Monday, November 16, 2009

How I Write

I’ve dreamed up the most interesting characters. I capture their story. I proofread their story. Now it’s ready for submission. Right? Wrong!


First, I go through the story again and highlight all of those annoying writing habits I have. I tend to use that and adverbs too often. I always have numerous occurrences of push, pull, thought, saw, heard, felt and watched. Finally, I have issues with the correct use of lay versus lie.


Most of my thats are deleted. Adverbs are replaced with more descriptive phrases or verbs. All of the weak verbs are replaced with the assistance of a thesaurus. I keep a link to an online thesaurus... http://thesaurus.reference.com/ For the lay versus lie issue, I keep a link to Grammar Girl… http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/lay-versus-lie.aspx.


Second, I do a read through and determine where I can add more sensory detail or descriptive sentences.


Third, I send it off to be critiqued. I have a lot of faith in my proofreading skills, but when it comes to my own work, I tend to read what I meant to put down on the paper as opposed to what I actually wrote.


So, I need a critique partner, preferably four.


Two of my critique partners are great at checking for continuity issues. What needs to be fleshed out? What doesn’t make sense? What contradicts? My other two critique partners are great at checking for all those things I overlooked during my own proofreading. What word did I use incorrectly? What would be a better word to convey my meaning?


Fourth, I read through all of the critiques and incorporate suggestions I like and fixes that need to be made.


After one final read through, I submit.


I hope sharing my process helps someone out there!


So, how do you write?


His Hope, Her Salvation, coming December 16th!


Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local inn lead her to a mysterious American merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.


Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart's mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand he answer her plea for help.


Will their passion answer their hearts' pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality?

30 comments:

  1. Lemme see... I have a ghost writer! LOLLLL. Sorry. Couldn't help the bad humor. I used to lie in bed and write 14 hours a day. Before baby. But a lot of pages have been typed, rewritten, and deleted since then. I pretty much follow the same process. But the good news is that you write cleaner and more complete pages with each new project! Which is a good thing because I don't get to write much these days...

    Native-American pictures and research links! Stop by... http://annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com/2009/11/whats-in-pow-wow.html
    ~Skhye

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  2. So, you say, Skhye! I have yet to achieve the clarity in my writing that I had during my early pregnancy. I read some of the stuff I wrote back then and go "Wow. I like that." Now, I stare at the page trying to figure out the right words to put down. But, the fog is slowly clearing. I hope to see the sun sometime soon!

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  3. I love it! My favorite word is 'just', although I must say I like 'that' as well. I used to be a comma queen but have managed to get that under control.
    I hope you guys aren't telling me that I have to get preggers in order to channel some uber-creative writer within because if so, the most I can aspire to will be boringly mundane. :)

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  4. LOL, Autumn! I would not tell anyone to get pregnant just to find their inner muse!

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  5. Your process sounds similar to my own, Emma. First draft, revision for depth and layering, CPs, further revision, proof, submit.

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  6. It's all up to you. And I have a mind to believe that being pregnant had little to do with it. You are a wonderful author preggers or not. That I am sure of!

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  7. Helen, isn't funny how simple it sounds when you summarize it? Six, simple and easy steps to writing. Yeah. Sure. :)

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  8. LOL! How much am I paying you again, Mary? Thanks so much for the compliments and support. You're not so bad yourself! :)

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  9. I'm so happy to read about someone else who uses those words:) I thought it was only me! But I do agree with the critique partner pass-around. Take what fits, rewrite, etc. It's always nice to see what we write through different eyes. Great post, Emma.

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  10. Well, I was relieved to see the comment where we don't have to get pregnant to find our inner muse since I am a grandmother and those days are LONG gone! (grin) But I do tend to go along with write, rewrite...critique...and then as obsessive/compulsive as I am...rewrite the silly thing again. Great post! I enjoyed it. :)

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  11. Thanks, Mickey! Critique partners are great when used properly.

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  12. LOL, Maeve...though you know with modern medicine...

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  13. Hi Emma!

    You make it sound so simple! LOL I'm still trying to figure out my routine. I really enjoyed reading your post. Talk about great timimg! It was great seeing how you utilize your time and resources. :)

    I have CP's and we meet every Friday. It's fun and very relaxing to get out of the house! Go mama time!

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  14. I'm jealous, Sarah. It would be great if I got to meet with my CPs on a regular basis. Good thing we have internet.

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  15. ROFLMAO! You should read the novel I write the month I was on a morphine patch. You will never ever again say your stuff sucks! Clarity... Poppycock. Although, I've revised that novel and added transitions at the sentence by sentence level. Oy! What a nightmare.

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  16. That's WROTE. LOL. No, I didn't slap on a morphine patch today. Husband's home. Add 4 yr old and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Who can focus?

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  17. Wonderful post, Emma! You almost make it sound breezy :) My process is about the same, and I'm the queen of "that."

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  18. I tend to use a lot of "ly" words - personally, profoundly, superbly, etc. Trying to get over that and describe without "ly." Good blog.

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  19. My first editor at TWRP, Kelly Schaub, told me to do a Find on Just, Every, That and Very. Oh my stars! But it can all be fixed. The critical "how I write" element is pacing & STAKES. I have to force myself to raise the stakes for my hero and heroine. I love them! I don't want BAD things to happen to them!!!
    Lynnette Baughman

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  20. Hi Emma,

    I usually write a rough draft and let it sit for a few days/weeks before going over it, fleshing out plot and characters, changing verbs, repetitive words, etc. Then it goes off to be critiqued.

    A critique partner is worth his or her weight in gold!

    Then, like you, I polish and submit.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Drug induced writing, Skhye? Could make for some interesting twists and turns. :) But, so does attempting to write with a bunch of distractions. Where was I? Oh, who cares. This is much more interesting.

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  22. LOL, Pen. I wish it were breezy. Great word by the way. I'm going to have to remember that one. I can picture a lady on a hot summer day waving her hand at her servant in a breezy manner while everyone else around her sweats. Uh oh. Now I'm thinking of sweaty bodies. Better go capture the mood!

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  23. I completely agree Lynnette. We should remember that a lot of things can be fixed during edits, but we probably won't get there if our pacing and plot aren't there.

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  24. Lynne, the problem with me is if I sit on something I have a hard time going back to it. If I'm working on a short, I want it done in a week...that includes critiquing. Anyone want to be my critique partner? I'm not demanding at all. :)

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  25. Hi Emma! Don't get me started about lay vs lie. Ugh!! I usually try to avoid using it all together - or is that altogether? LOL!

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  26. LOL. I'm ALWAYS thinking of of sweaty bodies. Glad I could be of assistance :) I'm the same way about critiquing. I nearly have to sit on my thumbs to keep from e-mailing my critique partner into a nervous breakdown. Don't you want that in your life?

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  27. I'm like Lynne =) As soon as a finish a story it's put away and I return in a month to see what I've got. Of course, that was prior to having a crit partner. This time around, I might give it a week and go back to tighten things up and pass it along.

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