I was invited to participate in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour by fellow writer and editor R.G. Emanuelle.
Every author answers the same four questions about her or his writing process and then tags someone else to continue the blog tour.
So here are my answers:
#1 What am I working on?
I used to work on only one thing at the time, but it seems those times are long past.
I just finished the edits of food romance short story “Whining and Dining” today. It will be published in the anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica, edited by R.G. Emanuelle and Andi Marquette.
My short story “Christmas Road Trip” is with my beta readers right now. This one is a bit unusual for me, which is why I wanted a bit more feedback from test readers before I send it off to the editor.
Mainly, though, I’m working on Under a Falling Star, a novella that was meant to be a short story. The main characters were just too fascinating to wrap up the story in 10,000 words. We meet Austen on her very first day as a secretary of a game/toy company. Her first assignment, decorating the Christmas tree in the lobby, results in a trip to the ER when Dee, the company’s second-in-command and a total control freak, tries to rearrange the lights and gets hit by the star-shaped tree topper.
Needless to say that it’s not the head wound that makes Dee swoon over Austen. The problem is just that Austen has no idea who Dee really is…and she won’t be amused when she finds out.
#2 How does my work differ from others in the same genre?
I see a lot of lesbian romances that has their characters fall in love at first sight and jump into bed on page 10. My novels aren’t like that. Since I tend to write longer novels (or short stories that turn into novellas), I have more room for character and relationship development. I can show readers what makes the characters tick—their flaws, their strengths, and the conflicts they have to overcome to find happiness with each other. I’ve heard from a lot of readers who said they really appreciate the chance to get to know the characters that way.
#3 Why do I write what I do?
I guess I write romances because I’m a romantic at heart and because it gives me a chance to focus on a character-driven story that has interesting main characters who are strong yet flawed. I want to write about characters that I and my readers can identify with—not invincible superheroes who save the world on a daily basis, but story people who struggle with their jobs, their families, their fears, or their pasts. I want to create plots that force them to face and overcome their problems, so that, once we reach the last page, they really deserve their happy end.
#4 How does my writing process work?
It depends on the story, but most often, everything starts with the characters. I first work on the main characters and sketch out their background and their personality and figure out what their goals and the conflicts they have to overcome are. Ideally, their goals put them into conflict with each other.
Let’s take Backwards to Oregon, for example: Luke’s goal is to live her life as a man without being discovered. Nora’s goal is to secure a good life for herself and her daughter, so she tries to seduce her new husband, Luke—which would lead to her discovering who Luke really is.
You can easily see how the characters determine the main plot.
I’m a plotter, but the details aren’t set in stone, so the plot can take unexpected turns once I get to know my characters better.
Research also gives me a lot of ideas for scenes that help drive the plot forward. I do a lot of research, maybe even too much. It can become a form of procrastination too.
Now that I write full time, I try to write every day. My daily word count goal is 2,000 words. Sometimes, that takes me three hours; sometimes it takes seven. But even on the days when every word is like pulling teeth, I still think I have the best job in the world!
Next, I’m tagging Barbara Winkes, author of The Interpretation of Love and the Truth, Secrets, Autumn Leaves, and Winter Storm.
I hope you enjoy their blog posts too.