Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Girl Gone Mental a.k.a My Writing Process

Since publishing His Dark Ways this last summer, I've received lots of questions regarding my writing process, especially after readers or friends who are asking find out that I homeschool three kiddos, create works of art, and books. Crazy right? Probably. But it all actually works itself out in this bubble I call Organized Chaos. 

I'd like to say that I'm one of those morning people who can rise before the sun and pump out my word count before the day has begun. BUT no, that would unfortunately make me insanely cranky. Yahoo even did a study that "morning people" are more successful in life, so I tried it. And failed miserably. But I'm okay with that because everyone works differently and I truly believe that if you work hard without giving up, success will come, in big ways or small. 

Stephen King once said that he never writes down his ideas because he'd write down all the shit, and the really good stuff he'll remember. For a long time I believed that and didn't write anything down, and then I had an epiphany. He was only talking about the overall idea of a book. And it works. I write one book a year (one is published, but the rest sit on a shelf), and I usually finish one in the early summer. So as my other work goes on submission, I start stewing, usually in my garden. I wait for an idea to overtake my soul (if it's anything's worth writing, it'll do just that). Once it becomes that really good stuff Mr. King talked about, I start jotting down ideas, and more importantly talking with each character. Ellen Hopkins taught me the importance of knowing your characters before any kind of plot takes shape, and once those people are there, it'll all fall into place. Characters are huge, and can either make a walk in the park boring as hell or an adventure. So talking to them is important, as crazy as it sounds, it's a very important part of my writing process. 

I've had a couple of character's that haven't left me alone for years, and I decided that I was going to put them on the page this summer. I had a vague idea of where they lived and what kind of adventure they would go on, so I turned to research and found that the 18th Century would work well for these people. Six months later, I finished researching. But in between this time, I was also experimenting on the page. Where does this book open? So important! What twists and turns will I surprise my reader with? And so much more... 

As a writer they say, you must write everyday because writing is a muscle you must exercise. I do find that somewhat true, but as busy as I am that doesn't always happen. Opening a computer can be full of distractions anyways, so I think, a lot. I find little moments in the day. When I'm washing dishes or doing laundry, I think through plot or character problems and pull out my notebook. A notebook in today's world can be a glorious thing. It's a blank page free of distractions because there aren't any of those pesky internet connections you can easily click on. Notebooks have become the brain of the nights I write. Three to four days out of the week, I grab a coffee, and the moment I open my notebook I'm focused. Those epiphany's I had during the day ground my four hour or so writing session on the computer.

So to sum up this post, my writing process is talking to myself A LOT, and being in solitude--which seems mental, right? But it's all a part of my process and how my days of thinking as life unfolds in busy ways gets words on my pages at night. 

What's your writing process? 

Also, a friend of mine just recommended a wonderful book written by Jeff VanderMeer. It's titled Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. And it's definitely a book you should look into when it comes to the writing process! Happy writing everyone!


  1. Thank you for the post!! So true about characters. A story can have nothing going on, but if you follow a great character, I suppose it could still be a great story. We all have stories to tell.

  2. Thank you for stopping in Bob! It's always great to know that THEE Bob Marley is visiting my blog :)