My Writing Process
Firstly, a big thank you to the lovely and talented Amy Bird who was kind enough to invite me to participate in a My Writing Process Blog Tour which takes part on writers’ blogs every Monday and gives readers a chance to find out how writers come up with their ideas.
Amy gave us a fascinating peek into her process as a crime writer and today it’s my turn.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
Um. Now that IS a good question.
Most of the time my romance story ideas come from a situation I have experienced or read about or seen in a movie and then my mind plays around with characters and their backstories and plays the ‘What-If’ game until I have an idea which could work.
As an example. In my February Harlequin Kiss book, Trouble on her Doorstep, the idea came from popping into a small tea room and cake shop when I was in north London one day. It was small and charming and packed full of a wide range of customers. And there was a huge range of tea which I adore and delicious home made cakes and scones.
So I played the ‘What-if’ game.
What if the heroine of this book was a tea importer who has opened a tea room and cake shop with her best friend who is the star baker? What kind of person would she be? What does she want in life? Besides the tea.
Then we have the most indulgent treat – coming up with the hero who is worthy of her and give him a character arc which his relationship with my lovely tea fanatic will instigate.
The follow up book – The Secret Ingredient – is all about her baker in the tea shop.
Did I mention that I love food and drink?
What happens next when I have the bones of an idea?
I am a scientist and academic by trade and a shameless Geek Extraordinaire. Swot and proud.
So it will come as no surprise to you that I like to use tables and checklists and question sheets to plan my story.
Who are these people? Why are they at the end of their tether when the story starts? How have they come to this place in their lives and what baggage are they carrying because of that?
When I submit my proposal to my editor I know the characters and their situation pretty well and what kind of rocks I am going to throw at my hero and heroine to stop them from being together before they can earn their happy ever after.
I have to know how I want the hero and heroine to change over the course of this story as a result of their relationship so that the emotional story structure makes sense and tracks through in a consistent way.
Some of my heroines have more baggage than Victoria Beckham on a trip to Vegas but by the end it will work out.
I made the mistake of showing one of my proposals to an author friend once. She ran away in terror. That is why every author is unique and has their own process.
I think of these outlines and character arc charts as being equivalent to an architect’s plan. They set the foundations and floor plan for the story world and lays out where the walls are going to be. Four walls and a roof.
But every home owner knows that the real fun comes when you get inside and start the real work on making that basic shell of a building into a home.
And the characters DO surprise me and come up with emotional conflicts which move the storyline away from my original plan.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I write contemporary romance with a quirky, witty twist which is heavy on dialogue and banter and light on the sex scenes.
What I’m Working On at the Moment
Right now I am working on something seriously so new and exciting and different that it is scary.
Non-Fiction Guides for Writers.
When I self-published my first romantic suspense, Deadly Secrets, I spent a lot of time finding out about the whole process of self-publishing so I could decide whether it was best for me. Weeks of reading and research morphed into 30,000 w0rds and an eBook was born and Head or Heart was released on the 5th May this year.
This is going to be followed up by an online course and an eBook on how to launch your work – so be sure to follow this blog for updates.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
Because I want to write the kind of books I liked to read.
I want to be entertained and amused and have a positive empowering emotional experience through the pages of a book, or learn new information which will help me to build my career.
Writing fiction is a privilege and we are all part of a tough economic situation where discretionary spending is tight. Plus, there are so many multimedia ways that we can be entertained these days that choosing to read for pleasure can be a low priority.
If a reader invests her hard earned money for one of my books in any format, fiction or non-fiction, then I want that reader to put down the book/e-Book reader with a smile on her face.
Thank you for sharing my writing process! I hope that you found it interesting.
[I hope you will allow me NOT to tag other authors since I know that we are all working hard!]