I’m working on a new novel and am creating a new process to do so.
Before the turbulence of social media, ereaders, and big life events the past decade, I had a process for writing romance novels. This was before I attended writer conferences or workshops. I didn’t have a plan for my stories, or even a plot, but I had a process I enjoyed.
I was a pantser, which means I wrote forward on my story with a vague idea of the end, and a confidence that I would get there. And I did. Then it was time to celebrate before I began the next draft. I didn’t know about GMC; The Heroes Journey, or the three-act-six-point plot structure, or turning points, or character arcs, or Story Engineering.
I did know revising and multiple drafts were the process of writing. The only writing advice I heard a decade ago was – “Writing is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration.”
While in the throes of a draft, I remained focused on my story from first page until the end. No distractions beyond the day-job, my girls activities, family, friends, and pets. Only one story in my head at a time. Between drafts I would read at least two contemporary romances, one book on the craft of writing, and then a book for fun that was none of the above.
I’ve only written a third of my first draft, but I have now storyboarded and plotted all the way to The End! So that’s good for a reading break in my new novel writing process.
Here’s what I just read, and both were great and very different from each other and my own story.
This is a charming story of a wedding gone wrong through mistakes and angelic nudges. Its texture is layered with multiple point-of-view characters and even the bride-zilla shows her endearing side.
Set within a Catholic Church, the style feels like a watercolor painting of a wedding – with lots of Catholic guilt and grief. I found it a highly enjoyable read.
This is a delectable romantic journey in designer and vintage clothing, through historic landmarks of Sausalito, and the nirvana of delicious cheesecake.
The beauty of this story lies in the heroine’s emotional contradictions. Her inner desire is for a secure and cozy home and happy family. But she is also focused on the dreams and reputations, and agendas, of the prior three generations of eccentric women in her family. The style of this story puts it at the top of the genre class, and the brass TUB and bathing rituals are beyond awesome.
My craft book is Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass and should arrive soon. Until then, I’ll focus on writing the first draft. I will be attending an all day workshop presented by Mr. Maass in 4 weeks too.
I expect my new process will mean a greater percentage of inspiration and less sweat. My girls are grown and in their own homes, there is only one pet (a 15 yr old cat) and writing is my day job. It feels good.