Last week Rebecca Behrens blogged about her writing process and tagged me with a request to post answers to the same questions. I had so much fun reading Rebecca’s answers, and I jumped at the chance to chat about my own writing…
1. What are you currently writing?
I hesitate to talk too much about what I’m writing until I have a workable draft done (because so much ends up changing between that first paragraph and The End), but I can tell you that I’ve been playing with scenes for a sequel to a ghost story I wrote a few years ago. There’s a chance these little bits of a possible story will never see the light of day, but they’ve been super inspiring and I’ve loved every second of being back in my original story’s world. For now, I’m going with it. I’m also mentally musing something completely new, but I’m still hammering out a lot of the big picture. This one’s going to be set somewhere warm and sunny (I have cemented that detail), and it’s going to have a lot of guys who spend a lot of time in board shorts. So that’s fun.
2. What makes your work different?
My voice. It’s something I’ve never struggled with (plot’s a completely different story!), and voice is one aspect of my writing that readers almost always compliment. Also, I write romances with a lot of kissing, usually from the get-go. A lot of romance writers seem to hold off on that first kiss for as long as possible, but not me. My characters kiss early and often — because why not? 😉
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write stories with similarities to the novels I love to read. My stories always, always, always have strong romantic threads. I like characters that are rendered in shades of gray, so I try to make my fictional people complicated. I’m drawn to stories set in small-ish towns, so my settings are usually quaint. I prefer reading novels that have a more melancholy feeling, and the stories I write do as well. And I read YA almost exclusively (because it’s the best!), so that’s what I write. Teenagers are so complex. I remember that time in my life as being riddled with question marks and insecurities and uncertainties, and, surprisingly enough, I enjoy revisiting it through my writing.
4. What is your writing process?
Ha… I wish you could see the befuddlement on my face. I don’t know if I really have a set process? I can tell you that I spend a long time considering an idea before I sit down to write. I plot using a beat sheet, and then I plot again, scene by scene using Scrivener’s cork board. I use Pinterest to collect visuals and sites helpful for research. I set daily word count goals keep myself accountable. I start a writing sesh by rereading what I wrote the previous day (I read somewhere that Sarah Dessen does the same thing, so…), and I am not against editing as I go. I keep a running list of revision ideas to address when I’m done drafting, and I keep a list of story details — minor characters’ names, birthdays, dates of significant events, etc. When I get stuck, I take breaks. When I get frustrated, I email my CPs. When I get disenchanted, I read something by an author I love, which is always inspiring. I love to revise, so when drafting seems impossible, I think of the many days I’ll eventually get to spend making everything cohesive and pretty. So, I guess that’s sort of a process?