I have a weird writing process. In the 'biz, there are two types of writers. "Pantsers" who write by the "seat of their pants" and "Plotters" who make extensive outlines and character sketches. While I think about my characters a great deal, I don't ever write an extensive outline and although I like to discovery write, I can't be completely open ended or I'd go crazy. Hence, the hybrid term: plantser. I like the term because it sounds like I might be plantsing through the pansies or something.
Anyway, usually I start with an idea, a premise, a character or even a title. And I plant it like a seed in fertile imagination watered with fiction and non-fiction alike. And I start my first draft. I call this a discovery draft and on bad days a crap draft.
I write about 20,000 words, exploring the world, and characters. Then I show it to my husband to see if my idea shows promise. Thumbs up, I continue. Thumbs down, I can it. For now.
After my surely brilliant work of 20,000 I ask myself, what am I trying to say? What is the book about? Now I start to think. Writing looks a lot like staring out the window. But I also think about my book, my plot and my characters when I'm not doing anything that requires great mental energy: in the shower, while driving on errands, while punching a weighted bag (I wrote a lot of Baker's Dozen in my head while hitting the bag and listening to U2 in the basement of our house in St. Louis.) Exercise for me is a great time to "hear" my characters. My body is busy, but my mind can wander.
Most often I write dialogue first. I think it's my years of theater training, or perhaps because until sixth grade I hated wearing my glasses and depended largely on my auditory senses to gather information about my world. (I was as blind as a naked mole.) Whatever the reason, I write a scene in dialogue first, then go back and fill it in with setting and description. Details bring a story to life. The right details at least.
People ask me where I get my ideas. Well, they come from all over. I wanted Andy Baker to be a marital artist. I took Tae Kwon Do for a semester in college and loved it. All those hits on the bag in my basement was Andy's character getting stronger. When I wrapped my hands, the make-out scene in the workout room was born.
Hugh/Christiaan was born from an Imagine Dragons song. I had the idea of him, but I heard "Demons" and I was like, that's his essence. He's afraid of letting Andy inside because of what's there. Also "Monster." He's afraid of what he'll become and Andy, although she's tough, keeps him from going off the edge.
Publishing a book is scary. It's letting the reader (you) into my dreams. I'm giving you a part of my heart, my hopes, my fears. Writers face all sorts of rejection before we get published. It's encouraging to hear people enjoy my book, because it means we share the same dreams. If you like action, adventure, romance and comedy then you'll enjoy my books.
What else would you like to know about writing? Would you like to know the nuts and bolts of getting a manuscript published?
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