Today Elizabeth Seckman is taking over as part of her Healing summer blog tour. Check out her blog here. I absolutely love reading up on Liz and what she's doing, so go check it out, you will not be disappointed. Liz recently released the second book in her Coulter men series, Healing Summer, and as part of her blog tour, she decided to stop here! (I'm so excited!)
I’m sure you have all figured out by now that I’m absolutely obsessed with the process of writing a novel. I think it’s because I’m hoping that someone can tell me, “No, no, no, if you just do it like this you’ll write a perfect novel on the first go round!” Admittedly, I’d probably tell such a person to stick it in their tax file (you know, where the sun don’t shine…) and keep writing just the way I like. In the meantime I love listening to other authors talk about how they craft novels, and this is what Liz said when I asked her about how she crafts her novels.
My writing process is probably much like most other writers. It starts with an idea, which I allow to grow on its own. I don’t usually write anything at this point. I just ponder on it while mowing the lawn or doing the dishes. Once it starts to jell into something that resembles a plot, I write down a quick synopsis: the story in a nutshell.
Then I make a timeline. I want the story to start here and end there. I decide what I want the characters to learn…you know that theme teachers hounded us to find in stories? Well, I like to decide early on what that will be.
So, now I know what my story is about and I have an outline. I’m almost ready to write.
For each new story, I get a spiral notebook, a folder, and a coupon holder. In the notebook, I make notes and ideas for scenes…maybe bits of conversation. In the folder, I keep research and other tidbits that might be useful later. In the coupon holder, I keep note cards with character sketches and details (I got this tip from a fellow blogger and it’s genius!). No more forgetting a minor characters name, viola…at my finger-tips!
Now I write. The first draft is done without edits. I go straight through. Beginning to end. At times, an idea I think would work great in an earlier chapter will strike… I’ll scribble that in my notebook…”need to add back story for twist in chapter ten in chapter two”, or something like that, but I don’t go back. It’s the forward progress rule. All things move forward.
Then I’m done, all but the twists. Add those and I’m really done.
I put it away and go on to another manuscript.
After about three months, or when I’m certain the story is good and cold, I read back over it. Not to edit, but to read. What parts of the story are good…what has to go. Here is where I cut and chop and get the plot the way I want it. I squeeze in my red herrings, my foreshadowing, and other literary mumbo jumbo I hope makes me look smart.
Then I put it away again.
Once it’s again cooled, I start to edit. This time, in my notebook I write a summary of each chapter and make a note of anything that needs researched or fact checked.
Then when I think it makes sense. I send it to readers. Not Betas. Readers. You know those non-writer types who just read for fun? I want to check the plot before I worry about the style. Do readers like the characters enough to care what happens to them? Are the plot lines believable or are they trite? I ask readers to note all the places they stop reading and why. I only want them to put it down because their kitchen caught on fire.
Once I have their feedback. I tweak the story.
I admit, this is the process I strive for, but I find I still do ninja edits, you know where you go back in during the hands off phase and tweak things. Thanks to Liz for coming over to talk about her process! Healing Summer is now available here and here, and don’t forget to check out Elizabeth at her blog and on facebook. Thanks again for stopping by!
Maybe Love, Not Time, Heals All Wounds
Ditched at the altar…biopsied for cancer…Mollie Hinkle is having a bona fide bitch of a summer. When life sucks so hard it takes your breath away, what's a girl to do? Pack a bag, grab a few friends, and leave the past and the worry in the rear view mirror. What wounds can’t be healed by a drive across the Heartland, where quarter flips at cross roads determine the route and the future? All roads lead to Craig, the second son and bad boy of the haughty Coulter line. Has fate brought her to the miniscule Montana town to find happily ever after or will it just break her heart?
“Healing Summer” is the second book in the Coulter Men Series.