Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Blogger: Addison Fox

Have y'all recovered from your sugar comas yet? :) Happy Halloween Daze! Today, we're gonna jump right into winter with my fellow Ruby Slippered Sister, Addison Fox. She's gracious enough to give us some insight into her writing process, and give away a copy of her new book, Baby, It's Cold Outside. So scoot over and make room on the teeter totter for Addison (we'll share our leftover M&Ms, I promise!).

Process... A Peek Inside The Writers Toolbox













First of all, my thanks to the Writing Playground for having me back to play. I love visiting these gals and am so excited to come back and play! And an extra-special thank you to Angel for inviting me back!

So I had someone ask me a question recently that’s had me thinking. I sort of just answered it off the cuff, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I keep thinking about it, if you know what I mean.

My new contemporary series is about to launch with BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE and up to now, all of my published work has been paranormal. The question posed to me was how different I found it writing contemporary versus paranormal. And my answer…

I didn’t find it different at all.

Literally – not one bit.

And what I’ve found, as I’ve thought about the question over the past week, is that how I write and what I write are inextricably linked. For me, the “how” is character driven. I’ve yet to write a story where the characters didn’t come to me first. Even in cases where I had a sense of the plot more firmly in my mind, it always comes down to characters. And the “what” is the story I’m going to wrap around them.

For me, the process of getting them from the “how” to the “what” simply doesn’t change. The process of telling “their” story (because we all know those characters become very real people in our minds) is my writer’s journey – not the world I’ve set them in.

After thinking about this for a while, I also began to understand why I write romance (seriously, I’m sure my friend had absolutely no idea she’d send me down this path of self-discovery!). While I’m an avid reader across genres, I’ve never thought about writing anything but romance. And I think it’s because for me, the fun in telling the love story is the joy in figuring out what makes these two people tick.

All of this self-discovery has only reinforced something I’ve believed for a long time now – that a writer’s process is sacrosanct. There is no class that will teach you about your process because it’s as personal and distinct as your fingerprint. In fact, if there’s one single thing I would like every writer starting out to believe – “live it, breathe it, be it” sort of belief – is that your process is not only special, but it’s the thing that makes you unique. None of this is to say that there isn’t always room to improve craft, technique, etc, but it also means that how you get the words on the page is your special gift and it’s not to be trifled with!



OK – Stepping off soapbox now!

So….now that I’ve rambled about process, I’d love to hear from you. As writers, what have you discovered on your writers journey that helps you understand your process? As readers, are you drawn to the characters or the plot first? One lucky poster will get a copy of my new release BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – choice of format is up to you.

Happy Writing!
Addison






Check in later this week to find out Addison's winner!




Kate Walkers' winner from last week was Chey! Please contact Kate with your contact information. Also, don't forget to click on the link in the sidebar to enter the September-October Playgroud Contest! Today's the last day!



Angel

23 comments:

Laurie G said...

I'd have to say that they are intertwined. I have to meet the characters first but it 's the situation and how they react to it that gives the characters their dimension, their uniqueness.

Addison Your book sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

johnslake at usa dot com

Addison said...

Laurie:

That's a great point - we can see these characters in our mind's eye, but the situations we put them in are how the readers come to understand who they are.

And thanks for your lovely note - I'm really enjoying working on this series!

Addison

Playground Monitor said...

ARGH! I got a trick from Blogger instead of a treat. It ate my reply. Let's see if I can recreate it.

My process took a hit when life stepped in a couple years ago and stopped cold in its tracks. I start a new book for NaNoWriMo tomorrow and I hope I can thaw things out. A couple weeks ago all I knew was my heroine is an image consultant and someone told her, "I don't care if he's your old boyfriend, you're broke and you can't turn down this job."

Now I have a cast of characters, a location and something resembling a plot. I've enjoyed listening to the characters (along with my brainstorming buddy) as they've revealed themselves to me. I just hope they weren't lying. ~grin~

Welcome back to the Playground!

Instigator said...

Thanks for visiting with us, Addison!

I love hearing about other writers' processes. It's sort of like eavesdropping in on someone else's conversation (another pastime of mine). I always learn something intersting.

For me, my process has evolved. I used to write in the tub - and if I'm stuck I'll still go back there. But lately I haven't been able to do that because I'm working so quickly I can't wait for a night when I have the time to indulge. So I've started working with music blaring in my ears. I think both activities are different sides of the same coin. They let me block out all the distractions around me and concentrate on the story I'm trying to tell.

Insti

Addison said...

Hey there, Ms. Monitor!!

Thanks for the warm welcome. And wishing you a very successful NANO!!!

Addison

Addison said...

Ms. Instigator-

I know EXACTLY what you mean about the eavesdropping...it's so fascinating to know how someone else's brain works!

And I'm laughing about the tub - you're the second writer in a week I've heard talk about writing in the tub!

Addison

Vivi Andrews said...

Ack! I had this great eloquent response and the computer ate it!

Okay... Take two...

So true that the process is unique to each of us. Respect the process, baby!

My starting point (plot or character) depends on if I "know" the characters from a previous book in the series, but it's always about finding the perfect plot for those characters or the perfect characters for that plot. When I have the marriage of the two - so that they ONLY exist as a pair - then I'm ready to go.

Best wishes with Baby It's Cold Outside, Addison!

~Vivi

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome back, Addison.

I've recently had similar thoughts while talking to my agent. In explaining the different projects I had, I realized I sound kinda flaky. A mystery, a paranormal, a suspense, a this, a that... I've been trying different things to make the leap to a sale, which worked. But what I told her is that regardless of genre, the core of my voice and my characterization is the same. Whether my quirky heroine is being chased by bad guys, werewolves or CEO millionaires, the basic elements of what makes me a unique writer is the same and my process stays the same as well.

Addison said...

Vivi:

That's a great point - knowing characters from a previous book does have an impact as well. I personally enjoy the things you find out when your secondary characters from one book leap over and get their own story....the hidden depths of their character that get uncovered in the process of writing their story.

And thanks so much for the good wishes!!

Addison

Addison said...

Ms. SmartyPants-

You are so right. I think that's also the difference between the marketing side of what we do and the creative side.

Our creative side wants to play across all these different areas because they're fun puzzles to solve...and the marketing side of the business wants us to sit still and focus on one area to build readership.

It's such an interesting mix of both sides of our brain as we look to bring our work to readers. :-)

Addison

Problem Child said...

~inhaling chocolate because the process isn't working today~

I always start with characters in a situation. Finding out who those people are and why they are in that situation is the tricky part... ~grin~

Thanks for being here today, Addison!

Angel said...

Okay, I have to admit to being the plotter here... but I think it still works in a similar way. Usually the plot or setting comes to me first, but as I look at it from various angles, characters emerge that fit that basic situation. Then the plot contiues to evolve, based on their reactions to various elements. Make sense?

So glad you're here today Addison! And I love, love, love this cover. I'm usually more one for dark, bold covers, but I look at this one and feel the chill and magic of snow. Very evocative!

Angel said...

I'll admit, with all the problems blogger is having with comments today, I copied mine before trying to post it. :)

Addison said...

Hey Ms. Problem Child-

I am SO with you on the chocolate. In fact, I've learned a very important lesson....stubborn characters and Halloween candy are a DANGEROUS combination!!

Addison

Addison said...

Ms. Angel-

Thanks so much for having me!! You guys are so much fun and so welcoming to your playground visitors.

And thank you for your compliments on the cover - I am in absolute awe of the NAL art department. They did such a beautiful job and really evoked such a fun feeling for the book.

Addison

catslady said...

Definiitely the characters for me. Once I care about the characters then the author could probably take me anywhere she wants with the plot.

Addison said...

Catslady:

You make a great point. As I think about the books on my keeper shelf, I may or may not remember the plot, but I can ALWAYS tell you about the characters!

Addison

Bev Pettersen said...

I have to let my characters lead me. If I plot too much, things don't go smoothly. Congratulations on your new book, Addison!

Diana Layne said...

Enjoyed reading your process. I don't want to try to analyze mine, I sort of plot, sort of don't. I do make scene cards, but there's been many times I've had to adjust them. I know, too, if I'm going the wrong direction, I get blocked, which is quite irritating when I'm trying to write fast. good luck with your new series!

Addison said...

Bev:

Thanks so much! I've had a lot of fun with this book - I'm so excited it's finally out.

And we'll add another writer to the "character-driven" list!! :-)

Addison

Addison said...

Diana:

Thanks for the good wishes.

And to your point about getting blocked - I'm amazed how often that's a blinking neon sign to tell us we need to go back and fix something!!

Addison

Anonymous said...

I say both affect what I will read, congrats on your new book and great reviews whooo
Kimh

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Congrats on the release of Baby, It's Cold Outside, Addison!

For me, it's the characters who take the wheel and drive my stories. They often take me on hairpin bends. It's a rough ride sometimes!

Fab post!