Firstly, I am delighted to have been invited by Chris Stovell to take part in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour: thank you, Chris. You can find out more about Chris at her blog: http://homethoughtsweekly.blogspot.co.uk/
The idea of this blog tour is to answer four questions about your writing process and then to tag three or, in my case, two (what can I say? Failed again!) writers, who will reply to the same four questions in their own blogs on May 12th, 2014.
What am I working on?
The Earl’s Reluctant Bride, my second Regency romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Historicals. It is the story of Lady Felicity Weston and Richard Durant, Earl of Stanton, whose marriage of convenience challenges their preconception that marriage is for practicality and love is for fools.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Every writer is unique, with their own style, their own voice, their own vocabulary and their own life experiences that inevitably inform the stories they write. In that way, no two writers would write the same story, even given the same basic idea. Although I write Regencies, I try to use a light touch to invoke a flavour of the era without including swathes of historical detail, preferring to concentrate on the characters. I am constantly fascinated by the way messages from childhood influence people’s thoughts and behaviour, and the way they view themselves and the world around them. I like how my characters’ understanding of themselves changes as they negotiate the path to true love.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve loved Regencies ever since I first discovered the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer in my teens. After re-reading all the Heyer novels I could lay my hands on in the late 1990s, I moved on to the numerous contemporary novelists who write Regencies. Occasionally, though, I would finish a book, and the fateful thought: ‘I could do better than that!’ would pop into my head. I have no doubt that similar thoughts have prompted many a writer to set pen to paper over the years!
How does my writing process work?
My handwriting is horribly untidy and even I struggle to read it at times, so it is something of a chore to wade through any notes I make. I use notebooks to jot down ides but, to write, I mostly work at my computer. I try to write something every day – I find the mornings most productive – even if it’s only a few hundred words.I begin with the hero and heroine – and the reasons why they should never fall in love with each other. Once I have my characters – and a good understanding of their pasts – I think about their journey to Happy Ever After (a must in the category romances I write), and I begin to write.
Every day when I sit down at my computer, I read through what I wrote the previous day, changing and correcting as I go, before moving on with the story.Writers are often told the most important thing is to get the first draft of the novel finished and to resolve any issues during the editing process. I find I can’t work like that. Maybe, in time, it’ll get easier but, for now, there are times when I can’t seem to move forward at all, even when I know where my characters are (or should be) going! After some quiet time away from the keyboard, I usually realise it’s because I have taken a wrong turn and, somewhere deep in my subconscious, I know it. I try to persuade myself I can fix it later, after the first draft is complete, but it’s akin to dragging an anchor behind me. When that happens, the only thing I can do is go back – sometimes right to the beginning – and resolve the issues that are bugging me.
Slow but steady, that’s me!
When my first draft is finally done, I leave it a week or two, then print it out. That’s when the fun really starts – pulling it apart and stitching it back together with the help of post-its, felt tip pens and scissors – until I feel it’s the best it can be. Of course, that’s a delusion and my editor inevitably wants even more changes. But at least by then I feel I’m on the home straight.Well, that is the end of my ‘My Writing Process’ blog. Thank you for staying with me thus far.I’d like to express my gratitude to writers and fellow RNA members Linda Chamberlain and Carol MacLean, who have agreed to continue the tour.
Linda lives in Sussex with her family and two horses. She’s been a journalist most of her life but is no longer letting facts get in the way of a good story. She’s turned to fiction and is seeking a publisher for her historical novel about one of England’s first vets. It’s a blend of fact and fiction looking at issues of disability for both horse and rider. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and so of course it has a happy ending but be warned…it’s going to be controversial.
Linda’s blog about horses and writing can be found on: –
Carol lives on the west coast of Scotland with her husband, two children and three cats.She has always enjoyed writing and her first story, written at the age of ten, was about a girl called Mhairi who lived with her nine siblings on a small Scottish croft, getting involved in all sorts of adventures. Luckily she’s since lost this masterpiece.
Carol’s interests include hillwalking and enjoying wildlife and nature, along with a passion for reading in all sorts of genres.