Getting Inside a Writer’s MindFebruary 16 2014
Welcome! Come on over and grab a cuppa and a macaron or two and find out how my mind works!
A huge thank you to the fabulous and multi-talented author and editor, Annie Seaton for asking me to participate in this rolling blog post ‘Getting Inside a Writer’s Mind.’ Annie writes contemporary and paranormal romance and has had the occasional foray into the historical steampunk world. You can visit Annie’s blog and find out all about her fabulous books here: http://www.annieseatonromance.com
In the last week I’ve signed my first ever publishing contract for an erotic Regency short story ‘An Improper Proposition’ with the all Australian boutique romance publisher Steam eReads. And this is one of my very first blog posts! So it’s been an exciting couple of weeks to say the least!
So where do I begin?….What is my writing process?
When some of my extended family first heard about my ambition to write novels and hopefully one day become published, my sister-in-law said to me (over a glass of wine or 2 or 3, but who’s counting?), “How do you even go about writing a novel? I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
She asked a great question. And at the time there was no simple answer. Not that I could really put into words anyway.
Part of why I write and how I write seems to be just related to the way my mind works (scary huh!). I’ve always wanted to write books…since childhood (as I know many other writers do). For many years—until I got up the courage to actually have a go at writing one of the many stories going on in my head—I dabbled at writing…I day-dreamed and plotted in notebooks, stopped and started stories (I still have several boxes of all these notebooks in my scarily messy spare room), read voraciously, bought and read a couple of craft books on writing popular fiction…So I guess I had been practicing my writing skills for many years before I finally knuckled down to write a whole book 18 months ago…And somehow I just kind of subconsciously knew how to go about it…for the most part. It took me 6 months to write a 100,00 word novel which ended up coming second in the 2013 Emerald Award—Single Title section (I’m still amazed at that result). So I must have got some things right with my process.
But I’m definitely still learning and honing my skills and expect to for a very long time. Since I joined Romance Writers Australia at the end of 2012, I’ve certainly learnt a whole lot more about the art of writing romance. Now after having written two full manuscripts and a short story, I think I actually can put into words what my particular writing process is…
Here’s what I do:
- I usually get an idea that just won’t leave me alone. It can be about a character (the hero or heroine), a particular scene or situation these characters are in…and I usually develop the whole story from there…Inspiration can come from something I see, music, something I’ve read. I’ve yet to get stuck with coming up with a story idea (touch wood). And I always have a notepad on hand to jot down ideas or snippets of conversation whenever inspiration strikes (even at 3 in the morning!)
- I don’t use character charts or interview my characters, or write a particular archetype (not consciously any way). I just tend to develop my own character profiles for the main protagonists in tandem with the plotting phase. I generally work out the physical appearance (that’s the fun part), names, age, personalities (strengths and weaknesses), backstory and GMC (goal/motivation/conflict) of the main characters. When creating the hero and heroine, I really try to get into their headspaces to make sure I’m able to write from a deep point of view perspective.
- I am a plotter and a bit of a pantser. I have to work out the whole story arc before I begin writing. I don’t use novel outlines/templates; I’ve found I haven’t needed to. Rather, I usually start plotting with pen and paper. The ideas just seem to flow better that way. Then I put together a word document with key plot points dot pointed out. Although I’m not rigid about planning all scenes. I love the spontaneity of writing especially when the characters seem to come alive and take over. Since joining and getting to know other writers in RWA, it seems a lot of others experience this special type of madness. So I’m glad it’s not just me who has voices in their heads!
- Recently I’ve also started creating a visual board or collage for each story, thanks to Google Images and Pinterest. That’s a whole lot of fun too!
- With writing historicals there is usually some research involved. But it depends on the story as to how much I need to do. I’ve been reading historical set novels and have always been fascinated by history so I love this part of the process. And thank heavens for the internet! That has made research so much easier.
- Once all the planning and research is done, I get going. I try to write every day and tend to edit as I go. So at ‘The End’ I usually have a fairly clean manuscript.
So I guess that’s about it! Like I said, I’m still learning. I’d love to attend more craft workshops (other than online ones) or join a writer’s group but that can be tricky given that I live in a rural area…But we’ll see what the year brings!
Next on the list for this rolling blog is Australian author Darry Fraser. Darry has recently had several titles released with Steam eReads—her latest, ‘Anything for Love’ was just released on Valentine’s Day! Here’s the link to Darry’s website and blog here: http://www.darryfraser.com