Thanks for having me here at Romance Junkies. When I was invited to blog, I was asked to write about my writing process, and to tell you the truth, the idea sent me into a panic. A writing process? I’m supposed to have a process? I guess I must, since I do write books and they get written in a relatively timely manner. Still, I wouldn’t call it a process but if I have one, here it is.
An idea pops into my head, sometimes while speaking with my editor and usually after she says “What’s the plan for your next book?” As you’ll see, I’m not big on planning. I think much better on my feet. I usually wing it and thank God when she smiles and likes my ideas.
I was at RWA’s National Conference when I “pitched” Breakfast in Bed and As Good as He Gets. My editor liked both, and asked for Breakfast in Bed first. That worked for me. I was just finishing up Too Hot to Handle at the time. After I got home, I wrote a synopsis as part of a proposal and sent it to my agent. Once she was happy with the proposal, my agent sent it to my editor.
Once there was a deal, I had a deadline and a four-page synopsis that started with a germ of an idea. All I needed to was expand it into a book. This is when the fun begins. I get to write.
I use Michael Hague’s Six Stage Plot Structure. It makes sense to me. Before I write, I know the Opportunity, the Change of Plans, the Point of No Return, the Major Setback, and the Climax. I might not know how I’ll get from point to point, but I always seem to figure it out so I try not to worry about it.
The first three chapters seem to take me as long to write as the next 17. I go nuts. I think every word is crap. I start it in five different places, and finally, when I think I’m going to toss the whole thing, I’ll go to a conference, listen to conference CDs, or talk to my critique partners and I’ll have an epiphany.
I keep on moving forward and work off the synopsis and turning points. While I’m writing, I learn things about my characters and sometimes what I learn changes the turning points. I adjust.
Everyday, I edit what I wrote the day before and then I move forward. The problems I don’t catch, my critique partners do. They’ll make suggestions and tell me if something reads awkwardly to them, but other than that, what I write usually stays pretty much the way it I type it in the first time.
When I go off track, it takes me a scene or two before I know it’s not working. In As Good as He Gets, the book I’m finishing up now, I went off track and tossed 2,000 words—about a day’s work. I wasn’t happy about it, but I backtracked and found a new direction.
When I get stuck, like last weekend, I brainstorm with my critique partners, my friends at Starbucks where I write, and/or sleep on it. Sometimes answers come to me right away, sometimes it takes a day or two, sometimes I get a phone call from my CP saying “I’ve got it!” That’s what happened on Monday, thank God. Have I told you how much I love my critique partners? Thanks to them, knock wood, I’ve always figured something out so I try not to worry about that either. Are you seeing a theme emerging?
I’m afraid to look at my process too closely because whatever I’m doing, it’s working. Would I like it to go faster? Yes. Would I like it to be more predictable? Sure. But there’s so much I don’t understand about how I write, I’m afraid to mess with it for fear that whatever changes I make, will have a ripple effect, and not in a good way.
I remember the day I went into a plotting workshop everyone said was not to be missed. And I’ll bet for 99% of the people in the room, it was a wonderful experience. For me, it was a nightmare. By the time the workshop was over, I was a basket case. I knew I was doing everything wrong. I looked at the graphs, squares, and pages of other notes I painstakingly copied, and my eyes glazed over. I was paralyzed.
It took me a while before I realized that I’m different. Good or bad, my brain doesn’t work the way most others seem to—my brain just gets to the destination by a different path than most. Still, it’s a mystery to me how characters and plots get into my head and end up between the pages of a book. I think when it comes to magic or miracles, it’s best not to look too closely. I don’t want to jinx it.
If you want a sneak peek at the first chapter of Breakfast in Bed, Romeo, Romeo or Too Hot to Handle, they’re on my website along with the Domestic Gods Top Ten List, reviews and a calendar of my blog tour. I’ll be giving away a copy of Breakfast in Bed to a lucky commenter with this and every blog throughout the month of January so stop by and say hi for your chance to win.
About the Author
Award-winning author Robin Kaye is a professional writer and winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her first novel, Romeo, Romeo. Once it was published, Romeo, Romeo won the 2008 Best Contemporary itRom (Italian Romance) Award by Romance B(u)y the Book, the 2009 HOLT Medallion for Best Romantic Comedy, and the 2009 NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Single Title. Her romantic comedies feature sexy, nurturing heroes and feisty, independent heroines. She lives with her husband and three children in Mount Airy, Maryland. For more information, please visit her at http://www.RobinKayeWrites.com
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