Sunday, June 1, 2014
My Writing Process Blog Relay
I'm continuing the internet phenomenon of the My Writing Process Blog Relay. The lovely Leslie Lynch, my 2013 Golden Heart® sister, tagged me last week. You can check out her writing process here. I'm excited to report her first book, HIJACKED, comes out TODAY!! WHEEEEE!!!! I know I'll be hitting the buy button on this Golden Heart® finalist manuscript. Thanks for the tag, Leslie!
So here goes - WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
Revisions! I sold my 2013 Golden Heart® manuscript SOUTHERN COMFORTS to Harlequin SuperRomance. I got the call April 30th and received my revision letter on May 8th. There were 177 comments from my editor.
I've been focused on ripping apart and adding scenes. And am just about ready to hit send on this set of edits. I had two revise and resubmit letters from Megan Long, my editor, before they took a chance and bought the book. (I still get a little zing every time I say my editor) Silly me—I thought the next set of revisions would be lighter. But writing isn't for the weak. My publication date is December 2014. I'm so thrilled and grateful Megan Long took a chance on this book and for Laura Bradford, agent extraordinaire, for representing me!
I've also been working through revisions on my 2014 Golden Heart® finalist manuscript POETIC JUSTICE with my critique group. It is a finalist in the Short Contemporary category and is Romantic Suspense. Once I send the revisions for SOUTHERN COMFORTS off, I have to dive back in and finish those revisions.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
Wow – this is a hard question. I write families. Either groups that eventually find and form families or actual families. SOUTHERN COMFORTS is set in a Savannah Bed and Breakfast run by three sisters. Although much of contemporary romance is set in small towns, I tend to set mine in cities like Savannah or Minneapolis, although I have started a series that I set in a ski resort in Montana. It's actually fun creating a town and if Touch the Sky Montana reminds you a little of Big Sky, its' because my parents had a condo on the mountain.
I do tend to write too much business in my manuscripts. It is what is familiar. I was a VP of Finance for a pharmaceutical company and also a CFO of medical group. In the current revisions I'm pulling back on tons of the business bits I had included.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I WRITE?
I didn't know the first hot mess novel that I wrote was a romance. It now lies gathering dust bunnies under the bed (or sitting on diskettes if you remember those). But once I joined my local RWA chapter, I figured out I was writing romance. (Even when I joined, I thought I was joining a Fiction Writers group. I was clueless!) I don't think I'd ever read a true romance, but the books I loved usually included a relationship with a happily ever after. Now I devour romance books, because I finally embraced reading my genre. Love it! What's more powerful than love overcoming all odds and healing the emotionally wounded?
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I usually have an idea—a what if idea. What if four sisters were struggling to turn their family mansion in Savannah into a B&B? (My sisters and I were visiting Savannah on a sister weekend.) What if a woman was helping a sister by shuttling poets to a conference and was kidnapped. (I was doing just that when I came up with the premise for POETIC JUSTICE) What if three men find out they are almost triplets, but they were born of three different mothers? (THE PERFECT CHILDREN was inspired by a BBC radio story on genetic modification when I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at college.)
I used to be a dedicated pantster. But as I learned more craft, I began to document more of the plots before I began the first draft. Initially, I used a Big Beautiful Worksheet from an online class by Laurie Schnebly Campbell called Plotting Via Motivation. For the last several books I've revised and drafted, I've begun using Blake Snyder's Beats. I may not be 100% true to every beat, but my books now have more form in the first draft.
When I begin a book. I complete a GMC for each character. I also create a background document that contains their physical attributes. I give them a birthday and use Linda Goodman's Sun Signs to get character traits that fit with their GMC. In my background document I keep character names, locations, key information, hyperlinks on research I've done, and any other information that I want to be able to access without searching my manuscript. I keep both documents open when I am drafting or revising.
I also log in and out of a spreadsheet as I work. And because it's data, I might even make a graph or two. Here's one I made while working on revisions. I may not be a financial executive anymore, but I still love numbers and charts.
I also set goals, another residual activity from my business background. I love to check off completed activities on my To Do lists.
There are a number of groups that keep me going. I've been lucky enough to final in the Golden Heart® five times. I'm a proud member of the Unsinkables, The Startcatchers, The Lucky 13s and this year's class—The Dreamweavers. The women in these groups are inspiring, resilient, fabulous cheerleaders and wonderful consolers. I'm also very active in Midwest Fiction Writers and somewhat active in WIsRWA . But I learned how to write in my fabulous critique group which currently consists of Ann Hinnenkamp, Kathryn Kohorst, Leanne Farrell and Neroli Lacey.
WHO'S UP NEXT WEEK ON THE MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR?
I'm tagging the fabulous Kay Hudson a three time Golden Heart® Finalist. We've been Starcatchers and Lucky 13s together. I'm also tagging Ellen Lindseth. Ellen's a chaptermate at MFW and a 2014 Golden Heart® finalist with her WWII historical novel. So happy to be on this wicked fun ride with her this year.
Be sure to visit them next week on June 9th.
Thanks again, Leslie, for tagging me!