Good morning! The Writing Process Blog Tour arrives here today. It’s my turn to try and explain the madness that is my process.
How does it work? I answer a few simple questions, then tag the next author who will likewise answer the questions when they next post their blog. I was tagged by fellow 2014 Golden Heart sister, Denny Bryce, who writes romantic suspense (among other things). You can find her over at: dennysbryce.com
1. What am I working on?
This is a fairly easy question, since I tend to work on only one thing at a time (mostly). I’m working on a contemporary paranormal romance, with the working title of “Safe Haven” (which may become “Saving Sanctuary … or lots of other things). I’m into the second draft, and pushing to have it done by July and the RWA National Conference (wish me luck!).
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I primarily write Regency paranormal romance, which already differentiates me from lots of other paranormal writers out there (though I’m far from the only author writing that rather specific sub-genre.) But, like this current book is proving to me, I like to write books with somewhat quirky characters, a good dose of humor and sarcasm, and while they might have magical powers, it’s their humanity they really need to deal with. My werewolves rarely moan about being werewolves or having super powers (I mean, come on, super powers!). That said, their power and therefore authority can become a heavy burden or lead them down paths, and that’s what I love digging into.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write paranormal because I think the world needs a bit more magic. And, I believe that by looking at extraordinary acts of magic and things that are unbelievable, we’re better able to accept and see the real magic in our lives. Like love, or trying to figure out how a three-year-old’s mind works.
4. How does your writing process work?
My process changes a bit every time I write a new book, just like I often switch things up with each new book after reading a new writing craft book, hearing a new idea, or just deciding to experiment. But I have come to understand I am not a plotter, at least not someone with detailed charts tracking every scene and character, etc. I’m also highly impatient, and want to jump into the story instead of sit around plotting. Fortunately, I also write faster than I plot.
I like the term “Gardener” a la George R. R. Martin (for more, check out this article here) rather than pantser. This means I get a hot idea I have to work with, usually after playing with my favorite “toy,” “What If?”. Usually this comes complete with a first scene, sometimes more, sometimes less, and I’m off. I do try and hold back, to make sure I know at least the major plot points, but sometimes I’m lying to myself. Like in this current WIP, where I didn’t really know any of that, and boy was it a mess.
But therein is my new and improved method: I have a very clear method of rewriting, rewrites in four easy phases. Going from macro (major structural changes), all the way down to micro (the proofreading, etc) (Still curious? I have a post on my revision plan here.)That way, once I figured out what information I’d been missing with the novel, I go back, make chapter by chapter summaries, and literally cut it up with scissors (very cathartic if you’re frustrated with the thing). THEN I try and put it back together again, looking just at the structure, adding notes for scenes that are missing, what scenes might fit where with alteration … and which ones literally don’t make the cut.
Since I’ve been working with that method this time, my second draft is a far cry from the tangled knot-work of the first draft. And I’ll be going over it one more time to see if it needs structural work before I move on to layering, transitions, and more detail work. And yes, this means I’ve come to love rewriting, even though nothing beats the thrill of diving headlong and blind into that first draft.
So what about you? Is your process more madness than method? Or are you one of those detailed plotters I can only admire?
Next up, I tag another fellow 2014 Golden Heart sister, (and another Shelly!): Shelly Alexander. Check out her process when she posts next week.
Shelly grew up traveling the world, earned a BBA in Marketing, and worked in a corporate job, before marriage lured her to New Mexico in the early 90s. She spent years helping to run the family business, had three sons in as many years, and finally launched her writing career after surviving invasive breast cancer.
Now Shelly spends her days tending to an overweight English bulldog named Lola while writing steamy contemporary romances that will keep you laughing.