Posts tagged writing process
WIPs and Chains
I so wish I had a WIP to tell you about. Really in a bit of a slump here. It's not like I haven't been working mind you...last weekend I did some brainstorming with a couple of the Nine Naughty Novelists and I was excited to get started but then I got first round of edits from one editor, and cover art forms to complete from another editor (my goodness these are time consuming and brain-straining!).

The last two months have been a real challenge for me as an author. When an author says that, you can figure it is:

a. Bad review(s)
b. Rejection(s)
c. Writer's block.
d. All of the above.

When I have one of those times where I feel like I'll never be able to write again, my husband just rolls his eyes, because it's happened so many times and I always do. So hopefully...this too shall pass!
WIPs and Chains
Hello Monday, and time to blog about my progress on my "work in progress" or rather, this week, LACK of progress. Actually I don't even have a WIP, unless you count the two manuscripts I started months ago and haven't gone back to.

I started working on a story idea for a spin-off story of a recently completed manuscript. I really want to write this story, I do,'s giving me a hard time. The funny thing is, I tried to do this once before - write a spin off story for a character who appeared in one of my books. The last time I did this, it was the story of Gabe, who appears in Power Struggle - the Master Dom who helps Tori and Dev figure things out. Many readers asked for his story, and I did plan to write it, but when I sat down to actually do it, it was really hard.

I wonder if it was hard because I had some parts of the story already predetermined, and also the character, so I may have felt a little constrained by the things already in place. For example, with Gabe - I knew he was a Master Dom who belonged to the club Le Chateau. I knew he had developed feelings for his play partner there, Tori, but he had to let her go when she fell in love with another man. I knew that Gabe had a difficult past and had tried to live a lie...but I didn't know exactly what that difficult past was.

I also had a hard time finding the right woman for Gabe. I went through several characters, developing them and then rejecting them as they weren't right for him. At one point, I envisioned him becoming involved with another couple and the story being a menage story...but that didn't work out either. I finally had to put Gabe's story aside for several months while I worked on other things, and then when I went back to it, I think I at last got it right.

Now I'm having the same problems with this story - I know some things about my character (his name is Dylan). I know he's been hurt by a woman and feels betrayed by his best friend. I know he's recently had an experience that threatens his career, which is all important to him. But as with Gabe's story, I can't seem to find quite the right woman for Dylan. And I can't seem to find the right reason to bring him home again after leaving, hurt and in pain.

So, as with Gabe's story, I may have to put this one aside for a while and work on something else. But this time I feel more confident that the perfect woman for Dylan will come to me, and so will Dylan's story.
WIPs and Chains
Before I talk about my WIP I'm thrilled to announce that my book LOST AND FOUND is a finalist in the Passionate Plume!  Yay! Congrats to all the other awesome finalists!

I'm feeling great about my WIP this week because IT'S FINISHED! Well, first draft anyway. Although my first drafts are lot less rough (is that good grammar?) than they used to be, I do a lot more editing as I go than I did when I first started writing. Not sure if that's good or bad. Anyway, it's a 40,000 word novella and it was fun to write something short again and get that quicker gratification. But as with most of my recent projects, I felt this one could have been a lot longer. I could have taken more time to explore different facets of my characters' personalities and their problems. But I planned this to be a novella for a specific call for submissions, so it had to be short.

Now I'm off to Los Angeles early Wednesday morning for the RT Booklovers Convention and I can feel relaxed with a completed manuscript just finished. If I have time to do a little work, I can edit and revise and polish, which is much easiser to do when I just have a few minutes here and there than actual writing.

WIPs and Chains
After another one of those weeks wondering if this is it, I'm done as a writer, I'll never write again,  I'm happy to say-  it's back!

I don't have those self-doubts as much as I used to because I've been through this a few times now. That feeling of thinking I should be writing...but I don't want to. I have ideas but none of them excite me. I have a few projects I've started that I could go back to. I did go back to them. They didn't excite me either.

This usually happens when I've been writing like crazy and yes, I've just completed a few manuscripts and I guess somehow my brain just needs to rest and regenerate or something. I wanted to write something fast and easy, something that doesn't take a lot of research or planning, something hot and sexy and fun. Even that seemed beyond me, though I'd started something that I thought fit the bill.

This morning I woke up early (except for the Daylight Savings Time thing - losing an hour REALLY annoys me, but maybe it wasn't so bad because I wasn't writing something and didn't feel that urgent need to GET UP OUT OF BED AND GET WORKING which I usually feel) so I lay in bed for a while and started thinking about the story I'd started and a few hot scenes came to mind and...whoa! I was inspired!

And I wrote nearly 4000 words today on that story. Yay!
WIPs and Chains
So close, so close...almost finished the WIP! I was hoping to do it this weekend, but of course the last scenes are the hardest to write - the most emotional, the most gut-wrenching, and it's slow going. In fact, even though I'm anxious to be done, I found myself procrastinating because I knew how hard these scenes were going to be to write.

This whole book has been hard to write. I know it's going to take a lot of fine tuning of this first draft and I'm just hoping it all makes sense. Both these characters are really complicated.

I'm also surprised by the length of the book. My goal was 60,000 words and I usually find that's a very comfortable length for me. Lately I've been trying to write longer, but this one I wanted to keep fairly short. But Gabe and Reagan had other ideas! I could easily make this an 80,000 word book but I think it will likely end up somewhere around 65,000 words. It is what it is.
WIPs and Chains
And a contest!

To celebrate the release of our print books on the same day, my friend Erin Nicholas and I are having a "friends" contest at The Romance Studio. You can win a copy of each of our new print releases Love 2 Love U and Just Right PLUS a copy to give to one of your friends! Check it out here. Contest goes until January 31/11.

I've been working hard this week on "Gabe's story". Yes, I really need a better title. I've been thinking about it off and on and have come up with numerous titles that I thought were okay, but then changed my mind. I guess I can worry about that once it's finished.

I have to say Gabe is a very complicated man and he is giving me a hard time! He's also giving Reagan, my heroine, a hard time. It also appears, despite my careful planning, that the story may be longer than I planned. I'm now up to 44,000 words and it's time for a crisis but Gabe's not ready for that - I haven't hurt him enough yet!

This is interesting to me, because recently I've been trying to write longer books and struggled a bit with it. I took a couple of workshops and I've read a few books to try to help with that and what is actually quite cool is that it's the books on character that have helped with my plotting. Now, I know I write character-driven stories, but it quite amazes me how much the plot can grow based on deeper characterization.

Now...back to Gabe.
WIPs and Chains
First of all I have to apologize to anyone who has been trying to email me through my website About a month ago my web goddess made some changes to my website at my request in order to protect my privacy, however the changes have impacted the email account. She fixed it once but then I found a problem again. I don't know how many people tried to email me and couldn't get through, but I'm so so sorry if you did! It should be fixed now and hopefully no more problems. If you ever want to contact me and email doesn't work, just leave a comment here at at the blog, I always get those!

So as for works in progress...I have been making progress on what I've been calling "Gabe's Story". If you read Power Struggle, you'll know who Gabe is, and I had so many readers asking for his story! I intended to write his story and I've been working on it. I started it a while ago, but struggled. Gabe is a complicated man! And for that matter, so is Reagan, the heroine of the story. But I've gotten back to it and I'm about half way through now. And I'm pretty happy with how it's going, though it's not easy!
WIPs and Chains
Monday morning and the holidays are over...almost. I still have today off from the day job and I'm hoping to get some writing done on the current WIP. I did work on it over the holidays although the last few days haven't been as productive as I'd like.

On New Years Eve I was completely unable to write because I was upset and distracted about something that had happened, so I sat down and reread the manuscript I finished about a month or so ago. I like to let my finished works rest and then go back to them. So I read With Strings Attached from start to finish. I found a few little continuity details that I often overlook during the writing, like they'd just been out for dinner but then he says he's I fixed a few little things. But mostly I just read it. And I liked it. Even if I wrote it myself, I enjoyed it.

Which led to a huge feeling of frustration. I'm not the most patient person in the world (just ask my family!) and I have this manuscript here that I so want to share with people and yet, depending on what I decide to do with it, it will be probably two years before it's out in the world, if not longer. I'd love to send this one to my agent, though I'm not sure if she's interested, but I just sent her something so I can't send it right now. If she is interested in looking at it and then thinks it's worth pitching to editors, I know now from experience how long that process takes (over a year and still going!). Even if we were successful selling it to a publisher, release dates are usually at least a year after that, if not longer in the print world.

I could just send it to one of my digital publishers, which is what will happen if agent's not interested, but my first choice publisher already has TWO of my manuscripts that I'm waiting to hear back on so I don't think I'll be sending a THIRD. By the time I can send it, wait months to hear and then, if it's accepted, get a release date (which last time I sold to them, was a full year after the contract offer)  it will likely be coming up on two years before it's published.

And I want people to read this story now!

Patience. I need patience. Lots of it.
WIPs and Chains
As I said last week, I had some revisions to do on a manuscript I'd sent to my agent, the fabulous Laura Bradford. She had some suggestions that she thought would make it better. The first thing I did was send it off to my critiqe partner to get her input. Then I started thinking about it myself. Some of the changes I knew I could do fairly easily - others I needed to think about. So that's what I've been working on this week. I deleted one secondary plot and enhanced another. Ideas kept coming to me and I kept adding them in, and in the end the manuscript is pretty much exactly the same length as it was when I started. I was relieved about that!  As for the other problems, I gave them some thought too as I was revising, and came up with a few ideas. I'll see what my crit partner thinks once she's read the manuscript. She did look at it before, but only the first few chapters.

Having someone like Nara to bounce ideas off, to get a second opinion and to get honest feedback is so important. When we started exchanging work three years ago, we were doing line edits and correcting grammar and finding overused words. Now we both are published and that's not the kind of help we need any more - it's deeper things like characterization and conflict and motivation. So many times she's given me good advice about my stories. It's hard when you get so close to your story and your characters that you can't see them clearly any more, and having someone with a bit of distance offer their persepective is invaluable.
WIPs and Chains
Wow I've been doing pretty good on the WIP this week! I might actually finish another book!

It's so funny but it seems I can't get over the feeling that I might never be able to do it again. I don't know if other writers feel that way...?

As I get closer to the end of the story, I'm more motivated to keep going. I think the hardest part is starting a book - those 70,000 words (or whatever the goal is) loom in front of you like an impossible goal. But when you're at 68,000 words it finally seems doable.

And not only that, when it gets close to the end, like any book, I have to find out how it all turns out!

I said that to my husband on Saturday morning -  I have to work on it and finish it because I have to know how it all turns out! He laughed at me. "Don't you know how it's goign to turn out?" he asked.

Well, yes, I do. Sort of. Of course there's going to be a happy ending. Of course they're going to end up together. And in this case I knew WHO was going to end up together, though I hope readers wonder. :-)
But I don't know exactly how that's going to happen, because it's up to the characters. I don't know what exactly they're going to say or do until my fingers are tapping on the computer keys. And I want to know as much as anybody!
WIPs and Chains
Sorry this is a day late - for some reason Blogger decided not to post it yesterday.
 I'm not sure how many words I wrote this past week because I don't always keep track of that. I don't think it was the most productive week ever, but I did do some work on my WIP, which I posted a little excerpt from last week. I also spent some time working on a couple of new ideas, getting them started. This time I'm using a little different planning process, thanks to the workshop I've been taking called The Big Question. In fact, in that workshop I've been working on  yet another idea and planning it out. This process of starting with "the big question" that your story is about works the opposite of how I usually plan a story. Sometimes I have a story idea and sometimes I start with the characters, but I always start the planning process with the characters, developing them and then figuring out plot points that will challenge them and make them grow. With this other process, I have the story question and then come up with some plot points and THEN develop the characters, developing them to fit the story. There's no right or wrong way, but I'm going to try this and see how it works out.
WIPs and Chains
The last week hasn't been extremely productive in terms of working on my two "works in progress", though I have continued to work on them. I did write FIVE blog posts however, and did some work to prepare for release day coming up November 26 (Taming Tara). I'm also doing another workshop right now which takes some time and involves homework - gah! And I did some planning and brainstorming on another project I have in mind. I got this idea and I want to try to flesh it out, but I know once I do that I'm going to be tempted to abandon my WIPs and start on it. I keep thinking about priorities and what I can do with these projects and time frames but there's so much that's out of my control as a writer (response times from publishers, response time from agent, whether something will be accepted or rejected, how long it takes to actualy get published after acceptance) it makes it nearly impossible to plan ahead. I LIKE planning so this frustrates me and I have to keep reminding myself, "JUST WRITE".
WIPs and Chains
So how do you like the new photo? I'm kinda liking it!

This past week I've continued working on my two main works in progress, going back and forth between them, and it's been going great! I've been cranking out some great word count, though I did get a little hung up yesterday, so I went for a run and did some yard work. Today I broke through the little writer's block.

Last week I also spent some time working on a plotting spreadsheet. This isn't as scary as it sounds. I've learned I'm not a plotter, or I shouldn't be anyway, because it takes all the fun out of writing when I know what's going to happen. But as I write (this is my own process) I have some looseleaf sheets that I jot down notes about each scene and chapter - the page numbers, whose point of view it's in, a few words about what happens. This helps me pace myself, so I know when I need a hook to end a scene or chapter, so I know I'm not writing too much in one character's point of view, and so I know when I'm getting close to a turning point (which I do plan out ahead). Lately I've been highlighting the character POV with different colour markers and adding in the plot, subplot or secondary plot that's in the scene also with coloured pens, thanks to the last workshop I took.

So I decided to try a spreadsheet instead of paper and it's been working well. I could use it to plot the whole story, but I just use it to do my scene notes as I go. It shows the word count for each scene as well as the TOTAL word count, and I've got colours for each POV and plot line. It has spaces for the scene goal (which I usually know before I write) and a short summary of the scene (which I don't know until after I write it - sometimes those darn characters just take over!) So I'm pretty happy with my plot spreadsheet!
WIPs and Chains

Okay - what happened to my picture!  Look at the thing go! Do you realize I never knew until just now that it was animated? I wonder if everyone else has been seeing that?  I think I may need to search out a new image! (Not that it's not appropriate for some of my stories!)

I've really been on a writing roll this week! I've been turning out between 2000 and 4000 words nearly every day, and man does it feel good after a long dry spell. Last week I mentioned I'd been working on Gabe's story and then switched over to With Strings Attached. I wrote and wrote on that story up until today, and then went back to Gabe's for a while. Gabe's story is at about 21,000 words and With Strings Attached is over 32,000 so I'm really happy with my progress. In fact, I was so busy writing I forgot to write this blog post yesterday. And now...cracking the WHIP...back to work!
WIPs and Chains
Okay so the picture is ropes not chains...
Well I've been successful at the writing this week! And it feels soooooo good!

I went back to Gabe's story. Sorry, I don't have a better title yet. I suck at titles. Sometimes they come so easy and perfect...and sometimes they just don't come. Did I tell you the story of titling my next EC release? No? Okay!
This story has to have gone through the most titles ever. When I first wrote it I called it What She Really Wants. I didn't like it. In its first incarnation it didn't have the BDSM elements and when I rewrote it I didn't think that really fit. I then named it Taming Carina. I thought it kind of went with the "Taming of the Shew" thing I had going, but I didn't really like that either. When I submitted it to my editor at EC I titled it Power Exchange. PERFECT!!! I loved it, and it went with my last story, Power Struggle. The stories aren't really connected other than by Le Chateau, the club the characters belong to, but I thought having a series of names was good. BUT...that title had already been used. Pout. I had to change it. Not only that, I had to change the hero's name because I'd used an overused name. Now THAT was painful. I'd come to know and love Cole...and suddenly had to change his name. I suggested two other names to my editor and she rejected both of them, one already used, another she felt didn't really give a good sense of the story. Finally, I ended up changing the heroine's name too, to Tara, and naming it Taming Tara, which has a better sound than Taming Carina. But both characters' names had to change. My god it was like changing the names of my teenage children, I tell you.

A little side story.

Anyhoo...I wrote a lot on Gabe's story. Realized I'd screwed up a little on his background, based on what I wrote about him in Power Struggle. Have to fix a few things, but should be easy. Got to a point where I was "written out". I wonder if other writers experience that? I sometimes write and write and write and then I'm just....done. For a while. Like I need to refill the well of inspiration or something. Sometimes it only takes going for a run, or doing something else for an hour...sometimes a little longer. Just need ideas to strike me.

This time instead of going for a run (which would have been healthier, I admit) I went back to another WIP, With String Attached. I read through the 11,000 words I'd written, seems like such a long time ago. It felt so laborious when I was writing that, and I know I was going through a hard time, but when I read! It was sharp and fun and seemed really easy!

My lesson this week: Have faith in your writing. Even when it seems hard, DO IT. (Like Nike says, LOL). Just do it.