That is a lie.
So, because I'm procrastinating (yes, chapter seven is looming in front of me) I'm going to share the steps to my writing process.
First, I come up with an idea. Usually, said idea sucks. Big time. So I gather friends, champagne, wine coolers and if I'm desperate a hot tub. Voila, bad idea becomes wonderful idea. It's amazing how rosy the outlook can become after imbibing alcohol. The next day I look at my notes and wonder what the hell I was thinking.
So I go back to the drawing board and discover there's a spark of genius hidden in the notes that I've taken. I massage it, fan it, work on conflict, motivation, characterization until I have something vaguely resembling a plot. I'm excited with my book at this point. There are so many possibilities. I plunge into the first three chapters so charged to get this project started and off to my editor. I'm hoping she recognizes the genius that I am.
And then I remember I must write a synopsis. It's at this stage that I realize I have neglected that little thing called plot while I was playing with my people. So I dash off something that takes the conflict I've created and turns it on it's head. I will routinely gloss over chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 with 2 to 4 sentences that are brilliantly written but say absolutely nothing. I concentrate on the beginning - because I've already written it - and the end because I know how the conflict must be resolved.
Feeling like I've hand wrestled a bear with nothing more than a safety pin - and won - I head back to my chapters. And realize that I've glossed over 4, 5, 6 and 7 and have no idea what happens next. I take a bath hoping the steam will loosen something in my brain. It usually doesn't. I phone a friend. During our conversations I remember the conflict I created in the first place and together we come up with brilliant and imaginative ways to torture my characters using that conflict. I finally write 4, 5, 6 and 7.
And after 7 - which is my personal nemesis, kryptonite and Achilles heel all wrapped in one - I give a sigh of relief. And realize I still have 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and probably 15, 16 and an epilogue to write. Thank God I usually know how the story ends.
So I write The End and then start over at the beginning. I reread what I've written - cringe a little, realize I'm not entirely a hack and layer in some of the details I've missed the first go round. I send it to some friends for their input. Only after they've confirmed that I'm not a moron for thinking this is good enough to send to my editor, I email said manuscript to wonderful editor (who will help me make the book perfect because she is a saint and should be cannonized at the first opportunity. However, revisions is an entirely different blog).
And that's my process. If you're a writer, does your process resemble mine at all? Please? Don't let me hang out here on the crazy branch by myself. If you're a reader, do you enjoy hearing about process? Do you like to learn the details that go in to bleeding across the page?