@Revfitz Cool keyboard. I imagine the adjustment would feel very odd, with how second nature QWERTY typing should have become for most of us. I tell you, I'm really pining for a mechanical keyboard now that I'm trying to consciously type faster and with more fingers. These weak keys give me no grace!
Now! My process is all about pacing. Everything is pacing.
Pacing happens at the level of the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter, the act, and the novel. Everything is a connection to everything around it at every level, and it can be graphed to a universal formula, always an arc. And so the way to inform your next move, even when you've made no plan, is to follow the pace. Take my friend for instance.
They had started with action, like a cold open in a murder mystery. But then they didn't know how to introduce their main character in a way that brought them in without there being some peril to that process. Because peril on peril is no good for a beginning, not when the purpose is to be introducing the peoples and plots. You end up with a weird little mini-arc.
I tried to develop my visual director brain. Scene to scene, I've watched enough TV episodes and movies to know that every scene and frame, from color to movement, is about the flow of the story. Every story is a kind of essay. And essays like stories have an inherent structure of information pacing. Because in the end, that's what it was, just a piece of information, a memory. And interest wanes without variation! It's a golden mean between monotony and randomness. Great storytellers have talked about that in the balance of story mystery. The line of expectation and surprise.
And so that's what I do. I consider the purpose of this section I'm writing. Currently, for Chosen Shackles, I am writing the slow and eery build to conflict (to the character coming out of a mindset or mode of purposelessness [or normalcy], and into a realization of a problem, as the classic wisdom goes) and characters are explored. And so far I have been in the zone and cranking out thousand word chapters in one or two sittings twice a week, just juggling the information in my head. This project has been significantly smoother, and in my opinion, better than my last in every way. And it's all because I've focused on flow.
If the first chapter is dissonant, fast, and emotional, the second is contemplative, anxious, and cold. Keep building. Then the fourth establishes a direction and the fifth hints at danger. The sixth sets frame and the seventh breaks away to tie it all into the world and keep things in perspective. Introduce humor and break the flow as necessary, remember the main purpose of the essay. It's a much a more interpretive process than I see many writers talk about, but nothing has made my job smoother and more fun. Because there's no way I could tell you exactly what beat will follow four chapters forward (though I know the act), but I know the next chapter's, and that's enough to make it all seem preplanned.
Also, 1000 words is a magic number, in my opinion. I wrote Dirge for 2k and usually wanted to stop around 1500. Now, I usually run over 1k just a bit, and I'm sure as action picks up my chapters will start having longer run on scenes and pick up more directly from the last. I've also started doing more freeform arcs, using a numbering system instead of names, opting to name the chapters. Which I prefer because it lets me track themes better. Such as 'two_certainties', where the emotional point of the chapter peaks in reference. Sometimes I write the chapter to fit the name, sometimes I change the name to fit what I came up with.
I could never write by hand for this reason. My God, it'd be a nightmare. I shift words and sentences and thought lines around like mad until I'm happy.
And as for comfort, I can write while listening to a conversation, multitask, but headphones are best. I'll never go back to a tiny monitor, I hope. Everything is easier with a larger screen. I've even felt like my memory has improved, with my new setup. Weird? I really think my brain is my space, to a degree. I stopped using wallpapers, for instance, because I felt it helps me organize.
Sorry for the book of a post, I've just been really interested in process lately, and this thread made me giddy.