THE STRANGE AND WONDERFUL WRITING LIFE
by Neha Chollangi
On November 9th 2015, the Mississauga Central Library TAG had the opportunity to bring in author, Megan Crewe, to talk about her writing process.Crewe has published 7 books up to date including two series. She focuses on writing young adult books and plans to continue doing so in the future.
The beauty of writing lies in the fact that it requires no prerequisites. Every writer is different and strange in their own way. Writing stands independent of any external conformities. Anyone looking to start writing can develop their own method and process without any restrictions. However, it is often overwhelming to stare at a blank page with no idea of how or where to start. In efforts to help young aspiring writers, Megan Crewe explains her personal writing process as an inspiration that others can extract from.
1. Brainstorm Ideas
It is always helpful to do some brainstorming before you start to write. And it’s crucial to jot down ideas that wander in your mind. Inspiration can truly come from anywhere and everywhere. There are millions of potential ideas that can be hidden in shows, movies, books, conversations, etc. For Crewe, a lot of her inspiration comes from other stories. In fact, the idea for her first trilogy, Earth and Sky, came from watching Star Trek.
Once a solid idea for a story is formed, research will play a huge role in making a novel develop more substance. it is easy to write about fictional ideas such a ghosts, or time travel, however, when involving non-fiction elements in the story, research is essential. Researching will also expose you to concepts that can trigger new ideas for the story. When Crewe was researching about viruses for her “Fallen World” trilogy, she read the book “Hot Zone” by Richard Preston, from where she derived several ideas for how to characterize the viruses in her own book.
3. Create Your Own World
According to Crewe, this is the most fun part of making a story: bringing your imagination to life on a page. It is often helpful to even mash together personal ideas with researched ideas to make interesting and new concepts. When you are forming your world, remember to make the ideas vivid. Crewe travels to see the places she bases her setting on in order to make her story realistic. She claims that “the more realism you have in your story, the more real it is to the readers.”
4. Make an Outline of the Story
Although many writers prefer being impulsive and write with no previous planning, it is often very helpful to create an organized outline for the plot. Outlines will also help avoid plot holes that may arise while writing. By simply making short jot notes for each plot development you will find that it’s a lot easier to make the story have a smoother flow.
5. Write Write Write There is nothing scarier than staring at a blank, white page. It may be overwhelming to look at the big picture of writing a whole novel but small steps will get you till the end. First of all, to avoid the dangers of social media, turn off the wifi on the computer during the time you spend writing. Secondly, make goals for each day of either how many words should be written or how many hours should be spent writing. Don’t fret too much over every word and sentence. A rough draft is nothing but rough. Write down everything with no filters. The editing comes later.
6. Revise and Rewrite
Crewe does an unusual practice in the process of editing her writing. She re-writes the entire novel on a separate word document. She claims that practicing this encourages her to revise every sentence in detail, without missing anything by skimming through. Writing groups are also an essential part of rewriting. The perspective of an outsider will really give you an idea of how readers understand your thoughts. What may be crystal clear to you, could be confusing to others. Constructive feedback is a writer’s best friend.