What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
I know this without even thinking it over: Beginning. In a couple of different ways.
On the small scale, the first few chapters of any book are the ones I struggle with the most. It’s a big juggling act, trying to introduce characters and situation and get the action started, while neither being too confusing nor too slow. I haven’t quite figured out the trick to it yet. With The Way We Fall, the first 40 or so pages were something like a fourth draft, and the rest only a second draft (plus polishing overall), and those first pages still needed just as much if not more revision than the rest. 😛
However, I believe that knowing is half the battle, and knowing my weakness hopefully I will conquer it in time!
On a larger scale, the the hardest part of the entire writing process for me is the first draft. Even though I’m an outliner and I have a pretty clear idea of how my story will go before I start, I don’t find I can really start shaping the novel into the book I want it to be until the whole thing is written out in full. Even with an outline, you can discover a lot once you’re trying to flesh those ideas out. Working on the sequel to The Way We Fall right now, I have five notebook pages of jotted notes about scenes I need to go back and tweak or rework entirely, character motivations I have to better set up, details I realized after the fact that I forgot to consider. It’s also a sort of nervous time when I’m not absolutely entirely sure I will indeed reach the end.
The only way I get through first drafts is by constantly telling myself it doesn’t matter how many things in the story are broken, once I get to The End I can go back and fix them all. (I love second drafts. Second drafts are when I get to take the mess and make it good.)
Now you’ll have to excuse me–I’ve got a first draft I really want to get to the end of!