As long as I've been in writing groups, everyone has spoken about their "process". As far as I'm concerned finding how your write is just as hard as the elusive concept of "voice". In the past couple of years, I've written five novels. I'm working on a sixth right now. And that has helped me to streamline my process.
Let me break it down for you...
- Plotty Pantsing. Writers will identify themselves as plotters (those who outline everything happening in a book) and pantsers (those who sit down at a keyboard and let 'er rip). I'm somewhere between. I like a general outline. I use three act structure and I pinpoint major plot developments. Because I write romance, I always plot out major romantic relationship moments as well.
- Writing Schedule. You need one. Muses might not need to pay bills, but writers do! it helps keep me on target and on time.
- Write out of Order. Get stuck? No problem. Divide your manuscript into chunks. For me: romantic relationship, suspense subplot (bodies are dropping!), set ups for future books (because I write a series), club scenes (I write MC romances and I always progress other couples relationships...marriages, babies, and other developments). Doing this allows me to move forward and to also keep track of the action. I have everything in one neat file. I also label scenes, so it isn't a word jumble: couple's first kiss, villain robs the heroine's apartment, etc.
- Revising as I go. I used to first draft and then go through and add in things, but that takes forever. Now, I go through and add layers as I'm working. I set aside some time each week to add words to my manuscript.
- Read through. After I assemble everything, I give it a read through and determine if anything is mission (transitions, plot holes, etc.). Because I write a series, I'm also looking for continuity...or did I screw anything up?
- Editing. You can't edit yourself. No, you can't. I pay for both line editing and proofreading. It's worth it!