Everyone who writes does it different than everyone else.
Or at least they should.
In recent months, I've been watching videos on Youtube featuring Stephen King. I've been a fan for years-- of his novels, sure, but moreso on how he views the writing process and the sheer thrill it is to be a writer.
He goes about his work in a similar fashion to how I do. You get a basic idea in your head, something you can put down in a few sentences that might intrigue a reader (as a logline or "TV Guide" blurb might). Then you head down that path, banging away on the keyboard, and let your characters take you to parts unknown.
But then you hit writing molasses. You're cruising along and... then.. it... all... begins... to ... slow... dooowwwnn.
The theory I'm developing (sort of), is this is the 70% mark.
You're nearly three-quarters through your story, fueled by your subconscious, a lot of tenacity and caffeine/alcohol/narcolepsy medicine. But then your characters look to you and say:
Hey, you need to make sense out of this world or we're done.
It seems that's when you have to stop, put the writing aside for a day or two and work out what the hell this universe you created looks like. Only then, once you've mapped out the physics and the history of your story can you move forward.
I wonder if, in part, that's what some authors call "writer's block". The characters tell the story through you. But then you reach a point where they, collectively, look up from the page and go: what the fuck?
Hopefully, your characters (subconscious) have done their jobs. They've laid out the world for you and all you need to do is play amateur cartographer. Unless you puzzle piece together that world, retrofit the proper backstory, and have a path to the end, you'll never finish it.
At least, that's how it works with me.
Either way, I've done that the past two days-- mapped out this novel's world in a black-and-red notebook-- and now I can't shut my characters up.
I'm about 25,000 words from the end of this new novel. And, I know from my own experience, it'll be tougher than the first 25,000.
But I can't wait to see what happens.