I am a panster, and don’t work with a dreaded outline. I fly through the mist and let the characters and story unfold. I love when things happen that surprise me. I write my first drafts on legal pads in large letters, then type it up for my second draft. The idea is that you won’t type the bad stuff – the chaff falls away.
I learned this method from Heather Sellers at the Far Field Writer’s Conference held at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, many years ago. I recycle the legal pads and drive my understanding husband crazy because I do this for at least a half hour every morning, usually in my bathrobe in my home library before I start my work day but also on vacations.
The idea is that you need to use your writing muscle every day, (use it or lose it). I know I would get distracted if I tried to do my first draft on the computer with social media or computer updates. Pen and paper are easy to grab. I do keep my iPad or cell phone handy to do quick research, or simply make an X and fill it in for the second draft. Sometimes I can’t remember a secondary character’s name and I don’t want to break my flow by going into the document in the computer.
I eat breakfast first, and read a romance or other novel while I eat my grapes and sip my coffee to inspire me. I love Lynda Chance, Tessa Bailey, Sierra Cartwright, Kresley Cole, Maya Banks, Louise Erdrich, Alice Munro, Diana Palmer, Samantha Young and Katee Robert, to name a very few. I’m also hooked on Joanna Wylde’s MC books. I also loved loved loved Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” and Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See.”
For books on craft of writing, I love “The Writing Life,” by Annie Dillard, “Goal, Motivation & Conflict” by Debra Dixon, and “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott.
And Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” was invaluable when I was blocked after a health setback. You have to do the work and write pages in a journal every day, but it worked for me.
Well that’s how I do it. I’ve got eight romance novellas under contract with Black Opal Books, three of them are in print and e-books so far. But I wouldn’t be published if I hadn’t joined the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. Without their support, informational and inspirational speakers, it wouldn’t have happened. Fellow member and awesome writer Becca Johnson urged me to submit to her publisher when I was about to give the whole thing up.
My parents have signed copies of my books. I asked them to read the dedications but not the book, which Becca says are “sexy,” not “erotic.” My dad says that it’s not that he wouldn’t read a book with a sex scene in it, but it’s that his daughter wrote it.