Writing – It’s a Process


Dellani Oakes


When Brian suggested that I share my writing process, I stopped to think about it. I asked myself, “What is my writing process?” Then further asked, “Do I really have one?” To a casual observer, what I do probably wouldn’t look like much of a process. It’s more of a loosely controlled chaos that eventually yields a novel.

Certain stories are more stubborn, so this chaos takes years to resolve. Other times, it’s a matter of days. That was made clear to me November of 2008. I participate in the National Novel Writing Month every November. I always manage to finish early. That year, I was done several days before Thanksgiving, so after dinner, I sat down with another idea in my mind. The words flowed fast and furious. Four days later, I had an additional 54,067 word novel to join my 74,748 word NaNo novel. Yet I still have my first novel, started in 1989, that I haven’t finished. Believe me when I say, it’s not the only one.

I am not an organized, outlining type. Some people would call me a panster, but I prefer organic or spontaneous. I begin with a compelling first sentence and go from there. I write until it no longer holds my interest – or I finish. How long it takes depends on how fast the ideas come to me. I don’t consciously come up with ideas. The words flow from my fingers and the inner voice compels me onward. It’s when I try to impose my wants and desires on the story that it no longer works. As long as I leave the driving to my Muse, everything is fine.

I’ve been told (by plotters & planners) that my method isn’t efficient. Maybe not, but I’d love to know how many of them have written two complete novels in less than 30 days. I think 128,815 words are testament enough to the fact that my method works for me. I can’t say that it would work for everyone. The more I speak to other writers, the more I find that our methods and approach are as individual as we are. There are similarities, to be sure, but each of us has our own way of writing.

My style is very linear. I don’t jump around from scene to scene. I start at the beginning and work to the end. Once in a very great while, I skip a little, but I go back and fill in the gap immediately. I generally only do that if I’m writing away from home and can’t remember exactly where I left off.

I know authors who skip around writing scenes that interest them first, then they string them together in a coherent whole. They move the scenes around, changing the order of the narrative, then fill in the gaps. I can’t write like that. I am in awe of anyone who can.

Still others write with the ending in mind and work backwards. Some plot and plan carefully before they put the first word in place. They know their characters and their names. How can I know who will be needed until they appear? I don’t get it. But if it works for them, that’s great! I applaud it. Since, according to my last count, I have 38 completed novels and 27 finished short stories, my sink or swim method works fine for me.


Dellani Oakes is a slightly less than crazy, but certainly not quite sane, author with Second Wind Publishing & Tiregearr Publishing. Her books include: Indian Summer – historical romance, Lone Wolf – futuristic romance, The Ninja Tattoo – romantic suspense and Under the Western Sky – retro romance – coming soon!

Also, find Dellani in On the Wings of Pink Angels. Nightfalls: Notes from the End of the World. Not Your Mother’s Book – On Travel. Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces and Rubicon Ranch: Secrets.

For more information on Dellani and her work, follow the links below.








974922_10200584137103483_48085880_n  972723_10200584135223436_829485115_a  974983_10200584133183385_936227585_n                                                                                         975068_10200584138063507_953522368_n