After I decide on an idea, one of the first things I do is get a journal for the project. Then I start filling it with questions. By asking questions (for instance, what is my main character's goal? Or what would happen if x happened?), my brain starts processing. It's kind of like that journal in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" - only I ask questions and the story answers back! Once I have a good grip on the basics, I start working on an outline. I used to be a pantser but I've found that developing an outline really helps me keep my emotions (um, panic) in check. An outline is like my safety net. Early on, I also spent a lot of time talking about the new idea to trusted friends and my family. I call this "processing outward" but I think my family and friends just call it annoying!
Carmella Van Vleet writes MG fiction and "hands-on" non-fiction. Her debut MG novel, ELISA BING IS (NOT) A BIG FAT QUITTER, will be released in Spring 2014 from Holiday House.
2. Then I prep to fast draft the book. See this video for tips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
3. Write like a crazy person. I don't check for grammar or even if it makes sense. I just write.
4. Once I finish the book, then the real work begins. REVISING!
Kate Fall writes middle grade and young adult fiction and is an editor with Entangled Publishing.
After I've done some thinking (and then lots more thinking), I try to fit my ideas into a plot framework, like the Save the Cat structure or Dan Wells' Seven Point Story Structure. And then I write up a one or two page summary of the story, just to give myself some direction. By then, I'm usually dying to get writing, so I do! All my plans change as I get further into the story and find out what it's really about.
Andrea Mack writes middle grade fiction, picture books and beginning readers.
1. Decide on the idea
2. Shortly thereafter, realize the idea is terrible.
3. Attempt to come up with alternate ideas but then come back to the original idea.
4. Work on a rough outline.
5. Despair when I realize the ending is wimpy and clichéd and sucky.
6. Revise the ending until it's not quite as wimpy and clichéd and sucky. Resolve to make it stronger later but first, I actually need to start WRITING.