Monday, March 30, 2009

The Writing Process

During an interview I had a while back I was asked what my writing process was like. Of course I couldn't put LOL as my response, but that's exactly what I did...I laughed out loud. Then I explained that I don't have a writing process. For Azazel, the story hit me like a brick thrown from a cannon. WHAM! I knew the story, I knew the characters, and I wrote it. For Asmodeus I wrote a chapter a day and stumbled my way through the first draft. It wasn't until my second round of edits that it resembled an actual story. Heaven Sent was much like Asmodeus, and Samael...don't get me started. It only took me a month to write the first draft...and then two months to revise it.

With Naberius I plan on doing a little research first. I decided to go the 'worksheet' route. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, I have a worksheet for character development, scene descriptions, GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), a conflict grid (can't have too much conflict), a relationship toolbox (that just helps you figure out why the two main characters should fall in love), and my Fast Draft and Revision Hell worksheets. Yes, I'm still trying to find my process, but I'm afraid I've already found it - every book is different. I've heard other authors talk about their process. Through the grapevine I've heard that Nora (who doesn't need a last name) writes only dialogue in her first draft, which she so sweetly calls her POS (piece of shit, for you innocents out there). It (supposedly) takes her three drafts and then she has a completed novel. I wish. Sometimes I only need two drafts, maybe three. Other times...I actually lose count.

But even if I do come up with my own handy-dandy process, would it be a perfect fit for another writer? Probably not. If I thought there was a perfect writing process out there, I'd try out Nora's, since she is the most prolific romance author to date. But writing only dialogue for the first draft wouldn't suit me. I all ready know this, so why waste my time? There is no magic pill...quite I'll just muddle along until I find my own brand of genius when it comes to the writing process.

What I can do is give you some links to these wonderful worksheets. If you're a writer, hopefully they will help you nail the conflict in your book and flesh out your characters. If you're a reader these links will BORE YOU TO TEARS. Just a little friendly warning. :)

Character Development Worksheet

Conflict Grid (I use this ALWAYS)

Relationship Toolbox (Thank you Nikki :o)

Okay, so these three links should get you started. You can always type what you need into Google (character profile worksheet) and find whatever fits your needs. Happy writing!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring is ALMOST here.

They say that Spring has already arrived. Hmmm, I live in Michigan and I'm going to have to disagree. Floridians might be basking in the warming temps, but not us. But I heard something just beyond my bedroom door today that I hadn't heard in months. The sounds of birds chirping. Now that is a definite sign of Spring.

During the winter I seem to lose 40% of my energy, but when I heard those birds I felt...better. Like my hibernation was almost at its end. :o)

Lately, when I talk to friends and family, I notice we've all had enough of winter. While I was in line at the grocery store yesterday, the cashier told the woman behind me that we were going to get snow this Sunday. The poor'd thought her family pet had just died. Her face fell and she stopped talking altogether. Ask anyone up north, and they'll tell you that this has been one hell of a long winter. Gloomy, gray days and icy, cold nights. I've definitely had enough. So when I heard the birds this morning I felt like relief was on the way. Energy seemed to consume me and I rolled out of bed with a smile on my face. (That never happens.) I'm the type of person who shuffles to the coffee pot, eyes at half-mast, and grumbles until I've had my cup of joe. Today I went straight to my office and started my blog (So if nothing makes sense, now you know why).

I have only two days left with my revisions on Samael. Suddenly the edits don't seem so daunting. :o)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It Takes A Village

When I was younger I read two to three romance novels a week. Before I started to read a romance novel I would check out the dedication page. I was always surprised at how many people an author would thank. Sure, you had the occasional one-liner - this is for my mom - but I didn't see that very often. Instead the author thanked their editor, their friends, their cover artist, their baby daddy. Good Lord. Well, now that I'm on the flip side, I understand.

After I produce what I think is a very clean, brilliant manuscript, I'm surprised at what I don't catch. Simple mistakes that would scream at me from another author's book, but passes me by in my own. I think one of my favorite mistakes - and it will always remain so - is when I had my heroine jump onto an esophagus. read that right. An esophagus. editor says. Don't you mean sarcophagus? (Yeah, they were in a cemetery, and no, the heroine didn't jump on the hero's throat.) There's also times a plot issue will arise, and how I miss things like that is beyond me. It's so evident to others, but after engrossing myself in the story for so long I tend to miss these nagging little problems until someone else points them out.

I send my books to my friends for a 'fresh pair of eyes.' I send my books to my mom, who always finds a few problems here and there. Then my book goes to my editor, and we make a few passes over it. Then it goes to a line editor, who also has a fresh eye to catch things. The cover artist gives me a great cover, so she has a hand in the process as well. You never want to forget to thank a person who has had a hand in producing the book. Yes, there's always the dedication that focuses on one person who has stood out from the rest - but I always thank my editor, because she alone really digs in and makes the book shine.

Editing can be a daunting process, and it differs from book to book. I've had some easy edits, and some WTF-were-you-thinking-when-you-wrote-this edits. But when the edits are finished, the result is better than...okay, maybe not, but you get my point. Some authors love the editing process and others not so much. My favorite part of the process is starting a book, wondering where it will take me while I get to know my characters. The editing process can seem like...I don't lol You have to be on your game while editing so you don't miss anything - which you inevitably do. That's why we have editors.

Suffice to say I'm nearly finished with my edits on Heaven Sent. The editing process is humbling, exciting, and at times, tiring. But when you have the finished product in your hand it's exhilarating...and it propels you into your next book.

Heaven Sent will be released sometime this summer. When I get the cover and release date I'll spread the me. that's a whole other blog entry.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Edits, Revisions and a new WIP

I really should learn to complete one task before I move on to another. I received my edits for Heaven Sent, which will be releasing from Liquid Silver Books sometime this summer. I'm also doing revisions on Samael, a follow-up story to Azazel. This is Jade's story, and I have a few kinks to work out.

My new WIP is Naberius, and I've put it to the side while I finish up my edits on the other two manuscripts. Naberius is about a fallen angel who is determined to save his daughter from becoming a Nephilim at the onset of puberty. He'll do anything to keep her from turning, even face the fires of the Abyss. The heroine, Adira, has never had to think about anyone but herself. She knows what she wants out of life, and she'll stop at nothing to attain it. She's an assassin with the Alliance - a group of elite vampires who keep their kind in check. She is assigned to determine what Naberius is doing in secret. Vampires have sent in complaints about a demon who has been attacking vampires in the Los Angeles area, but not killing them. Strange activities have been reported, and somehow it's all connected with Naberius. When she learns the truth behind the attacks she must decide between keeping everything she has ever worked for, or accepting everything she's ever dreamed about.

Other than that I've been enjoying the warm temps the last few days. :) I can't wait for spring to arrive. It's been a looonnnggg winter.