The Writing Process

First of all, I’ll excuse myself for the random radio silence. Ever since I started Camp NaNo, I’ve been a little busier than usual, I guess. I’m also trying to finish an advanced copy of Learning Not to Drown that I won from Goodreads’ First Reads program. As well as a few other things I can’t figure out how to delineate at the moment – a 5k run in Stillwater, puttin’ together a skeleton for my newest project, getting a new tattoo, etc.

As for today, a few days ago, Jodie Llewellyn posted this Writing Process Survey which she’d found at Kate Upperman’s blog, and I thought it was kinda nifty.

The Writing Process Survey


What genre do you write? A multitude. Sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, horror, LGBTQ+ (almost every story has at least trace LGBTQ+ elements), even a little romance! – kinda haha. ;]

How many books have you written? My entire life – countless. What I have right now, on file, only the complete ones number 7.

Are you published? Yes, my debut novel, The Soul, came out last month! Book info and purchase info. :]


How long do you let an idea “simmer” before you start writing? Sometimes, it’ll be years before I get to incorporate an idea I’ve had. I actually have a collection called The Unwholesome Files numbered 1-100 where I keep all the ideas I’ve accumulated over the years. They range anywhere from single words to entire storylines. When I get the chance to use one – or need a little plot help – I gather the pertinent ones and strike them off the list to make room for more idea resting places. It’s been my favorite idea tool for years.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? Oh, God, like, none. Haha, I’m really bad about just writing a story and having the characters build themselves as a go along. It makes for a pretty extensive revision period, I’ll admit, but I look at it as half the fun of learning my world, my crew, myself. If I have anything, it’s usually just like a really rough idea, and I construct from there – as I write. All sketches, outlines, maps, etc. always come afterward.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc)? I’ve actually used the Snowflake Method once before – but like I said above, it was only I’d had the entire story written. I also found a good chunk of it unnecessary/frivolous/redundant. I tried index cards, too, once in high school. I’m just not that kinda writer.


How many drafts do you usually go through before you’re “done”? With bigger projects, asstons. Why, just a few weeks before The Soul was due to release, I was still tweaking that motherfucker. I just dunno when to stop. Smaller projects, novellas and short stories, it usually only takes one or two.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? Seriously, it depends on the length of the project and the intricacy of the plot. A few months, tops. The editing process is a whole ‘nother thing.

How long do revisions usually take you? Too long. Sometimes, years. Lemme get a little further into the profession before I make a solid comment on the process.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Wow, this entire section is a big lump of “depends.” It’s true, though – it depends how different the plot is when I finish. The more elaborate projects tend to grow in ways I never imagine, but it’s more like adding depth and dimensionality to the story than making it different. Shorter ones tend to evolve less overtly.

* So all my answers read a lot longer than I thought they would, sorry about that! I have other tidbits to share once Camp NaNo comes to a close.

Have y’all a safe Easter.

S. R. Carrillo


3 comments on “The Writing Process

  1. Love this! We share a lot of the same things :) I just might have to steal this from you, I love the concept!


  2. […] found this writing process survey through Sierra on Permashift, (originally from Katy Upperman’s blog) and I loved it, so I just had to steal it! Thanks […]


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