Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Writing Process Author Hop

I've been invited to participate in the "My Writing Process Author Hop" by the amazing and talented Bethany Hagen, author of Landry Park. Bethany and I have been writing buddies for the past couple of years online, and we finally got to meet at a writer's retreat in Estes Park last month. It was fantabulous, and let me just say that aside from being a killer author who penned one of the best dystopians you'll ever read, ever, the girl can dance!!!

So, Bethany wanted to talk about the writing process, because every author is different, and has something to bring to the table for other writers. Okay, let's face it. Authors really just want to know if other writer's are just as, if not more, crazed about the writing process then themselves. Right? Right.

What am I working on? 

I'm always working on more than one project at a time. My brain isn't at all satisfied unless it has free, creative rein. Right now, I'm polishing up a contemporary romance Pygmalion retelling with an erotic twist, THE MISTRESS EXPERIMENT, featuring a hot British surgeon and a sassy Latina. In addition, I'm finishing up the third book in the Paint River Ranch series, to be released in September, 2014.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I have a rule of three that I follow, which I hope will keep readers coming back for more: Make them feel, make them cry, make them smile. Each of my works has a deeply emotional element in addition to the romance and the sexual relationship. Where some romance is perhaps a little more cut-and-dried, get-to-the-sex, my characters are never finding each other just for the physical aspect. They are growing/changing/finding themselves, and solving a deeply personal problem or changing a belief about themselves along the way.

Why do I write what I do?

After several years working as an emergency medical technician, I've come to appreciate what I call the, 'human element.' I crave the connection between people and the ups and downs they go through. I love the way humans interact and change, especially on their path to finding love or partnership. Plus, I'm just a sucker for a great love story!

How does my writing process work?

  • I write down all of my ideas, but if one grabs me really hard, I start to work on it immediately. I'm not a wait-and-see kind of writer. I find my best work comes when I actively pursue and idea and let it flourish instead of forcing myself to think about it. 

  • I create a basic plot/theme outline, and like Bethany, use the Save the Cat beat sheet. I plunk it into Scrivener, add in a rough sketch/profile for each character, and another basic outline for setting. After that, I pants my way through the rest of the story. 

  • I never stop. Once I start with a work-in-progress, I don't set it aside until I'm done. The only exception to this is if I have to do edits on a contracted book, or finish something for my editors. 

  • I write at least 1,000 words a day and if I'm really feeling it, can write 6-8,000 in a day.

  • Once my first draft is complete, I immediately go into a first round revision process. I keep a lot of little notes as I'm writing, so I know what to change or add. I also highlight key emotional growth and plot areas along the way, giving each main character their own color. This helps me go back and tweak their growth/thoughts/responses when it's time to edit. I also highlight major plot points and twists in pink for the same purposes.

  • Music is a huge part of my writing process. It's always on as background noise, and I find that instrumental and movie soundtracks really help when it comes time to dig into the deep emotions of my characters.

There you have it! As you can see, waiting isn't my forte. But that's what works for me. :)


Up next, is the ridiculously talented and beautiful Melanie Harlow. In addition to her incredible historical fiction SPEAK EASY series, Melanie just released a super hot, contemporary romance, FRENCHED. Be sure to visit her blog next week for her writing process post!

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