Process... A Peek Inside The Writers Toolbox
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!
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.