My Apologies (Penny Rader)

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On the months with 31 days I'm usually here on the 31st, sharing links to articles, blogs, web sites, etc that I've found helpful and hope you will, too.

Apology #1: I don't have a new post today.  I managed to knock myself out a couple days ago. Was there some really weird cosmic event on Tuesday afternoon?  The ER was crazy busy and was acting as overflow for another hospital. Nearly 8 hours after I passed out and smacked my head, I learned I did not have a brain bleed (yay!), the EKG & blood tests were okay and I was released with a couple prescriptions. The right side of my head and my rib cage area and side are still really sore. You'd think I'd been in a fight or hit by a truck.  The golf ball-sized lump over my right eye has gone down, but the pain is being stubborn about leaving.  My right eyelid is scary-looking: super puffy and droopy and I'm pretty sure you'll find every shade of purple there.  I never realized how often I touch the right side of my face...I keep smacking the owies.  Thank you to my wonderful daughters for taking such good care of me.

Apology #2:  Since I didn't pull together new links, I'm re-sharing the post I did three years ago today:  A Smorgasbord of Writing Resources.  Two of the links didn't work when I tested them. I found a replacement link for one but had to delete the other out from the post. Bummer.  She had lots of great articles on her site.

Which leads to the tip of the day:  If you find something online that you'll want to refer to again, print it and/or save it.  You never know when a site will disappear.

I hope you'll forgive me for recycling a post, but I think this one is definitely worth revisiting because they have tons of great info.

Catch you later.  I need to take another pain pill and go lie back down.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat

I have to laugh at this month's blog subject: The Writing Process. Most of us don't think of our writing as a process. We simply write. But if I step back and give it a little more thought, each of us does have a particular way we do our writing, better known as a process. And like so many other things in life, that process is unique to each of us.

Writing doesn't come easy.  It should, shouldn't it?  It looks easy.  Just put some words on a paper that make sense, a voila! A story!

Oh, how I wish it were that easy!!

So we each create a process to get us from Point A (the first glimmer of a story idea) to Point E (for End as in the End of the Finished Book).  It can take years to get a complete process, and even then, it manages to need some changing at times.  A little tweaking to make it better or get through a particularly rough spot.

I'm a plotter.  I wasn't always a plotter.  In fact, some years ago, if anyone even suggested I might want to try plotting, I would put my fingers in my ears and La la la la la, until said person went away.  Long story, but in the end, I learned how to plot.  My way.  It isn't anyone else's way.  It isn't right or wrong, it's simply mine.

Step One: The Spark of an Idea
This first step often happens while a few chapters away from the current WIP.  Terrible timing, and it could be ignored, but I've discovered if I do that, I'm going to wish I hadn't. That spark will run and hide, and it will take every trick and prayer to drag it out of hiding.  I was lucky.  I was smart.  Why? Because I didn't ignore that spark when writing the last half of DESIGNS ON THE COWBOY.  In fact, I was several rounds into my morning walk at a local park, thinking of virtually nothing---those morning walks were for exercise and letting the brain take a rest---when a picture popped into my mind of a naked man in a pond, his back to "me" (the character and heroine, of course!). Afraid I'd lose the image before I finished my walk and went home, I burned it into my brain. The moment I walked into the house, I sat down at the computer and wrote the beginning of the opening scene.  And then the real work began.

Step Two: Decide What the Story is About and Who the Characters Are
I mean, let's face it. With a naked man in a pond, anything could happen. I had another flicker of an idea and realized that the heroine knew the naked man, although she didn't realize it at the time. Aha!  A reunion story! I needed a backstory.

Step Three: Letting the Right Side of the Brain Take Over
Sometimes it takes a little pushing, sometimes it just takes letting the imagination take over with no parameters, no rules, just ideas gone wild. Most are discarded, those special few that have some merit will be weeded out and saved.

Step Four: Putting Together a Plot
I've never completely figured this one out.  By the time I get to this step, I know and have probably written the first few pages of the story.  I have a clue what the black moment will be, and the turning point.  I also know what will be in the first three scenes aka the first chapter and then end or hook at the end of the third chapter. Everything in-between takes a lot of what-iffing, some of it good, most of it... *shrug*

Step Five: The Story is Plotted
This point could be only a few weeks after Step One or months later, depending on if the brain is work and if I'm writing to deadline on something else. But at least I know the story.  Not every detail. That comes with the real writing. But a good idea of how this story and these characters are getting from Point A to Point End.

The rest of the steps are the actual writing.  I follow the plot, which usually works out as it should, but I've had to teach myself and my characters to be flexible.

And then comes the point where the first draft is written.  The story is there, and it's time to edit. The number of edits depends on a lot of things.  How much time to I have before I have to turn this in?  How many places need to be not only tweaked but rewritten because I went off on a tangent I hadn't planned.

There's a final polish, a knot in the stomach, and a moment of panic as my finger hits the SEND key in my email program to shoot the manuscript to my editor.

And then I wait.

And I hope I have a new idea to work on, so I can stop looking at the calendar every day, waiting to hear from my editor.

That's my Process. But it's only mine AND YOU CAN'T HAVE IT. You get to create your own that fits only you. But you can borrow ideas from others and make them your own.

The final word on The Process is to tweak whenever needed...because sometimes the writing flow hits a damn, and we need a little dynamite.

Blood, Sweat and Tears, part 2, or How To Turn Gray In One Week

As you can see, I survived. Was there any doubt? Nah, not really, but life does get interesting upon occasion. Murphy wasn't too ornery this trip, just a minor pain. I ended up with only eight teenagers. I’m not sure one missing kid makes a whole lot of difference, but it did free up some seat space to separate my oil and water girls. They didn't always mix, which meant lots of skirmishes. Some minor, some major, but all were a lot of fun. Not!

My pastor found someone to look at the van before we left. He reset the computer. That lasted until Joplin, MO on Interstate 44. The cruise didn't die quietly either. It surged. Twice. Not fun while surrounded by semi’s going a minimum of 70 mph.

The deluge didn't hit until after we left Bella Vista, AR. No cruise, no speedometer, pouring rain, rush hour traffic, antsy teens. Yup, lot’s of fun. Driving up the muddy, winding, tightly curved mountain road was even better. At least the tires maintained their traction this time. Feeling the van’s rear end sliding sideways into thin air with a bunch of kids in tow ain't for sissies. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.

Driving through the creek to take said van into the shop for a look-see was fun too. It’s the shortcut. Low, to a true mountaineer, turns out to be a foot or more of running water. Feeling the tires spin on loose rock submerged under that rushing current as the van went nowhere fast added a few more gray hairs to my frazzled head. Ditto for trying to get on the highway at the end of that shortcut. It’s about a 60-70 degree angle with no place to stop and look for cars. You just gun it and go. And pray, with eyes tightly closed.

Camp was true to form. We had young love, three different flu bugs floating around, assorted squabbles, rain and ticks galore. Did I forget to mention I hate ticks? Fortunately, they don’t seem to be too fond of me. My other driver said she picked twenty-plus from her person over the week. Only one was attached. The rest were just crawling around looking for a good place to land. Ick!

Instead of hot it was so chilly we were wearing jackets and jeans. If we had them, that is. Some of the kids were turning blue. Never thought it would be so cold mid-June. They still managed to go swimming three times. Maybe I’m just a wimp. Of course the humidity was so high your bedding and clothes were always damp. Quite the weird experience rolling over at night wondering why your bed’s moist. And, no, I didn't wet the bed.

Only two sprained ankles this year. One was mine. I’m still limping around. For some reason my body thinks it’s older than I am. Hmm, maybe I think it’s younger than it is. Don’t like it much either way.

Oh well, enough about ol’ Murphy. The real news is one of my girls forgave God for letting her brother die. She’s been angry at Him for years. Another learned that there are consequences for rude behavior and that some adults expect you to do what you’re told. Imagine that! She made tremendous strides in the growing up department which included a few laps around the soccer field and one set of push ups.

Two brothers forgave their dad. He’s in jail for pedophilia. They lost their home, financial support, friends and their secure family structure in one fell swoop. Both have struggled with the shame they feel over what he did. The older son had to forgive his mother also. You can imagine how it affected her. Unfortunately, she didn't deal with it well and that left the boys rudderless.

The other kids all have a story to tell of God’s goodness in spite of old Murphy. That’s why I go. No matter what. It may be a pain getting there. It may be a pain when I get back. These kids are our future and they are worth it. 

As for Murphy, I find it best to just ignore the old buzzard. He may whine, but he never wins.

The Spark that Sets My Knickers Ablaze or Lights My Way (Melissa Robbins)

Earlier in this year, dry, grassy areas caught fire along the highway in our town, sending my neighbors into a frenzy.  Neighbor helped neighbor.  Firefighters showed up to battle the fires to keep them from spreading and damaging the houses.  Children watched everything in awe. 

We asked the firefighters how the fires got started.  One said he saw sparks shooting off a trailer on the highway.  With the dry conditions and that darn Kansas wind, that’s all it took. 

“Uh, Mel.  The topic is your writing process, although we won’t complain if you start talking about hunky firemen.”  What does this have to do with my writing process?  Take that spark the fireman talked about.  If you’re panster, that spark would set your knickers ablaze and you would take off, writing like a fire frenzy.  I’m picturing Thunk (from The Croods) who thinks the fire is biting him so he runs into the tall grass and sets the entire field on fire. 

Now me, I’m a plotter.  I’ll take that spark, light a torch, and stake it into the ground.  Then I’ll circle it and to make my teachers proud, I’ll ask the Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, and the What Ifs.  Let’s go back to that fire by my house.  What if the firefighter didn’t see that trailer or what if they discovered it was arson?  What if a neighbor wanted to burn down his house for the insurance money or to cover up a murder?  My “spark” could be an incident or a character.  What if one of the homeowners was a single woman who gave a bottle of water to a fireman.  That one act of kindness could melt his cynical heart for whatever reason.  Romance!  Or one of the kids witnessed the heroism and the event reminded him of his dad who, also a fireman, died in the line of duty.  The possibilities are endless. 

I take another torch and, using the fire from the first torch, I light it.  Then, I run ahead or hop into my car and drive all the way down to the end of my story and stake that new torch into the ground.  This is where I want my story to end.  Then, I run or drive back to the first torch.  I can see the last torch.  I know it’s there.  With more torches, I start to light my way to the last torch.  First they are sporadic, spots were certain things must happen.  Some call them turning points.  I use Alexandra Sokoloff’s screenwriting method of plotting and she calls them act climaxes. 

More scenes are written.  More torches light my way.  Sometimes, characters light their own torches and go a different way.  As a writer, I have to decide if that’s good or bad.  Keep that bucket of water handy to douse any unwanted fires. 

Same goes for when I finally reach my last torch.  I may turn around and go yuck, that’s not a very pretty path of torches or my last torch is in the wrong place.  Some get extinguished altogether.  Some get moved around.  New prettier torches may take their places.  Only you know when the path of torches is complete and beautiful. 

Now go find those sparks and light up the world with your stories!  

My Writing Process - A Work in Progress (Penny Rader)

This month our topic is When you sit down to write, do you have a writing “process?”  Share! 
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I haven’t settled on a specific process yet.  While I don’t recommend it, with Sapphire and Gold it went something like this:
  • I'm not one of those people who knew from childhood they wanted to write.  So once I decided to try my hand at writing a romance (because that is what I read), I read lots and lots of ‘how-to’ write books because I didn't have a clue how to get started.
  • While watching an episode of Rawhide, the opening scene intrigued me and inspired the idea for Sapphire and Gold
    • I had to decide who was in the river and why, then how that person would get out of the river and who would help.
  • I read through a couple American history books to narrow down what time period I wanted to set the story in. 
    •  Colonial America had long been a favorite of mine, so I began doing a lot of research.   I discovered visuals helped, so I found pictures that resembled my characters, a poster of a ship with cutaways so I could better imagine my hero’s schooner, maps of Colonial Philadelphia and Williamsburg, cutaways of colonial homes. The secretary of the Newfoundland Society sent me scads of info that helped me create my hero’s dog, Max.
  • Once I decided who my hero and heroine were I tried to figure out their backstory and their GMC (Goal, Motivation and Conflict).  The “C” part was especially difficult for me.  Still is.
    • The climactic scene of the book popped into my head, which gave me something to write toward. 
    • When scene ideas revealed themselves I jotted them down and dropped them in a file folder. 
    • After a while I took those bits of paper and spread them out to see if I could find the story.
  • Worked on Chapter One.  
    • Wrote it out by longhand, and then typed it. 
    •  Then fiddled with it. Over and over and over.   
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  • Wrote Chapter Two. 
    • Yes, still in longhand, then typed it.  Writing in longhand and then typing it continues to this day.
    • Fiddled with the first two chapters.  Over and over and over.  
    • Still researching.
    •  Started to enter writing contests for feedback from people who didn't know me.
  • Wrote Chapter Three. 
    • Tweaked the first three chapters.  Over and over and over.  
    • Still researching.  Found a wonderful professor of Pharmacology who answered tons of medical questions for my heroine who was a healer.  Found another expert who helped me plot possible routes my sea captain hero might sail to get my heroine from Philadelphia to Williamsburg. 
    •  More fiddling and tweaking.  This went on for some time.   You've probably figured out by now that I have a Master’s Degree in Procrastination.
  • Wrote some more, bit by excruciatingly slow bit.  Really rough draft.  Mostly dialogue (which is what usually comes to me first).  
    • Tweaked.  Fiddled.  
    • More contests. 
    •  More research.  A librarian in Colonial Williamsburg provided me with a fantastic list of books about Colonial America as well as Colonial Williamsburg (thank goodness for Inter Library Loan!).
    • Watching the pages of Sapphire and Gold fill up the fat stationery box gave me a secret thrill and helped me keep putting pencil to paper.  
  • Four years passed.  
    • Then one day, a few minutes before I needed to leave to pick up my son from school, I realized I was just about to finish the story.  Freaked.  Me.  Out. 
    •  I wasn't ready for the draft to be done, so I stopped.  Put down my pencil and closed my notebook.  Picked up my son from school.  
    • Waited till the next day to write The End.
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  • Still trying to nail down a powerful conflict, a stronger heroine.  Gutted and rewrote the story at least four times.  
    • The opening never changed much and the climactic scene stayed the same. 
    •  But the muddly middle?  It changed.  A lot.  Characters came, characters went.  Ditto subplots. 
    •  I managed to edit the life right of the story and dove back in to undo the damage.
During this time I was still entering contests, sending the manuscript to agents and editors, getting rejected...though many of the rejection letters were encouraging.   The Colonial America setting had become a hard sell.

I set the manuscript aside for quite a while till my WARA writing friend and critique partner Starla Criser told me The Wild Rose Press was looking for books set in Colonial America.   She had printed out their submission info and put it in my hands.  Within a month I’d sold the book to them.  I received “the email” on April Fool’s Day.  Yes, I thought it was a joke.  Turns out they really did want to buy it!

By this time my reading interests had changed to contemporary romance and romantic suspense, so the other stories I've begun are all contemporary.   Here’s where my writing process has fizzled.  Big time.  I have openings for at least 17 stories.  Some are 3-5 pages.  One has 80 or so pages.  But I've stalled out on all of them.  Unlike my first book (and A Colonial Valentine, a short free read prequel I wrote for The Wild Rose Press), I've never had a clear idea of how any of these other stories are going to end, of what I’m writing toward.

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Confession time:  I like “having it written” more than the actual writing. Researching and revising and editing are my favorite parts of writing. Getting words on a blank page is a mighty struggle for me.  Well, that and plot and conflict.

I've allowed fear to stop me in my tracks.  Meanwhile, I scour the Internet and how-to write books for other writers’ writing processes, hoping something will click and help me to once again get words on paper.  To get beyond the first 3-5 pages. To defeat the fear.  To finish another book.  And then another.


What’s your process?  Has it evolved from story to story or has it pretty much stayed the same?

Writing Process? Hmmm.

Yes, I have a writing process. I guess all writers do. I spent a lot of my second year trying to find one. The first year, I just merely wrote the darn thing. Then I joined a group and found 'real' writers and tried to understand the process. Of course I might have had a bit of impetus for searching when two people I care about had this to say:
      I"ve burned better.--mother-in-law
      Get a storyboard and try again.--best friend who is an English Major/Educator and reads mysteries.

That sort of thing rocks your confidence a bit that perhaps what you've created out of nothing is a bit off. However, I also was very intrigued to have a hidden place in my mind that could write stories and be bombarded with more so fast I couldn't write them down. Never happened to me before. Didn't ever like writing anything, but was always a voracious reader. The sensation was like finding the plug in the bottom of the ocean and giving it a jerk, darn thing opened and I was caught in the swirly as it dumped into a different dimension.

So the initial writing process went like this:
1.    Had an idea about a story when I was about fifteen.  I thought it should be written by a real writer if ever I met one. I had devoured the entire science fiction wall of the local library, started on other fiction, and then came romance stories. The idea I had was that the world was suffering from over human population and too much sentiment on saving those who were never going to make it. Remember, I come from a farm background that includes several species of animals as well as wild. Some members of the herd don’t make it. And inbreeding is a severe problem that stunts and warps animals due to recessive genes. So, none of that either. And then Hybrid vigor, a proven law of genetics that two straight lines crossed to a hybrid child means a stronger, healthier, bigger, amazing animal—which includes people too as we are mammals. Look how much taller and robust each succeeding generation of American’s are compared to those a few generations back. Ok, nutrition and other resources are important too. Therefore my story idea. Prove your worth to have children by a trek of a thousand miles on foot through the proving zone. Don’t go through, you can’t have children, but you can do whatever you wish with your life. But all Zone stories must have happy endings and, of course, in my teenage mind strong love would see both characters through to the Got There Tavern in Randar, a town where the last step was located. In that story, only the woman made it….
Then I read a story by Jayne Ann Krentz whose lead character was a writer and she wrote that people will approach writers with stories to write, but writers have too many already. I was sorely disappointed to read that and complained to my lovely husband. He looked at me like I was an idiot (this happens quite often with reciprocal looks upon occasion). He said, “If you’d have written a chapter a YEAR you’d know how the story ends by now.” Dang, he was right, so I started. That night. Big problem. Couldn’t write it. But, I did write the story of her sister who was inspired by the story. The first isn’t written yet, but I know how it ends.
2.    Next step was: Sit in chair and write down what characters are doing. Write until I couldn't see what happened next or until characters were written into a corner.
3.    Sit in chair, read last few pages of yesterday’s work, and write what characters did to get out of their situation until they were written into a corner again.
4.    Repeat step 2.
5.    After story completely written, show it to some folks for comment.
6.    Show to someone who had some editorial instincts and let them loose on it.
7.    Fix egregious errors, but left mostly intact.
8.    Take new editor to lunch. She works for food.
9.    Try to buy marketing books from lovely bookstore clerk who knows everything-Penny.
10.Penny asked me if I’d written a book and what kind and let me know WARA existed.
11.Joined WARA and writing life has never been better.

Current writing process is a bit less straight forward, because I keep trying to write like the big girls do and some of the classic writing advise is very counter to me, my writing ability, and my work/story style. However, with WARA, I’m never alone, I get encouragement, and I get real life help. Never underestimate a romance writers group for sheer wonderfulness, WARA in particular.

Our farming operations have almost doubled in the fourteen years I’ve been writing. My duties there with more and more government involvement in actual farming, employee regulations, EPA regulations on fuel, fertilizer, other chemicals and their application as well as some regulation changes on Grain elevators, grain handling companies and seed cleaning, we’re a little challenged. Someone has to man the phones, seek information, and keep us out of jail or bankruptcy or IRS audits.

Then there is family things and idiocy of my own which has me on crutches. Turns out doing three things at once including arms full of sacks, one sandal on one off, heading for the bathroom at a fast clip, with a throw rug obstacle is a recipe for personal damage. Who knew?

So, on to current process.
1.    Guilt for not writing on novel.
2.    Double that on most days.
3.    Read RWA magazine while waiting in vehicle at whatever location for the other person.
4.    Finding all the copies of the last WIP out of the old computer files and finding out I’d been editing at least four copies. God Bless Windows 7.
5.    Learn new software to be able to combine the copies into the most recent edit.
6.    Now working on only one copy.
7.    Read WIP as kindle to check flow.
8.    Taking care of rough spots where flow isn’t flowing.
9.    Admiring genius of myself.
10.Up to page twenty in final edit.
11.Finally found the right word combination in one really awkward sentence.
12.Found Romance Beat Sheet from WARA connection.
13.Checked the romance on WIP and had happy dance party.
14.Keep editing to smooth out the story and then send it to friend who edits for food. Should be el finite by then.

I do have other idea and other works in process but only beginnings and I seem to be able to only do one at a time. I think that is something I need to get away from. I’ll work on it.

As far as a story grabbing me, it generally works like this.
A.   I’m driving, taking a shower, or whatever mindless task is happening.
B.   An idea about something funny or a what if pops into my head.
C.   Sometimes it won’t let me think of anything else and with every thought the story grows until I have to write it down a bit to let it release me so I can sleep, or whatever.
D.   Then the videos play in my head like movie parts.
E.    Then I see how parts of the story unfold as the characters meet others or other circumstances happen to them.
F.    Examples: The Children of Easy Virtue Texas. Yup, that’s the title. It wouldn’t let me go for two weeks. Just until I’d written enough to get the idea of how it would play out. The whore house is taller than the church which causes some problems. The prostitutes have a retirement plan and raise their children themselves for awhile and then are sent back east for schooling, the problem is all of the unwanted kids that start getting dumped on their doorstep….but it’s a western for God’s sake. I’m not doing westerns—yet. Then a character who is very particular and made it up a social rung or two only to find herself lonely and wanting a construction worker or someone like that in her life—contemporary. Or a story about a poor divorced romance writer who is reusing tea bags and her landlord who isn’t sure she’s not a hooker for teenage boys or just bug-nuts—contemporary. Or a woman who has been kidnapped by a mob family because their current leader is a man taking the family legit and isn’t finding a wife, so they’re going to get him one. She worked at the Vatican for several years on their ancient clocks—contemporary. A guy who finds out he has some strange genes that cause him to go in heat like lions do and find a woman who he mates with for life, but he doesn’t know until she’s already left town—contemporary science fiction. Over 21 story lines that include the Proving Zone. Like the guy who was kidnapped and dumped there and left to die—but he doesn’t and the woman who eventually finds him.
Most of the stories have some kind of irony that tickles my funny bone and that’s what draws me to thinking of them and how they’ll play out. But sometimes the characters bend and twist the story to suit themselves and they come out much deeper and richer—and sometimes scarier.

My other work in progress is The Ship’s Bastard and they’re afloat at the moment and fighting about which way the ship ought to be going. I’ve written them in a corner. My daughter says light the ship on fire and see what happens. We’ll see.

I want to stress that part of my process has been trying to get more dialogue in. Because that put some of the characters out of character by the time I had the book half written, I had to go back and change it. Because I listen to others on what has to be in and where, I have had to do a lot of re-writing and then re-re-writing because my writing was losing my unique voice. Too much re-writing can cause a story to go flat and voiceless. Beware of trying to do what ‘everyone’ thinks is important. Each of us is unique and have a different twist or outlook on any given situation. THAT is the part of your talent to nurture and keep. Don’t worry overmuch about what your theme is for your writing. Sure, it will make more money quicker in the long run of a career, but if you go and look at early work of many famous writers, they had to get some writing out of their system before their writerly brains found their own personal serious theme to their books. Yes, I’m supposed to keep to one genre. Yup. Like that worked. In my Zone stories I have Tarzan like survival issues, romance, some science fiction, definitely futuristic, and for goodness sake, let’s not forget family issues.

By the way, the first story did not get a lot of changes before going to the public. The public has been quite enthusiastic about the Zone story. So not all stories are for all people. Remember that and stay happier.

Some of WARA have helped me through writerly nerves and that has been phenomenal! If you have crisis of writerly identity, there’s no better place to be.


PS. To write you have to write. Just do it.

My Writing Process J Vincent

This month’s topic is “When you sit down to write, do you have a writing “process?”  Share!”

Writing process?  Hmmmm.  Process indicates a set of steps in my mind.  What steps do I follow when I write? And is this from beginning to end or just while actually writing the book?

If beginning to end, it’s basic steps:

  • ·        Come up with your story idea.
  • ·        Do the necessary research for setting, periods etc.
  • ·        Plot
  • ·        Write a first draft.
  • ·        Edit
  • ·        Edit again
  • ·        Polish
  • ·        Put it out there.

       But let’s presume the research etcetera has been completed and I have a chapter under my keyboard, so to speak.  The next day I sit down before my computer and I play one game each of Spider Solitaire, Free Cell, and Solitaire.  This “warms” up the mind and is my token “carrot.”  I can’t play more until after I finish writing for the day. That taken care of I’ll open the file containing what I wrote the day before.  It could be a scene or a chapter.  Regardless, I read through it, editing as I do so.  Then I look over any notes I’ve made about what is before or after that might be relevant. I may check my fact sheets on location, buildings, people, and incidents depending on what’s in the upcoming scene.

When that is all finished I start the next scene/chapter.

Simple but complex.  I’ve left out the happy dancing when the story is flowing very well and the banging my head against the keyboard times when it seems a dam has been built in my mind to stop the flow of the story. You never know when they’ll sneak in but they are part of the process. My writing days are variations on the above.  Life always has a way of impeding, provoking, hindering, and miraculously, sometimes helping.

What about you’re writing process?  I love to learn new ways to do things so, yes, share!

To Plot or to Pant, that is the question

Patricia Davids here, wishing you a very happy 4th of July holiday.

Dear Plotters.

I am one of your ranks. I plot before I write. I plot while I write and sometimes I continue plotting after the book is done and I must go back and fix the weak plot.

Dear Panters.

I an one of your ranks. I write by the seat of my pants all the way through a book.

What's that you say? I can't have it both ways?

I'll tell you what General Anthony Clement McAuliffe told the Germans when they asked for his surrender at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. And I quote. "Nuts."

Nuts. I can have it both ways and I do. My plotted synopsis of a 60,000 word book is normally around 3000 words. That's the plot in a nut shell. What he wants, what she wants, why they can't have it, how they work together, how they start to fall in love, how his friends and her friends aid them or mess things up for them, how they find the courage to change and say, "I love you." That is the plot.

You know what that leaves? 57,000 words I have to come up with by the seat of my pants. No plot, no matter how good, makes a book. It can make or break a good story, but it's only the bones.

I adore Thor, but I'm sure his skeleton wouldn't do it for me. It's the muscles, the blond hair, that wicked smile, those eyes, and did I say those muscles? It's what is covering his bones that make him so awesome. Creating wonderful characters is done by the seat of my pants.

To plot is good, to create is divine.
Happy Independence Day.