By golly, I love Let The Words Flow.
Do you have any idea how often I have an almost-realization, I get about halfway there, then a blog post on LTWF comes out within the week and I'm all "SHIT I was just thinking about that!" and then it's BAM REALIZATION! I LEARNED SOMETHING!
Yeah, a lot.
This post by Vahini Naidoo talks about how you need to just let your characters ramble, find themselves, lead their lives, and work the plot into the background.
Aaaand... Ok, first some history. When I was in high school, I was all about the plot-driven novels. R. A. Salvatore, Dan Brown, James Rollins, J. K. Rowling (although she is another matter entirely); you know, those guys. The "sit on the edge of your chair" people. To be honest, I wasn't reading as much genre fiction then, and was still heavily swayed by what was pimped in the bookstores.
That all changed in college, when I read The Historian my freshman year and The Name of the Wind my sophomore year. Alright, so I picked up NotW because it had a sweet cover. But all of a sudden I was lost in this amazing writing with truer-than-life characters, getting in a few pages between classes (and sometimes during classes) and then I finished the book and realized that not very much happened. But it was still so good! How is that possible?!? IT GOES AGAINST PHYSICS!!! Sorry, nope that's neutrinos. Then I was picking up books like Among Others, very laid back and fully immersed in the characters and I could just sit back and relax and and lose myself in the book, like old times before JOBS and BILLS and everything else.
Now back to the writing. I know I'm still trying to get through an entire story. Trust me, I know. I'm going at a good clip, then I realize I've meandered too far off my path and I start over. Then I get frustrated all that work was wasted, and move on to something else. And this time, I outlineoutlineoutline because I don't want to waste a month of writing time again, and my writing turns out like a blow-by-blow sports recap. Just the other day I started at the beginning of my current draft, and added simple day-to-day things, like strolling through the market on a foreign planet and taking in the strange scenery. I'm working on beefing up my first drafts, and what has been helping is to focus on one chapter, but write everything scattered throughout that chapter instead of writing it chronologically. Overall I will have to continue writing the first chapter then the second and so on, but this has been a good method. I know what my goal is for a single chapter, just focus on that and don't even worry about the rest of the story.
Still massively tweaking my process, but it should get there someday. Right now I have to work on getting back into the swing of writing everyday. I was doing great until I decided to start a new draft, then I didn't write anything for a month, and even now I am working on the first draft of something else. Keep chugging through, just deal with it regarding work, and really make sure I sit down at night to write and/or start working on the train again. Not ideal, because sometimes I just want to sleep. Did you know Seanan McGuire still has a day job? I wonder if she'll be quitting that soon with her recent Hugo Nomination... Speaking of, Feed rocks. I recommend the audiobook, she landed a really great narrator.