It’s a lot like cooking, I think. When I’m planning to write I take out a huge sheet of sketching paper and plot out my main story points. (Planning the menu?) I also put down everything I can think of pertaining to the story - who when how why where and what – everything. Then I research and read. Everything I can get my hands on: shampoo bottles, magazines, blogs, how-to manuals, fiction, non-fiction, etc. (Gathering the ingredients?)
Then I get a black and white composition notebook and two fresh number 2 pencils and start writing the draft on the right side of the pages. I leave the left side blank for notes and changes. (Mixing the ingredients?) That’s my first draft completed. Then I put it down again. (Letting it stew?)
After that I begin to write it out on the computer and add or take away scenes, incorporating any notes I’ve made in the notebook. I print that out and read it. I make note cards of all the scenes and make sure the sequence is correct. I generally move things around and rewrite at this point. Rewrite and rewrite again. Switch scenes over and over.
I type out a second draft and give it to my partner to read. (Serving the dish?) She tells me what’s wrong with it, in her opinion. We debate it. I get mad and walk away, knowing she’s right. Then I come back and do the final draft and start handing it to my editor.
I’m a bit picky about what pencils or pens I hand write out my draft out in. It has to feel right. And while I’m typing the first draft I like to be called Rita. But I have no tricks or weird habits - nothing like that...