When New York Times bestseller Selena Blake tagged me to be part of the “Writing Process” blog tour, I had to say yes. After all, Selena was one of the authors who helped me with my RWR Article “Seven Habits of Effective Writers”. (You can read her amazingly helpful interview on productivity here) She asked me to take a few moments this morning to answer some questions about my latest book and my writing process. You can read about Selena’s process on her blog – selena-blake.com.
1) What am I currently working on?
I’m just beginning a new book this very week! It’s the story of an unexpected heiress with a secret. I wish I could tell you more, but I’ve yet to type more than the words “Chapter 1.” I promise, I’ll keep you up-to-date!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Not to sound full of myself, but I like to think my books stand out because of my voice. Voice is, in my opinion, what makes every book different. A Barbara Wallace book isn’t the same as a Selena Blake book or a Nora Roberts book because I’m the only one who writes like me. Make sense? Unfortunately, many new writers try to write generically. That is, their stories, while well written, sound like all the other books. You want to be as original as possible. Since there is no such thing as an original idea, the only real originality you bring to the table is the way you present that idea.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Okay, this is an easy question. I write romance because I am a sucker for falling in love and finding your happy ending. I don’t care what the story is about – I’m going to look for the love factor. I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation for the Riker/Troi love story. I watched NCIS for Ziva/Tony. I like a good mystery or adventure as much as the next, but give me a good dose of romantic tension along with the rest of the story and I’m totally hooked.
4) How does your writing process work?
My writing process is pretty messy. It starts with an character or the germ of an idea. From there I flesh out the heroine and hero so that I know their goals, their motivation and their biggest fears (that usually gives me the conflict). Notice I don’t have a plot yet.
Once I have the characters, I try to sketch out the story based on three acts. I’m not a plotter per se, nor am I a complete pantser. A writer friend of mine, Katy Cooper, once coined the term plodder, which I think describes me perfectly. What I do is plan a few scenes at a time. Honestly, I can’t see more of the story than that. Sometimes I might have an inkling as to a scene toward the middle of the book. If so, I make a note on my storyboard. If, later, the scene works, I’ll go ahead and write it. I’m a linear writer by nature which is why I don’t write anything out of order.
One of the reasons I’m a plodder/pantser is because my books are so character-driven. I find that if I try to shoehorn characters into a pre-determined plot, the book will stall.
Oh, and I forgot to mention – a very key part of my process is the mid-book freak out. Two or three times a book, I will decide that I a) have forgotten how to write and b) am not writing fast enough. These freak outs are so common, I’m getting to the point where I can predict when they are about to start.