Tuesday, January 26

Process? There's a Process?

Okay, yeah, maybe there is a process. It's only that I've never given it much consideration. Mostly, I write . . . but perhaps we could call my pre-thinking a beginning of a process.

I always start with characters, too--very possibly one of hundreds of reasons why Liz and I are kindred spirits. Our stories start with people. We invent stories for the people in our heads, not people for the stories. Does that make sense? Unlike Liz, I do hear the characters talking to me, which probably means that I'm more likely to need therapy at some point than she is.

The stories always start with a conversation--maybe not between the heroine and the hero, sometimes between the hero and a secondary character or between the heroine and her best friend. And that conversation sets up the story, establishes where we are--small town, big city, usually never on a farm, but always, always near a lake.

I don't do synopses for my books, but once the conversation begins, I do character studies that list each character; their physical traits (which can change); their names (which also can change, i.e., Henry Dugan in The Summer of Second Chances was originally named Ben, but I couldn't feel the geek, so I changed his name and his freak flag began to fly!); as well as any little peculiarities they may have. I also do a timeline, which helps me keep events straight as the story unfolds.

I'm a note maker--notes on the backs of envelopes, scraps of paper, the notes app on my iPhone, the sticky note feature on the desktops of my PC, laptop, and Kindle--I make notes. If a word or phrase strikes me, I write it down, if a place name suddenly comes into my head, I write it down, if a conversation begins in my head as I'm driving, I can ask Siri to record it for me, which is totally cool or I can call home and leave it on my Voicemail. I've even asked Husband to remember a word or phrase if I'm not in a position to record it or write it down. He's a very willing resource.

So, there we have it. The notes do eventually become a story or they get put away to be part of another story. I never toss them, they're in a folder in my desk because you never know when the exact right word or phrase or idea for any story at all will be in there.

Quick promo note--I'm asking all the Wranglers out there to hold a good thought--my BookBub promotion is up today in the UK, Canada, and India. I'm hoping to expand my foreign sales, so this one is a biggie. Let's hope the folks across the pond and up north are curious enough about the Women of Willow Bay to buy some books! Thanks for all the good energy!

12 comments:

  1. Holding good thoughts for the promotion! My notes are always such a mess and never in one spot, so except for the computer file, they go away. And I WANT to make a timeline--it would save so much "oh, crap" time, but I haven't done it yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timelines are good for me because I have a tendency to lose track of when characters did what...and how long days are. It's protection against the chaos that is pretty much my process.

      Delete
  2. yay on the BookBub! That's great!!! and I love your post-its...I use those all the time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristina! Sticky Notes on my PC are mandatory!

      Delete
  3. Good luck with the BookBub. I'm impressed you got an ad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, T.C. I'm hoping folks in UK, Canada, and India will fall in love with THE WOMEN OF WILLOW BAY!

      Delete
  4. Congrats on the BookBub! India's a big market. I hope sales are so good you can afford to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rob! Wouldn't that be a treat?

      Delete
  5. I also leave scraps of story everywhere--sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Good luck on your promotion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always hang on to the scraps, Margie, they might work somewhere. Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Crossing fingers, legs, eyes, the street... Here's to a successful BookBub promo!

    ReplyDelete