Here is a little of The Creative Madness of Darlene Panzera:
While I use charts, templates, and index cards to map out my story ideas, the way I put it all together to create a finished novel is a bit of madness.
I start with a mental image of a story I want to write. Usually a scene with a couple lines of dialogue. Then I come up with everything else in the story from there, moving forward or backward or anywhere inbetween.
A poster board helps with the brainstorming process because I’m a visual person who needs to see things laid out in front of me. I draw a big line down the middle and insert dots depicting the various turning points that must happen. I know there’s a beginning, middle, and end. I know there’s a specific inciting incident to start my hero and heroine moving in the right direction. I know they meet up and work together at Plot Point I and something happens to make them separate at Plot Point II. There has to be a revelation and a satisfying resolution.
Then I stick mini post-its with random ideas of anything else that could happen all over the place. Some might call this ‘The Snowflake Method.’ It drives my critique group crazy!
Next I look at my board and look for connections, and rearrange the post-its that work into their rightful place on the story line. The post-its that do not work I place into an idea folder. Then after I have a vague outline, I start writing and not necessarily in order. I may develop ending scenes before my beginning. Most of the scenes resemble a screenplay with lots of dialogue, only a couple stage directions and descriptions. Many times the story will change when I write because new ideas will pop up. Before my story is complete it undergoes several drafts. Lately, I’ve found a 4 part method to sort out the madness:
1. write a gibberish first draft as fast as I can
2. write a second draft using full sentences and character tags
3. move necessary plot parts around, evaluate structure, pacing, and motivation
4. line edit and final polish
Maybe it’s part intuition, maybe the freedom to move within a basic plot structure, maybe a little bit crazy, but somehow each story manages to come together. This is the beauty of creative writing. Then I dive back into the madness with a new undeveloped story idea once again!