I approach prewriting oddly I suppose. I detest outlining. It makes me feel confined to a determined outcome, regardless of how the story might change as I go along. When I wrote Immo1, I started with my prologue. It was the singular thing resonated in my mind. From there, I spent several days thinking of how I could turn the prologue information into a full length novel. I wrote down each idea, or plot arch I suppose, and reevaluated how each idea made me feel as a reader. If it sounded like it would get boring, I deleted it. Then I evaluated what was left as a writer. I asked myself, "Which of these sounds like it would be fun to write?" I chose the one that best fit me as a reader and a writer.
As a writer, I do not want to "know" what is going to happen. My style of writing has been called "by the seat of your pants" writing, and that is because I don't have everything planned out. I wrote the first scene of my book with a lot of replacement words. My main character didn't have a name. She was "female main character, FMC" for a good week. I didn't have names for other things, such as towns. I sat in a bookstore coffee shop and stared out the windows for names, looked at random Google images, and turned a random radio station on to a low setting. I picked names as I went along because I'm terrible at names.
I started writing...and just kept writing. I didn't worry about names, unimportant details like colors, and settings. The story was the important part. I did go back through later and fix it all, but I just wanted to get my story on paper. Everyone knows the hardest part of writing is defeating the blank page. I was determined to do that, and I did. So all you "pantsers" out there, keep up the good work. And, if you are one of those people (most people, I guess) that live by outlines, character biographies, and binders full of notes, keep on keeping on if it works for you. If it doesn't, try a new method. It couldn't make you write any less than staring at that blank page.
I'll say this now. I am an incredibly finicky writer. I love to sit in coffee shops and write for hours on end. People watching helps me stay sane and I get an incredible amount of writing done. It may or may not have anything to do with the insane amount of coffee I consume in one sitting. Even if I sit on the patio, with traffic noises, screaming kids, and random creatures that gravitate toward me (I'm looking at you, wasp), there is nothing like sitting at your favorite coffee shop with a fresh brew, soft music, and a story.
Writing at home is different, and more difficult for me. I feel more inclined to be social at home with friends and family. I get on the internet. I play computer games (Hearts, I will win one of these days...). The cats want fed every 5 minutes. Even retreating to the computer in my bedroom doesn't help. I can't just "unplug" from the internet. I use reference sites all the time. I can't spell to save my life, but neither can Microsoft Word. Dictionary.com is my lifeline. Wikipedia is great for checking how others have portrayed a type of character. I use Google to make sure the idea in my head isn't in there because the book I read last week used it. I like to stream music when I write. Unplugging doesn't work for me.
You have to find your writing spot. Sometimes, the perfect writing situation isn't available all the time. I can't go to the bookstore every day. So I compromise by keeping a fresh pot of coffee on, leaving the door cracked so I can hear my family and friends (most of the time), and resisting the urge to cuddle the furrballs. I still get a decent amount of writing completed when I sit down to write.
Part 2 to come...