The other day I ran across author Nelsa Roberto’s blog post detailing her writing process. I was fascinated by her first phase- Percolating. This is where ideas bounce around your brain, details in the plot are worked out, characters are developed. All of this happens all before a single word is put down on paper.
Suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif describes the process on Evan Carmichael’s blog this way:
... the percolation method in relation to writing means that I will think on an idea until it begins to take hold. Then I’ll think about other ideas and just allow the ideas to bubble to the surface, until I have the skeleton of my novel plot.
Most often I’m thinking of everything from the perpetrator’s mind. How does he commit his crimes? Who are his victims? Why does he choose them? What’s his motive? Who else might be a suspect? How can I mislead my audience? How does he finally get caught?
After I have the percolating part, I’ll make just a few notes. I’ll open a file on my computer and write a prologue or first chapter. Once I start thinking of the basis for the novel, I’ll almost always have a scene come to mind that usually throws the reader into some kind of action. I like doing that; throwing you into something unexpected in the first few pages.
I use this process in my writing all the time, but I find I usually have to do something physical while I percolate. You may find me doing crafts or cleaning the bathroom when I should be writing. Some people may call this procrastinating but I’m going to call it percolating. I can’t tell you how many knotty plot issues have been worked out walking my dog or scrubbing the shower (well maybe not the shower as often as I should).
So if you catch me out planting flowers when I should be writing, don’t be surprised if I respond:
“I’m not procrastinating…I’m percolating.”
Writing on the Sidewalk
Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for another great cartoon. You can find more at Inkygirl.com