BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Process and Advice

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received came from a veteran author right after I sold my first book. She told me that the writing process changes and not to fight to do things the way I'd done them in the past. Basically, the message was go with the flow.

Little did I realize at the time just how much the process would change from book to book. With my first few books, the changes were dramatic. As I wrote more, the differences weren't quite as radical, but they were still there and noticeable. Even now, after being published for fourteen years (gah!), things continue to shift.

Examples would be useful here. My first couple of books were very much seat of the pants projects. As in I had a rough, general idea where I was headed, but nothing more than that. Most of the time I didn't know the ending, I just had a scene farther into the book that I was aiming to reach.

By the time I started working on In the Midnight Hour, things had changed a bit. I'd synopses in the past, kind of a rough sketch of the book, but with Midnight, I started doing something I call Chapter Goals or Scene Goals, depending on how much stuff needed to happen and how quickly. What I did with these goals was when I finished one chapter/scene, I'd sit down with a piece of paper and figure out what needed to happen next. Or what's the goal/purpose of this scene/chapter?

After writing a number of novellas, my process changed subconsciously. I seriously didn't recognize it until I tried to write a full-length story again. Novellas require a spareness because there are so few words available. Now I'm trying to break that habit of brevity.

But despite all these changes that have happened over the years, I've never panicked about them because of the advice I received at the beginning. Process changes. Go with the flow. Wise words.