Welcome to another installment of the Writing Process Blog Hop! In case you don’t know, authors have been answering these same four questions about their writing process, and tagging other to play along. I was tagged by the wickedly talented Celeste Easton.
1. What am I working on right now?
These days I’m working on the first book in my new series that will start releasing in 2015. Ardent Springs is a small town north of Nashville, and I’m having fun meeting the locals and getting to know the geography.
2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Oddly enough, I don’t read a lot of small town contemporaries right now, mainly because I don’t want to “borrow” something without realizing I’m doing it. But I think mine are different in three ways. One, they’re edgier in that my characters tend to curse. Some of them curse a lot. My books are also quite sarcastic. Lots of off the cuff one-liners in dialogue, and often including some double entendre. My books are also sexy and there is sex on the page.
I write stories about modern, consenting adults and to me, sexual chemistry and compatibility play key roles in determining if a couple is going to live happily ever after. Every sex scene reveals something, alters something, and almost always complicates things even more than they already are.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write the stories that come to me. Characters show up in my head, tell me a bit about their current situation, and then huff around until I fix their problem. So far, contemporary characters who live in out-of-the-way places are the ones who’ve made themselves known. As for romance, I’ve been reading the genre for nearly thirty years now, I adore a happy ending, and I enjoy the chance to tell a love story the way it should happen.
I love it when the hero says the right thing at the right moment. And when real emotions come through, be it during a fight or a love scene or just friends sitting around a table eating their favorite desserts. It’s community, friendship, and falling in love. Who wouldn’t want to spend their day surrounding by those three things?
4. How does my writing process work?
I wish I had a better answer for this, but my process is, well, not recommended would be the best way to describe it. I generally have six months to write a book. Typically, during the first three months, I’m doing edits on the previous book, and promoting the release of the one before that. In other words, massively distracted. Then I get to the three months to go mark and start to panic. By this point, I probably have a few chapters written, but the momentum isn’t flowing yet.
Then I do some math, realize how many words I’d have to write a week to get it done, whine for a couple of weeks to my (very patient) writing buddies (who have learned to ignore this part), and start turning out steady word counts. By, say, three weeks before the deadline, I’m writing the ending while surviving on water and Famous Amos cookies, holding my breath, sleeping very little, and in dire need of cleaning my house and coloring my hair.
As to the plotting, I’m more a plantser. I use a storyboard (which is stuck up on my living room wall near my desk) and always have inspiration images all around it. I plot 3-5 scenes, write those, then plot some more. I usually have the black moment and final scene in my head at all times, but I can’t write out of order so those just have to wait. They get a Post-it and we keep going.
Everything comes through the characters, and over the years I’ve learned to trust that they know what they’re doing. When I let go and let them write the story (taking dictation at this point) is when the story really comes together. It’s an organic process, full of surprises. While writing the 4th Anchor Island book (due out in November), I had an idea for the black moment, but then it came and what tumbled onto the page was not what I’d expected. Turned out, I’d foreshadowed exactly what happened for several chapters, without realizing I was doing it.
This is why I say the character write the books and I’m along for the ride. Just over a year into being a published author and I am happy to report I’m still having a blast. I’m often stressed and confused, frustrated and overwhelmed, but having a blast none the less.
The Blog Hop Continues….