My Writing Process – Or More Accurately, Writing Process Where Are You???
My debut release, Hunting Human, has been a project of discovery from the very beginning. There were discoveries I expected to make: whether or not I could write a book, whether or not I like writing a book, whether or not I could finish a book, etc. There were also discoveries I was looking forward to: would my characters “speak to me” (er, no, except occasionally to yell at me), which characters would be the easiest to write (will you run screaming if I say that my maniacal villain was the definition of easy – his scenes were the ones I edited the least). But there was one discovery I wanted to make above all: I really, really wanted to find my writing process. Unfortunately, this just didn’t pan out in the way that I thought it would.
Let’s rewind just a bit, okay? Hunting Human isn’t just my debut release; it’s the first book I ever wrote. It all started with a kernel of an idea, which became this scene:
For one agonizing moment, Liz let everything she’d tried so desperately to ignore rush over her. The horror and disbelief was nauseating. The fear and desperation consumed her until nothing but the harsh static of panic-induced white noise filled her brain. She braced her hands on her knees and tried to breathe around the sob clogging her throat.
What are we going to do?
We’re helpless out here, prey for men more terrifying than I’ve ever imagined.
The helplessness cleared away some of the fear and panic clouding her mind, replacing it with a hollow depression.
What chance do we have?
The enormity of the situation dragged her under, threatening to drown her where she stood.
This first scene occurred to me in 2006, at the back of my constitutional law class as I fought the onset of a post lunch, afternoon snooze fest. I didn’t think much about this after that; it just sort of tumbled around my head for months. Those months turned into years. It wasn’t until 2008, when I’d been out of school and in the work force that I decided I wanted to try out novel writing. That’s when I put the first scene down on paper and discovered a tiny piece of my ever evolving writing process: I can’t write out of order. I must start at the beginning and write through to the end. This proved to be especially vexing for me because I don’t think in order. The more I contemplated my book, the more scenes would come to me but never in chronological order. This scene, for instance, was constantly on the tips of my fingers:
“Oh. My. God.”
Braden groaned as his twenty-two-year-old kid sister bounced into the room, tossing her gym bag onto one of the barstools next to him.
“Did I hear Chase right?” Lucy asked, as usual, practically bouncing with barely restrained energy. “Did you bring a woman home in your trunk? What? Couldn’t get your girlfriend to meet the parents any other way?”
Something in Braden’s expression must have given away how close to the mark Lucy was because she burst out laughing. “Oh my God! You did not bring the girl you’ve been seeing home in the trunk of your car?” When he didn’t respond, Lucy looked around, eyes landing on Chase, who’d followed her into the kitchen. “Chase?”
And Chase, the bastard, who’d never been able to deny Lucy anything, smiled.
Over the next couple of years I threw myself into the process of learning to write a novel. I started out in a local community college and then moved over to a specialized program offered by Southern Methodist University. I also discovered the second tiny little kernel of knowledge about my writing process: I couldn’t write every day, I wrote in bursts, sometimes small (several days a month that resulted in two or three chapters) and sometimes large (a month and half that took my work in process from 27k words to 95K words.)
So from start (the first tiny idea) to finish (the acquisition call) my first book took me four years to write, polish, submit and sell. I started writing my second novel almost immediately. I thought, ‘hey, cool, I can write a novel. The second is just bound to be loads easier because now I have a process!’ Yeah. That was clearly a lot of wishful thinking on my part. The truth is, I didn’t have a process, what I had was a couple of tiny realizations, a ton of tools for writing a story that I hadn’t had the first time, a good idea of what not to do and no idea of how to proceed. That realization was agonizing. Maybe I wasn’t a writer after all. Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe one book is all I would ever have…
And then, slowly but surely I worked my way through the beginning of my next project. I took out the tools I’d acquired while writing my first book, dusted them off and started – through trial and error – to figure out how to use them. I’m still writing my second book and I’m gaining momentum every day. Best of all, I’m discovering new, tiny bits of my writing process. And I’m coming to the realization that it may take a ton of books to find my process, to hit my professional stride. And slowly, ever so slowly, I’m getting used to that idea and looking forward to the challenge.
What about you? As writers, creatives, or just in everyday life, do have a set process, or do you find it’s always evolving, changing and challenging you?
For two years, Beth Williams has run from the past, and the beast that dwells inside her. She is haunted by memories of being kidnapped and the savage attack that killed her best friend. Now Beth finally thinks she's ready to move on...with Braden Edwards, a charming, irresistibly sexy man who tempts Beth to embrace the present.
But the past lurks closer than Beth realizes. Markko Bolvek, one of the werewolves who kidnapped her, has tracked her to Portland, Oregon, his pursuit fueled by a hunger for vengeance. Only Braden, a werewolf himself, senses the danger shadowing her steps. The Edwards and Bolveks have been enemies for centuries and despite the instant connection he feels with Beth, Braden isn't sure which side of the war she's on.
With suspicion at odds with their attraction, Beth and Braden must learn to trust one another to stop Markko for good. Can Beth accept the wolf within and love a man who embodies everything she fears?
Wow, I was really impressed with this book. I couldn't put it down, so I'm giving it 5 stars! I was pulled in right away after I started reading it. Emotions run high in this book, and it was as if I could feel what Beth was feeling. Without giving too much away, Beth lives through a terrible ordeal and has to go through life alone afterward. She is such a strong character - you have to really admire her. Finally she meets Braden and there is an instant connection there. The relationship progresses quickly and you can feel the passion between them. There were some romantic, swoonworthy moments. After it seems like things couldn't get better for Beth, a huge misunderstanding happens between her and Braden. He behaves like an idiot - which is sort of comical. Beth, being a typical woman, can't let it go - even after Braden apologizes and tries so hard to make it up to her. She distances herself from him emotionally - but I love it because
that's exactly how a woman would react in real life. There was a lot of back and forth with her emotions - wanting to forgive him and refusing to let herself - so there were a lot of fighting and hurt feelings between the two. That made the relationship feel that much more real. Even though Braden deserves to feel tortured for a little while, you can't help but feel sorry for him. He is such a likeable guy. The end of the book just went way too fast for me - I wanted to keep
reading and find out more. I just loved all of the characters in this book (besides the villains) and I really want to know more about them. I really hope this will be a series - and soon!
Trust me, you'll want to read this book! Also, Amanda is graciously giving a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter throughout the blog tour! You will have to check out the other stops along to tour HERE. Also, make sure you leave your email address so we can get in touch with you in case you are the winner! Thanks so much Amanda for stopping by my blog!