The Writerly Process

The fabulously talented C. Morgan Kennedy sweet-talked me into becoming part of this blog chain. Well, actually, I kinda figured I owed her since she introduced me to one of the BESTEST restaurants in the Portland area. But that’s another story. . ..

Anyhoo, we’re all supposed to answer some questions about our writing process, so here goes:

1) What am I working on? I just finished a draft of a third book in a series, the first of which sold to Entangled Publishing last year. The hero, Ian Savage, made an appearance in the first two books, but demanded I tell his story. What can I say? I’m a sucker for intelligent, sexy, brooding men! 😉

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? Oooh, good one. I tend to write stories that deal with some harsh realities, but in an uber-light, fun way. Because, really, you gotta laugh at some of what life throws at you, right? It’s how some of us stay sane. Others eat chocolate and move on. . ..

3) Why do I write what I write? Well, my life’s sometimes so intense and filled with drama, I can’t help but take cues from what’s around me.

For one story, the idea for the hero came from my wanting to kill someone. Please note I DID NOT DO IT! After roughly five hours of thinking about how I might do it, I decided the dude had to have some humanity in him. After all, he had a wife and kids who adored him.

Okay, okay. So that thought was a huge stretch for me, but still. . . I wondered about the dude’s back story, about what made him who he was (and still is – because he’s NOT DEAD). I didn’t know him personally, so I made up a past. (I refuse to believe I’m the only author who does this!) The New Dude I’d created in my mind morphed into Daniel Spencer, the hero in MERGER OF THE HEART. . ..The book I eventually sold. Did I mention that life’s ironic? 🙂

4) How does my writing process work? Has this ever evolved over the years! Nowadays, I start with a main trope, and then build supporting tropes around it. After that, I really need to know my peeps. Like, everything about them. Not that it’ll all go into the story, but it helps me figure out who they are and why they do what they do. I then plot out both the internal and external journeys for the hero and the heroine, then it all goes onto a storyboard. From there, I do notebook pages for each character in each scene. And then I write the draft. After that’s done, it typically sits for at least two weeks. Maybe. After a few passes, the story goes to my critique partners who joyfully pick it apart like a bunch of crows at road kill. (Lucky me!) Then it’s a few more edits before I think it’s submission-worthy.

And to think I initially thought writing would be easy. . .. Of course, that’s before I actually learned about story structure and characters and tags and. . . Yeah, I had A LOT to learn!

So to keep the chain going, I’ve got a couple of other author-friends lined up for you to follow. They’ll be posting on February 10th, but you don’t have to wait to check them out!

With sixteen published books, four novellas, and two anthologies, award-winning author Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters in her head. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon, and intests in local history and the world around her, keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog:, her website: or on Facebook:!/paty.jager and twitter: @patyjag

Author Kylie Wolfe considers herself normal in every way. . .. Except that she carries on conversations with her story characters on a regular basis.  Her debut novel, RAYVEN’S KEEP, was published with Lyrical Press last year. You can learn more about her through her blog:

Happy reading,

Partying With My Roses

Ah, the holidays.  Presents.  And decorations.  And parties – the best part! Recently, my RWA chapter, Rose City Romance Writers, got together to celebrate – minus the holiday champagne.  I was having such a great time sucking in writing brilliance from my chapter mates, I didn’t snap pics of EVERYTHING.  (Surprising, I know!)

With Kylie Wolfe, Tammie King, and Laurel Newberry
With Kylie Wolfe, Tammie King, and Laurel Newberry
Me and Therese Patrick
Me and Terri Patrick

Anywho, a couple of pics, great writing friends, and awesome conversation, and the party was over too quickly.  (Personally, I like Jessa Slade’s suggestion that we party once a quarter!)  Some snippets of conversational wisdom:

1.  Rejection is a good thing.  When rejections are announced, we all cheer, ’cause it means a writer is getting her precious work out into the world.

2.  In a world of rejections, writers need to remember to bask in the things that do go well — meeting deadlines, a positive comment from a critique partner, or even one from the editor / agent who rejected the submission.  It’s too easy to get pulled down in this business, and without looking at the positive things we do well, no matter how small, our writing could suffer.  We definitely don’t want that!

3.  Having a debut book is crazy exciting!  Ask any author.  🙂

4.  Lightning strikes create bestsellers.  Authors should be out there with a lightning rod AND an umbrella.  The book needs a certain “something something” that causes it to take off, besides good writing, ’cause, let’s face it, there are always books we all feel should be best sellers — like our own!  😉

5.  Roses are generous people.  Not only were writing and industry advice freely given, we also collected donations for a women’s shelter.  Whether we like it or not, there are those around us who are in far greater need than we could even imagine.

The holidays are busy.  I get that.  But it should also be a time to slow down enough to visit with family and friends, and to reflect on what makes this time of year special for each of us.  You know, you gotta stop and drink the champagne!

What are your holiday celebrations like?