characters, Danelle Harmon, heroes, heroines, inspiration, Jennifer Ashley, Katharine Ashe, Michelle Beattie, pirates, port, rakes, rebels, rogues, RWA, Shana Galen, storyboards, tars, writing process
G’day, me hearties! I’m taggin along on an adventurous ride. Yeeaauuss! Taking part in a “My Writing Process” blog tour, ongoing for the past three Mondays. Where do I come in? Sherry Gloag (January 6) tagged Patty Kiyono (January 13) and she tagged me for this January 20th post. And like any pirate setting course for adventure, I took out me handy compass that points to what I want most and took hold of the helm. Huzzah!
Writing processes are strange, fickle beasties. Imagine a Kraken attacking far from shore, dragging ye below the frothy surface. Zounds! Or a brisk wind taking hold of the topsail, speeding ye and your cargo to port. ARRRGH!
Discovering your own writing process takes time and acceptance. When I started writing, I’d read tons of how-to books and fought against the tide of rejections, desperately trying to stay above the surface. After joining writing chapters, Romance Writers of America, taking online classes, attending workshops, and conferences, I soon began to understand my own methods and how they worked for me, which in turn, helped improve my writing. Why? Once you understand your own writing process and believe in it, what you receive is mind-boggling ~ aka a finished book! Cue my mantra, “Believe to receive!”
When it comes to writing processes, the key phrase to remember here is: How does my writing process work for me?
A pirate crew is composed of tars from various backgrounds and environmental influences. Born into varying degrees of social status, tars attend different schools, learn from masters or novices on how to mend sail, heave ho, drink rum, pilfer their weasely guts out, and pillage and plunder. Within each writing tar lives a code trademarked and formated to process characters and plots for peril, love, and adventure. Once that code is understood, behold the tradewinds! They be masterful, me hearties!
As I thought about the four questions up for grabs on this writing process blog tour, I pondered what works for me and what doesn’t. Here be me answers for your viewing pleasure!
1) What am I working on?
I’m temptingly close to typing The epic End on Lord Simon Danbury, Viscount Bourne’s novella, My Lord Rogue. The book is the prequel novella for my Nelson’s Tea Series and chronicles the beginnings of the organization, a clandestine group Admiral Nelson put together after being ordered to draw plans to protect the Channel in 1801. Nelson is back in England, after suffering another bought with malaria. Or is he? Buahahaha!
2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I love writing Regency/Action/Adventure romance. Quite a few wonderful authors handle this genre extremely well. Here’s a nod to Shana Galen, Danelle Harmon, Katharine Ashe, Michelle Beattie, and Jennifer Ashley. Ages ago, though it feels like yesterday, writers trendsetting this genre were: Johanna Lindsey, Rosemary Rogers, Fern Michaels, and Bobbi Smith.
What I love most about writing is escaping into adventure that takes me, and hopefully my readers, on a wild romp through unchartered waters ~ I mean plots and storylines. (Pirate!) Of course, there must be rogues, rebels, and rakes aplenty.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Why do I write what I do? (Pirate!) Deep down this self-made writing tar yearns to wield a sword, swashbuckle on the high seas, dress in Regency gowns, take a turn at court, wave a flirtacious fan, and tame a handsome rogue (Wait, I already did that. Pirate!). And of course, I would love to wear a corset. (Color me daft!)
What excites me is a heroine confined to the mores of the day, secretly yearning for love, excitement, adventure, via those old gothic novels like Mysteries of Udolpho, Clermont, The Orphan of the Rhine, and The Castle of Wolfenbach. I adore Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
4) How does your writing process work?
Usually, a characters shows up in complete disregard for what I’m currently working on. In all his glory, he ignores my, “I don’t have time for this,” and tells me his woes. If I’m already working on another book, I’ll ponder said hero for a bit. When I have time, I’ll do some research to discover where his story is seated and listen to him some more. So, my heroes come to me first.
Once I realize where the story takes place, I’ll begin a treasure hunt for names. (Extremely important for revealing character and setting.) Which means spending time bent over name books. When I find THE one, it blazes out from the page as if calling my name. Then quite satisfied by my cast list, I’ll look through various photo files to find THE inspiration for my hero, per how he came to me. It’s so important to find the right match. After I have setting, hero and heroine, names and storylines, I’ll make a storyboard, adding said photos to the board, names, chapter headings, and title of the book.
Here’s where the book takes complete form. Storyboard made, my story has now become a life-like vessel to tease my visual mind’s-eye. But I’m not finished yet. It’ll take many discussions with my brainstorming partner, M.V. Freeman, to finalize all the plot and character points. It’s a long process, to be sure, but it works for me, especially since all this happens while I’m working on another book. So, long story longer, by the time I’m ready to get started, everything is fleshed out and I’m ready to pound on the keyboard. Huzzah!!!
So there you have it! My writing process. It may seem drawn out, a lengthy bore for some writing tars, but it works for me. It’s ongoing. It fulfills my need for visual art. It brings my book and characters to life so that I’m LIVING their story alongside these imaginary people I call friends.
Do you have a writing process that differs from mine? What inspires you? Movies? Television? The modeling industry? Share, won’t you?
P.S. Stay tuned for the new book cover reveal for the re-release of Duke by Day, Rogue by Night. I’ll be at Collette Cameron’s blog helping celebrate her 1st Year Anniversary Blog Hop on January 27th! (Sign up for her rafflecopter giveaway. Tons of prizes and treasure up for grabs!) Hope to see you there!