Writing Can Be Murder

September 28, 2007

Process or Product?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 6:51 pm

Do you spend more time obsessing over your writing process or your product?

 I know people who mostly talk about their product. It’s as though they’ve snapped their fingers and it suddenly appeared and they only talk about what’s on the page.

Then of course I know people who mostly talk about their process. How hard it was to write such-and-such a scene, or where their inspiration came from, or how well everything clicked.

Me? I’m really not much of a talker, but when I do, I think that I spout a pretty even mix of process and product.

What about you?



  1. You tell me. You’re the one I gab too! I’d like to know. 🙂

    Comment by Cyndi — September 29, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  2. Cyndi — You’re definitely a mix. You actually seem to “feel” your story more than anyone else I talk to.

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — September 30, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  3. For me it depends on what stage I’m in. If I’m actually writing the story I’m more interested in my process. What can I do to get more pages down, to get the bones of the story. If I’m revising I’m more focused on product. What I find strange is that after each book the process is a little different and the product is always a little better.

    Comment by Melissa — October 1, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  4. Melissa — That’s interesting the whole “after each book the process is a little different and the product is always a little better.”

    Can you elaborate on that?

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — October 1, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  5. Warning this may be a long winded comment.

    With my first book I didn’t even know what “process” was. I just sat down and wrote the darn thing. Second book I’d read tons of How To books and tried to apply everything in the first draft. The third book I tried to be less of a panster and plotted out the last half of the book. The fourth book I was so frustrated with craft, (not being able to put in backstory ,because it messed up the pacing, not being able to write scenes that would let me know who my character was, because the reader didn’t need to know it, so on and so forth until my head hurt)

    I decided to have fun again with the writing. I chose to just plot the turning points (points in the story where the character changes) and have FUN getting to THE END. I learned I needed to trust my instincts, (like with my first book), I did need to know the craft rules, but not to apply every single one in the first draft (like with my second book), and lastly plotting a little won’t kill the panster in me (like in my third book).

    My process in getting the pages down in my fourth book was extremely different than my other three books, because I internalized all the rules and realized that knowing my character would direct the story where it needed to go. I learned that it’s okay for my process to change and that there is no set way to write a book. With each book I trusted myself more, I could let go a little bit more when I wrote, and when I’ve wrote THE END, I know I can fix whatever I mucked up in the first draft and if I don’t I can find out how.

    Hopefully, this answers your question.

    Comment by Melissa — October 3, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  6. That does answer my question Melissa and it makes perfect sense.

    Congrats on your sale to Wild Rose Press!!!!

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — October 3, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  7. Cooooool. Thanks!

    Comment by Cyndi — October 4, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

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