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My Writing Process

Wait... There's a process?

This is probably the biggest thing that makes writers think they're doing something wrong. X Author has their shit together and puts out twenty books a year and they outline everything. Y Author only puts out four titles a year and they just sit down and write the book as they come. Both are successful, and from a new author's perspective, they wonder which way they should go.

Start here: THERE IS NO PROCESS! It is whatever works for YOU! Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and figure out how you work best.

If you're anything like me (I'm sorry if you are because my brain is a hot mess on a good day), then your "process" will be very fluid. I learned a long time ago that hard and fast rules are the bane of my writing. If I'm told that I absolutely HAVE TO do it THIS WAY, then my creative side just stops flowing. She's a rebel like that.

So, if chaos rules my brain, how do I accommodate that to make sure I'm working?

I go with what feels right for each book!

1) I always have notes. Sometimes, they're only one sentence long, but that's my starting point. I'm usually in the middle of several other projects when an idea hits, and I will write down everything that comes to mind immediately, so I don't forget later. I have notebooks, phone notes, & voice notes hanging around to go back to later.

2) I don't always use my notes. Wild, right? Sometimes, I start writing down those nagging ideas for a new story, and a week later, I have an entire first draft of a book that was written start to finish without the first note involved beyond a blip of a blur/idea I started with.

3) Sometimes, I take notes as I write (or after I finish writing one book in what will now become a series). See example below.

If, after writing a stand alone, I think it could be a series, I will go through during initial edits/re-writes and clip notes to my story everywhere a new character showed up, a new setting was introduced, or any major event. (I try to do this as I go, but sometimes it kills the writing flow to stop and add comments, so it's possible that I add the comments during the first editing/re-write stage) That way, I can keep all the information straight, be able to double-check appearances, backstory info, etc. when I'm editing or moving forward with another book in the series. (Example above is from one of my WIPs, Waging War).

4) In the event of a large WORLD of books (multiple series), I have my Series Bible that I can drag out. I've shown off my Aces High MC World Bible to readers before, but here is a glimpse...

* First, there is the series and book titles list. As you can see, it can get a little messy as I go back and decide to add books or change book orders within the series.

* Then there are the simple blurbs/summaries for each book, so that I know what's coming (sometimes, I change things up when I'm ready to write, but usually it remains the same). Sometimes a quick blurb or summary is all that I use to start the story and then I simply write... (Example below with Aces High MC - Tallahassee's first two books.) As you can see, I didn't need much for Crushed because it was ready to flow as is from my brain to the computer. And yes, this paper looks old because it is. I planned this series/world MANY, MANY years ago. There are currently 19 books published in the Aces High MC and S.H.E. MC interconnected worlds. There will be 48-50 titles when the world is finished. Plus there are a few spin-off series (Earthbound Souls MC, Permanent Marks (Charleston Tattoo Series), and Renegade Rosy's - the Dancers' Series). It's a huge world.

* Sometimes, a book will get a complete outline long before I ever start. This happens most of the time when working on planning a series. I'll start writing the summary and get swept away until a complete outline is there. (Below is a written example) Other times, the outlines are simply typed into the awaiting manuscript document. I handwrite a lot for two reasons (it helps with my attention issues to not be on electronics and it helps to preserve my eyeballs from the dreaded blue light damage/eye fatigue blur).

* There are also times when I get so hyper focused (while writing the outline) that I end up writing whole scenes as well.

* The extras - sometimes, I need visuals. I do a lot of research, and while these are fictional stories and worlds, I base a lot of it in real places. The "old" clubhouse in the AHMC - Tallahassee Series was an actual church in real life. I used the layout to create the clubhouse. The "new" clubhouse was a defunct outlet mall that I found for sale while researching. I was able to take the layout of the outlet mall and change it over to what the club would create for their "compound". AND I DREW A MAP, so I wouldn't forget where everything was located. Not a word about my fabulous mapmaking skills!

Some books are planned and plotted while others are a fly by the seat of my pants endeavor that ends when I type the final words. There is no ONE way for me to write a book. Some people are comfortable finding the one that works for them. Others try to emulate their favorite authors and the process they state they use. If it works for you - GREAT! If it doesn't, don't be afraid to experiment and don't be afraid to change things up per book, if that's what is necessary to make your literary magic!


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