Sunday, October 27, 2013


It's that time of year in Northern Ohio--sweaters come out of the drawers, extra blankets go on the beds, thermal undies get unpacked. Winter's in the air (and on the ground, if you live east of Cleveland. Surprise!)

Frankly, I like to layer on clothing. A thermal undershirt, a sweater, a jacket. At various times during the day, I'll strip off one or two layers, but keep them at the ready when I need to throw them back on again. Kind of reminds me of the way I write...

Every author I know uses a different process for writing. I just saw a video chat with Julia Quinn where she revealed she writes in circles. She's constantly going back to what she wrote the day before and fixing it before she continues on with her story. One of my critique partners writes various scenes when they come to her, and holds them in a separate folder until they fit into the story line. Me? I write in layers. I begin with a flash first draft, usually devoid of any sensory imagery and details. My main concern is to just get the story line down, to make sure it starts in the right place and that there's enough conflict and depth for a complete story. Once that's done, and I'm about 15,000 words below my goal, I go back to the beginning and start again. I have my sensory checklist and my overused word list and I go scene by scene through the document, checking things off, adding things in--putting an additional layer onto the story.

When the boring checklist portion is over, I'll go back over it again, starting at the beginning and just read it. Things jump out at me that are unexplained, or awkward, and I fix them. I also add more detail to the scene and try to paint the picture that's in my head with words on the paper--another layer.

By my third or fourth pass through my book, it's pretty well fleshed out. Layers of warmth have been added to the skeleton I started with, and the word count is where it should be. If I've over-embellished some of the story, I can remove that section, or if it needs more, I'll add details. While creating the skeleton is the fun part, adding layers creates the depth and conflict that any good romance needs.

So, curl up by a roaring fire when it gets cold outside. Throw a cozy afghan over you, maybe invite the dog into your lap and prepare to be warmed, inside and out, with a good book.

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, your way of writing your story is great! It's also a great way to edit!