I’d like to thank Peter D. Mallet for inviting me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Hop.
The Blog Hop Questions:
What am I currently working on?
I’m self-publishing my debut novel, The Fire-Pit, and my primary focus is on finishing it as quickly as I can. I edit every day; it’s a lot more work than I expected. Last week I sent off the first five chapters to my copy editor and did a happy dance with our sweet little dog, Molly. She’s a much better dancer than I am. 😉
As I have time, I’m working my way through two important side projects: working with my cover designer to finish the book covers, and learning how to properly format the print and e-book files.
In addition to getting back into the swing of blogging, after my summer hiatus, I’m also writing a new Christmas short story. Keep an eye out for it next month.
How does my work differ from other genres?
According to Amazon, the romance genre has twenty-two sub-genres. Perhaps it would be easier to tell you which sections my stories fit into. The Fire-Pit is a contemporary romance with suspenseful twists, humorous escapades, and bits of history woven throughout it. My goal is to create a world you can lose yourself in, and characters you care so much about that you cheer and cry for them.
Why do I write what I do?
I love to read romance, mystery, action & adventure, thriller & suspense, and historical novels. Love is such an important part of a happy life that I’m compelled to write about it. And since a part of my heart believes there really is someone special for each of us; I’ve chosen to write romances.
And last but not least — how does my writing process work?
Thankfully, this is NOT how I write.
Three years ago I wrote the very first version of my book. I created characters. I spent time getting to know them; their dreams, goals, fears, pet peeves, hobbies, how old they are, how they grew up, and how their lives are now. At the end of it all, I felt like I had a whole new group of friends. Except for asking each character even more questions, there isn’t anything about this part of my writing process I would change.
I had no idea what I was doing when I sat down to write the book the first time. I just began typing and went by the seat of my pants. Full blown boredom had set in by the time the characters and I got to chapter eight. Before the characters launched a full-fledged mutiny I desperately started outlining; searching for ways to add excitement. That helped a lot, and along with plenty of milk and pecan rolls to bribe my characters with, they came back to work and we made it through an entire version of the book. We were pretty happy with it.
Now, two versions past that, The Fire-Pit has developed into a fun romantic romp, with twists of intrigue and a mystery to keep the characters on their toes. The emotional arcs of the characters are honest and captivating. Beta readers have complained they stayed up late reading it and said it was a book they’d read again.
I’ve learned to really appreciate outlining and fully planning character arcs and the overall story arc before I start. It surprised me to discover that I’m a planner. I have nothing against all the pansters out there; it just doesn’t work for me.
I’m developing my planning skills with short stories. I find the most efficient way to put a story together is to start by storyboarding. I pin index cards to a board on my wall. Each card has a key idea to the story. It’s easy to change the order of them and I don’t feel bad when some of the ideas don’t make it into the story. Once I have that basic outline done, I study it. Next, I fill the plot holes, catch the plot bunnies that are off munching on carrots, tweak my outline (more index cards) and then reevaluate it. Once I’m happy with my rough outline I begin more detailed outlines. When I’m ready to write I use Scrivener. I enter each index card from my storyboard and end up with a highly moveable, editable, electronic storyboard. I fiddle with the outline a little more, then finally begin the rough draft. I could do all that in Scrivener, but at the beginning I like a hands on method better.
I write six or seven days a week. I belong to a critique group and use a handful of beta readers to get feedback on my stories; my book is so much better because of them. I have someone helping me with book covers, and a line editor to make sure my book is as error-free as possible. I blog and have connected with other bloggers, whom I’ve learned from. A few have become friends. Blogging has also allowed me to get past the fear and nervousness caused by sharing my writing with the world.
The last part of my writing process is really a list of things that make me happy. It’s easier to write when you’re happy.
Writing Necessities in No Particular Order
- Chocolate – vital for editing.
- Music – I use Spotify and listen to songs that evoke the emotions of the scenes I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll listen to the same song all day.
- Office supplies – composition books, pens, highlighters, index cards, printer paper, and a printer.
- Puppy kisses and tummy rubs
Meet the Bloggers I Invited to Participate
Annie Daylon was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada. She studied music at Mount Allison University and education at both the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia. (M. Ed.) After thirty years teaching, she delved into her passion for writing.
Annie’s current novel, Castles in the Sand, a suspense-filled tale of love, loss, and redemption, is available in e-book and paperback at Amazon and is the mainstream genre winner of the 2012 Houston Writers Guild novel contest. Recently, Castles in the Sand, became the recipient of the B.R.A.G. Medallion.
Castles in the Sand blurb:
Thirty-eight year old Justin Wentworth loses everything when his entitled lifestyle slams into a collapsing economy. Alcoholic, homeless, and living on Vancouver streets, he has one desire: to regain the love and trust of his wife, Sara, and his little boy, Bobby. Help arrives when twenty-something, Steve Jameson, a graduate student researching the homeless, rescues the mugged Justin from a Dumpster and offers food and shelter in return for Justin’s story. As Justin divulges the tragic details of his life’s downward spiral, he develops trust for his Good Samaritan. However, he soon discovers that all is not what it seems with Steve. Can Justin persist on his path back to his family, or are darker forces at work against him?
Annie is now in the editing stages of her third novel, Book I of a trilogy titled Of Sea and Seed. This historical suspense saga is set in early twentieth century Newfoundland and its characters tackle poverty, rum-running, earthquake, tidal wave, and world war.
In addition to novels, Annie writes short stories, many of which have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States.
Annie lives in the British Columbia Fraser Valley, with her husband, David, and their dog, CoCo.
When Michelle and Annie publish their Writing Process Blog Hop posts, I’ll link to them so you can see how they work. I don’t know about you, but I like seeing how different people approach the same task. I never know where I’ll find a new idea that will make my writing better.
Props and Thoughts
Here’s your chance to share. If you’re a writer and participated in the Writing Process Blog Hop feel free to share the link to your post in the comments. Please use the hashtag #writingprocessbloghop.
I know there are many voracious readers out there. Do you like learning about your favorite authors? Please share in the comments what the most interesting, fun, or crazy things are that you’ve discovered about those authors.