Publication Date: June 21, 2016
your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or
do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you
plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc?
dramatically since I started writing four years ago. I am without a doubt a
planner and a plotter, but I don’t believe in restricting myself too rigidly. I’ve
tried everything you can think of; index cards, pre-made outline forms,
questionnaires. I experimented a lot on my first book series to see what worked
for me. I know by now the story in my first draft or my initial notes may be
vastly different than what ends up in the final pages. And I’m good with that.
a concept, usually a female facing a crossroads in her life. I like to write my
ideas out by hand, finding it’s the best way for me to get as many ideas on
paper without editing. Even a good concept isn’t enough for a great story, so I
do the “What If” game. I list every possible scenario my characters could
experience, even if it lead to a different outcome than I plan to achieve. This
is when I hold nothing back and come up with the extreme. Sometimes ideas come
that seem ridiculous, implausible, or even fit under a different genre. But I
write them all down. Usually, the longer the list, the better the idea. Then I think
about what I want the book to accomplish or how I want it to end and begin to
work out a timeline.
plan. Sometimes it takes the form of a calendar if the novel happens in a
compressed amount of time. Other times I use a plot point timeline to map out
the major moments of my story. Once I have that map, I begin. I write my first
draft like it’s a NaNoWriMo challenge. Every day I write. It’s hard for me to
stay in a story if I only write on weekends, especially when I’m working full
time at my day job. So I don’t let myself break from the book for more than a
day until the first draft is out. Some days I write for an hour, others more.
ideas for your stories?
about stories. Some ideas come from talking with friends, or moments I
experience in my own life, while others come from reading headlines in the news
or a concept that I want to explore. Books help too. So many of my recent ideas
came while I was listening to audio books. I’m not sure why it happens more
with audio books than when I read, but it’s been an outlet for me. I write
ideas down all the time, excited to come back later to pluck one out for the next
years, but I have written short stories and scripts sporadically since I was
ten. I never thought about it as a full-time career until a few years ago when
I realized how addicted I am to it.
feel pressured to get a novel done and out with the rapid rate that books are
published these days, but when you’re starting out it’s vital to take the time
to edit and re-edit to make the book the best it can be.
is to write. A lot. Skipping the process of making mistakes and honing your
voice is a disservice to your craft. The more you write, the easier it is to see
those crutch words or passive voice sentences that tend to bleed onto the page
in the early career of a writer. It’s not enough to sell books, you want to put
out a story you’re proud of.
but in the last ten years the volume of books released through self-publishing
and larger publishing houses has increased considerably. That’s made it harder
for readers to find their next book and pickier about what they want. It’s more
important than ever to make a story that they haven’t seen before.
may or may not include a great romantic element. I love Michael Robotham, Anne
Stuart, Kendra Elliot, Gillian Flynn, Allen Eskens, and even Nora Roberts. Depends
on my mood whether I grab a psychological or political story vs a procedural or
series. Lately I’ve been hooked on the Robotham’s Joseph O’Loughlin series.
Night Of from HBO. This is the best time in TV history as far as I’m
concerned. There are more original stories on the small screen than the big
one. It feels like every bestseller is optioned into a movie but rarely so we
get those original gems in cinema anymore like Michael Clayton.
to Kings of Leon to Island Reggae. When I’m writing I build a playlist before
my first draft because music is a huge part of my process. Currently I listen
to film scores to keep my pace and wording in suspense mode.
sparkling waters and Ice tea. It keeps me alert and forces me to get up and
take breaks when I have to pee. Ha! I try not to snack much or else I’ll end up
eating all day. Since writing is so sedentary, I try to also go for a walk
during the day with my dogs at least once.
made some amazing friends over the years that have been a great source of
inspiration over the years. I use Twitter to share and find inspiration and
whereas Instagram is more of an account of funny or interesting things I
experience. All in all, I still find it an effort to use social media in
balance with my career since it’s easy to overdo all of it.