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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Writing Process Blog Tour

What? An actual post on ... something other than book reviews? From me? Yes, in fact. Thanks to the lovely Charlie Holmberg, author of THE PAPER MAGICIAN, coming soon from 47North, who tagged me and ran off somewhere...

(I do have to tell you how me and Charlie *met* [and when I say met, I mean how we came across each other on line since I have yet to meet her in person]. I was part of a getting to know you blog tour, can't even remember where it started, and Charlie commented on my post about my then current project, THE GAME PLAN, and being at BYU during the Jimmer Fredette craze. I followed her on Twitter immediately. CLICK.)

1. What am I working on?

You know how when you are submitting your stuff they tell you to write and get on with life while you wait? That's what I'm working on. Waiting. Oh, yeah, and that writing stuff too. Actually, I'm editing the companion novel to THE GAME PLAN, which is the story of one of THE GAME PLAN character's best friends. Everyone who has read this book for me loved David and insisted that he needed his own story. I agreed. I wrote the first draft a few months ago and let it sit (at a disgustingly short 43k words). Now I'm back to combing through it, adding conflict, rounding out the characters and such.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've been told by a few people, including an editor, that THE GAME PLAN is unlike any other romance they've heard of. I'm actually not totally sure why. I think it's funny, but there are other funny romances. The characters are a bit younger than most LDS romances like it--it almost borders on an NA. Ty, the (female) main character of THE GAME PLAN, is different from most heroines I've read in romances. She goes in with a goal of winning Anthony's heart and she's forward and goes after the guy she wants instead of initiating contact and letting him come after her.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I've written lots of YA and fantasy before and found myself almost always focusing on the magic of the love story. So when I first got the idea for THE GAME PLAN (my first, straight-up romance), I went with it. At first it was hard for me to fill in the story with only the romance, but I kept learning and talked to who I thought was the best at it, and I'm getting a lot better. I still love to write YA fantasy, and I have a special place in my heart for a YA magical realism novel I'm working on, but it seems as though Romance might end up my primary genre.

4. How does your writing process work?

I get random ideas from everything. Songs on the radio. (Oh, oh, there's a story in that!) History. What I make up about the people I see around town and in stores. I write down my basic ideas in a "notebook" on my iPad and let them settle. Especially if I'm already working on something. Then, when I'm ready, I take that idea out, dust it off and do a basic outline. I used to be a pantser, but I always ended up with so many issues with pacing and not finishing, that I started outlining, like Charlie, with the Save the Cat method. I don't do post-its though, I use a note-taking program on my iPad. (I like to have it with me wherever in case I can sit down and write.) Once I have that basic map, I start writing. Because I don't go into minute details while I outline, I usually end up with a first draft in the 30-50k range. I let that sit for a few months before going back to fill in details--usually I work on adding more conflict and subplots. (My first drafts are usually just the basic plotline, everything revolving around the original idea.) This is the point where I use post its. I write down every scene on a post it, color coded to the POV (usually pink for female POV and blue for the male). I use little post-its to add in scenes I know I need to put in, then as I edit, I'll use them to add the scenes I've just put in. It allows me to see the story as a whole and know where the best spots for additional scenes, conflict, character development, etc. is. 
Then I do another read through for basic consistency before I send it to alpha readers. Again, it sits while that happens and I work on other projects--either new drafts or editing others. When I get it back, I'll edit in depth again and send it to beta readers. When I can, I like to send my "just before the final" draft to my critique partner Kaylee. She's really great at helping me fine tune it. (She's also really great at finding the problems, so sometimes I have to send her earlier drafts.) Once I've gone through all my readers I do a very detailed edit: searching for words I overuse, cleaning up the prose, etc. I read it aloud to find awkward sentences and mistakes I missed. Then I get ready to submit to ... wherever I'm going to submit that project. ;)

Well, there you have it. And I know you want to hear about how other people work it too. How about Gina Denny and Kaylee Baldwin?

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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