It’s my turn in the Writing Process Blog Tour meme. The lovely Cara Bristol tagged me last week, so here I go, answering four questions about how I write. On March 24th, visit the authors I’ve tagged to participate — A.S. Fenichel and Lisa Carlisle.
This one is exciting to answer, because for the first time, I’m working on a series. The document I have open these days is called “Icing on the Cake” and it’s Book 2 of my ‘Close to Home’ series. Each book features a new romantic couple and will be able to stand alone, but I do think readers will get more out of the stories if they read in order. That’s usually the way, isn’t it? 😉
Icing on the Cake is scheduled to release in June.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That’s rather a loaded question! And one I don’t think I can answer, frankly. Is my work different from others of its genre? I don’t know. I don’t try to write “different”, I just write what I enjoy, the way the characters and their stories unfold. I write hot (sometimes very hot) contemporary romance. My stories have banter and humor, intensity and teary parts, steamy sex, and happily ever afters. They’re different from other books in the genre because they came out of my head, that’s all I know for sure.
3. Why do I write what I do?
This one is easy to answer. I write what I write because those are the stories that pop into my brain and demand to be written. I don’t choose to write a certain kind of story or theme, ideas just come to me like little sparks. The ones that keep pinging around in my head, developing into something more, are the stories I sit down to write.
4. How does my writing process work?
Ha, that’s a joke, right? 😉 Okay, this is how I write.
I’m out walking my big doggie and a spark of an idea pops into my head. I pull out my phone, bring up the notepad app and jot whatever it is down. Maybe it’s a concept, maybe it’s a few sentences. Whatever. Then I put the phone away and keep walking the doggie. (Isn’t she adorable?)
If that idea keeps niggling at me, I open a blank document and write a beginning. Maybe it’s a paragraph, maybe it’s a page. Whatever. Then I save and close the document and go on with life. Dishes, laundry, scooping the cat’s litter box… the glamorous stuff, you know?
If the story keeps unfolding in my brain, I open the document again and write some more. (This part could repeat for days. Weeks, even.) Maybe I end up with three pages, maybe a first chapter. I save and quit. Save and quit. Do more glamorous life stuff.
Hooray, the story is still unfolding in my brain! So I take a long shower or walk my dog, to see if “scenes” pop into my head. This is how it happens for me — entire scenes play in my head, sort of like movie snippets. I grab those scenes and scribble the gist of them in a notebook. Around those scenes, I *try* to make an outline. Aside from those scenes I can see quite vividly, the rest of the outline is loose and vague. A bony thing that with A LOT of determination and a healthy dose of luck, *may* become a book.
Using the outline, I make a Post-It note for each scene, be it specific or general, and stick them to the wall near my desk. There’s no better motivation than being able to rip those suckers down as I go! Using the Post-Its, I estimate the word count for each scene to calculate the approximate finished length of the book, as well as a possible completion date. Assuming, of course, that unplanned scenes don’t crop up out of nowhere and demand to be added to the story. And you know what they say about assuming. 😉
I give myself a deadline for completion based on the estimated word count ahead. I tell myself I am absolutely, without a doubt, going to buckle down and meet THE DEADLINE. (Insert hysterical laughing here.)
Then, I write. Sloooowly. Because I edit constantly while writing. (And maybe because I get distracted by the internet just a teensy-weensy little bit.) Anyway. 😉 I’ve never been able to fast-draft or rough-draft. Instead, I pick, pick, pick and wordsmith every single time I open my document. I also write in a linear fashion. If something is really tripping me up, I highlight the section and attempt to move past it temporarily. This rarely works. Usually, I send needy messges to my friends, who pull me back from the ledge, lovely people that they are.
When I finally reach The End, I head back to the beginning and edit some more. And some more. After that, I send it to my beta readers and try not to totally freak out because I KNOW THE WHOLE THING SUCKS BIG HAIRY BALLS. I binge eat, alternating between sweet treats and salty snacks. Then I walk my dog so that I’m too busy to message the poor beta readers every half hour to see if they hate it.
While I’m out walking my dog… a new idea pops into my head, and the process begins again. And that’s how I write. 🙂
Next Monday, click over to my friends’ blogs to read about their writing processes.
A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back. A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Multi-published in erotic, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. has several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, and will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.
Lisa Carlisle loves stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters (like Heathcliff, Dracula, Darth Vader, and Severus Snape) and tough, independent, caring heroines. Her reading tastes very widely and she’ll read almost anything–especially paranormal romance, mysteries, and non-fiction on any new topic of interest. When she was younger, Lisa served a short time in the Marines, serving in Parris Island, South Carolina, the California desert, and Okinawa, Japan. She then backpacked alone through Europe and lived in Paris. Returning to the U.S., she owned an independent bookstore for a few years and started to write. Currently, she lives in New England with her husband, two children, a cat, and too many fish.