you don't have as much time as I do since like most people you probably have an actual job, creating a set time each day when you can write something is really helpful.
Oh, one more thing. I have been enjoying starting my morning with a writing exercise offered by the #vss365 challenge that's available on Twitter. Each day the host for the month provides a word that serves as the prompt to be used in a "very short story" that can be contained in one single tweet. That's all there is. I generally try to stick to my genre (horror) but I find it to be fun and a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
With that, I'll leave you with the one I wrote just this morning. (The prompt for today was "spoken.")
"Jenkins, would you read verse 665 aloud, please?"
"Certainly, sir. 'And woe, should these words be spoken, the gates—'"
"Not that one, fool!"
"'—of Hell shall be opened forevermore.' Pardon, you were saying, sir?"
Give it a try! It's fun!
But whatever your process is, or even if you don't have one, the main thing is that you just simply sit down and write. Cool stuff will happen.