So, I've been tagged by Ranee' S. Clark for The Writing Process Blog Tour!
1. What am I working on?
I am working on two books right now, both romances. The one that I just wrote "The End" on (on Saturday!) is my book for the Ripples Effect Romance series and you can go here if you're interested in learning more about the series. It's called Silver Linings and I've had so much fun writing Drew and Eden. Next up for that is initial edits.
I also have a full-length romance I'm working on that has been so much fun to work on. I am half-way through that one.
And, of course, I have a YA that I've started to outline and written the first few chapters and I REALLY WANT TO KEEP WRITING but I have to get these other projects done first because of commitments I've made to people.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
One of the ways my romances are different from other romances is that they are clean. That's probably the most obvious difference I guess. I've heard from readers who tell me that they LOVE romance, but they don't always want to read Inspirational romance and don't feel comfortable reading something that uses crude language or contains sex scenes. But, they still want emotional depth and swoon-worthy scenes.
I've listened to this, and my goal is to write deep, emotionally satisfying romances that can give my readers a few hours of escape from our stressful and hectic lives.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write stories that I would love to read. My favorite genres to read are romance and contemporary YA, so that's where I'm drawn when I write.
4. How does your writing process work?
This is something that I'm still figuring out.
I'll tell you what's worked best for me.
1) I get an idea somehow. This can come from a television show, from a conversation I overheard, something from my life. Anywhere really. It starts out as just a concept: There is a girl who goes home for Christmas with her best friend and starts to fall in love with her best friend's brother (Six Days of Christmas).
2) I take that idea and keep asking: What if?
What if this girl isn't a big fan of Christmas because they never celebrated when she was a kid?
What if she has a huge project hanging over her head?
What if she's part of a power couple and her life seems planned out exactly the way she wants it?
What if her best friend's brother is a huge flirt (kind of annoying, totally cute)?
What if because he's annoyingly persistent, he's able wreck all of her carefully laid plans (would she like this eventually?)
What if, because she's not a fan of Christmas, she goes to BFF's house and they are Christmas CRAZY?
I go wild with the "What if's" Some don't make it anywhere near the book. (What if the BFF's brother broke up with his girl and then she shows up later?) <--- cut.="" got="" idea="" p="" this="">
I love to make my "What if's" put my characters in uncomfortable positions. I like things to be awkward and I love my characters to stretch. So I like brainstorming scenarios that are going to make them leave their comfort zone and venture into a place where they learn something new about themselves.
3) Then I try to put all these scenarios into a bare-bones outline. Very sparse. I just have to have a rough idea of where the story starts, the main conflict, what the climax is, and how it ends. (In a romance I would have something as simple for the end as: They get together.)
4) I start writing. I have to write several chapters (for me, around 10K words) before I feel like I really know my characters. I stop there.
5) Now that I know my characters better and know what they would/wouldn't do, I write a very detailed outline. Sometimes those first 10K words get thrown out (most of the time they do) because they are full of back-story. But they are invaluable to me, because they are kind of like my live get-to-know-you interviews for my characters. My detailed outline goes through scene by scene, separated by five acts usually (just because it helps my brain not get overwhelmed if I split my story into five parts). Then, depending on the length, I shoot for a certain amount of scenes per act. (In my ripples novella, I did five scenes per act, for a total of 25 scenes in the book).
*Note: Sometimes I do veer from what I had planned for a scene while writing. If I know that in a particular scene, I want to establish that the main character and her boyfriend are starting to have some friction in their relationship, I may veer from the planned scene to something different if a good idea strikes me, that still accomplishes what I need it to in order push my story forward. You can't let the outline rule you! What's the fun in writing if you can't play with the story now and then?
6) I write like crazy. I write my book from beginning to end, only skipping a scene if I need to do more research before I write it. First drafting is not the time for research (though outlining is. It's just small things like regional details, etc that I save for later)
7) After finishing the first draft, I go through it and fix all the places that I've marked for further research. If something developed later in the story that I hadn't anticipated, I also play with the beginning to make it consistent.
8) It's off to my mom and sisters. They are my first readers. They read it like anyone reads a book... not necessarily to edit, but to feel the flow. Does it drag? Are there characters you didn't like or didn't understand? Did you wish something had happened that didn't? Then I make plot revisions based on their feedback.
9)This is where my favorite part of writing happens... the art. I love to go through it at this point and play with my words, add description, ramp up the emotion, and do some in-depth revisions on the actual writing.
10) Then I send it to the beta readers. I have several rounds of people this goes to. I prefer to have about 3-4 people read through and edit my story because everyone has different perspective and pet-peeves. Ranee is usually my last reader because hopefully by the time it gets to her, all the obvious plot/mechanical problems are worked through and she can do an in-depth critique of what I think is the best I can do. Then we make it even better.
11) I print it off and make sure I didn't make any more mistakes while correcting mistakes (it happens.) I go through with a fine-tooth comb and try to make it as strong as I can.
*At this point, I've read my story probably 10-15 times, and I'd be happy to never, ever have to read it again. :)
Okay! If you actually read all of that, you deserve an award. So, Celeste Cox and Beckie Carlson.... TAG, you're it! :)