Do you write in your head? Or do you only write on paper?
There are people that say that you’re not writing unless it’s down on paper, but I think that writing in your head (a.k.a. daydreaming) can count as writing if you are actively working on a story. For me, there’s a time for writing on paper (or typing on the computer), but before that, there’s a time for letting an idea simmer.
In the beginning, writing things down on paper can be discouraging for me. It’s not just a rough draft, it’s a big dose of horrible. When I get a story idea, I might write down general thoughts, or even a character description or dialog, but most of the heavy work is pondered out in my head before I can start writing. Does anyone else do this?
For instance, in my current WIP, I know the general idea/premise for the book, and who the villains are (remember the Steves?), and I thought I had the beginning figured out. I wanted to start writing, I really did, but something just didn’t feel right. I let it percolate in my head for another day, and I figured out that the beginning scene is actually the last scene in my book; I was starting at the wrong part of my character’s story. Or maybe this is just the prequel to the story I was originally thinking of.
The next day I started writing it (finally!), and it was awful, as any rough first draft should be. However, by starting to write the first scene, I was able to work on it a little more in my head while I was sleeping, and now I have a much better opening (same scene, much better writing, showing instead of telling, more emotion, etc).
The first line in my WIP is now: Chocolate, I needed chocolate or I would die.
It’s still rough, but it’s much better than the first draft drivel I penned the day before! Plus, who doesn’t like chocolate?
The benefits of writing in my head are obvious to me. The drawbacks are too. Sometimes I get so consumed by trying to work things out, that I never start writing, and if I never start writing, then I can never have a first draft to revise, or a final version to submit to an agent or publisher. I think the benefits are worth working this way; I just have to make sure that I push myself to the writing it down stage.
How do you write? Is fiction all in your head too?