10/20 CYBORGS by Grace Goodwin, Author of the Interstellar Brides Series

Friday, April 11, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

By Diana McCollum

I want to give a shout out and thank you to Kate Curran at http://katecurran3.blogspot.com who tagged me in the Blog Hop. Kate is the author of  “Only For You and “Falling For You” two wonderful contemporary romances.

In February I published the “Love& Magick” anthology with Sarah Raplee and Judith Ashley.  What I am working on now is the story of Ella Stone.  She is one of the witches featured in the story “The Crystal Witch”, from the “Love & Magick” anthology.  I plan on doing a short story about each of the witches in the coven.  At some point, I’ll release the series of short stories as “The Costal Coven series”.

When starting a new manuscript, I start with my characters and a premise.  In “Love & Magick” I knew I wanted Hettie to be a witch from the 1600’s who travels to the present day.  I started with that, added my cast of characters and began to weave the plot.

Now I’ve found I have to tell the stories of the other witches from Hettie’s story. 

They all want to be heard!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I don’t mind adding several different paranormal elements to my romances. For instance, Ella’s story will have witches and some mythological characters.  Individual authors each have their own voice and I believe this is the major thing that sets each author apart.  This is what makes one Vampire book different from the next Vampire book.  I always have to have a Happily Ever After.

I enjoy writing stories with magic or paranormal elements.  I find it entertaining, so it must be entertaining to my readers too.

I strive to write every day.  Some days are more productive than others.  I now follow an online group of writers through, Rose City Romance Writers, who all encourage each other daily and this accountability has increased my daily word count.

I try to do a straight write through to the end on the first draft.  However, I am constantly fighting with my inner editor, who wants to go back and edit the previous work.  I made a deal with the IE that she could only edit and re-read the previous two pages each morning right before I begin to write.  She seems to be satisfied with this arrangement.

After the first draft is complete, it is time for revisions, editing, finding stronger words, or a new way of saying something.  Another go through for setting, details, powerful emotions, make sure eye, hair color stayed the same.  Find weasel words like: that, as, it, just, very or any over used words and replace, and when I’m sure  the manuscript is the best it can be, off it goes to the editor.

When the manuscript comes back, I sit my butt in the chair, Internal Editor on my shoulder, and we work really hard on fixing what needs to be fixed.  This process can take as almost as long as writing the original draft.

Then off to Beta Readers.  Back for any corrections, and then it’s published.

I want each story to be the best it can be.  My readers should expect an escape from reality, and a love story to boot.

What comes first in your writing process characters, title, premise or ...?

Bio of next authors to share their writing process & Links:
April 18th- 
If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria, award winning author and best selling author of Short Romances, invites you to enter the pages of her romances and find happily ever after. 

Cyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting heartwarming romances with a dash of American folklore.

On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily ever after at www.cyndifaria.com

April 18th-
With sixteen published books, four novellas, and two anthologies, award-winning author, Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters in her head. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon, and interests in local history and the world around her, keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. 

April 22-
Sarah Raplee honed her love of adventure growing up on a tropical island. After high school, Sarah married her firefighter-cum-Coast Guardsman boyfriend, who is the inspiration for all her heroes. Paranormal experiences run in Sarah’s family, so naturally she writes paranormal romance stories. Her stories examine difficult issues with humor and insight. She writes to entertain, educate and uplift her readers. Plus, writing is more fun than most of the alternatives!
Sarah and her husband have settled near Portland, Oregon, with a cat who loves to fetch, a German Shorthair who doesn’t and a feline phantom who ignores them both.
Blog: http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.com


Paty Jager said...

It's always interesting hearing an authors writing process. Looking forward to reading Love & Magick. It' son my kindle waiting for some down time.

Louise Pelzl said...

Diana, Loved your post. It is interesting to see how you process through your story. Great job. Loved your book.

Shobhan Bantwal said...

Enjoyed reading this post. Keep up the good work, Diana!

Diana McCollum said...

Thanks, Paty. I really admire you and all the research you do for your books.

Thanks for stopping by, Louise. I'm patiently waiting for your debut book. :)

Hi, Shobhan, thanks for the encouraging words.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for the FTB (finish the book) shout out, Diana. You've certainly nailed why we have it.

My process is to sit down and write the first draft straight through. If a section doesn't flow, I make a comment in bold or highlight something and move on. I know I can always "fix" something later - if I try to edit as I go (which I first did) 4 - 5 years later the book still wasn't done!

I do pay attention to those over-used weasel words even on the first draft and definitely on the second and third. I have a purpose for each of those drafts such as strengthening the story line, description, emotion, conflict. I tend to work on those things simultaneously instead of making a separate pass on each one.

Good luck on the blog hop!

Maggie Lynch said...

Really happy to see your process, Diana. It sounds like you are a short story writer rather than a novel writer. Is that true? Or do you not have a novel length idea yet?

I started off writing only short stories for the first 20 years of my career. That was because I worked a lot of hours at the day job and I liked the immediacy of getting paid whenever I sold a short story to a magazine or anthology.

However, I always longed to write novels and once I finished one that is primarily the way my mind thinks. Though I still write short stories today and sell them (nice side income between novels) I find them really hard to keep short. Once I start I can think of how they would morph into a novel. That's dangerous because it puts at least ten more novel possibilities into my already distracting thought process. :)

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Diana! It sounds like you've got a good handle on your process.

Jessa Slade said...

So fun to see how other writers do it. I'm always hoping to pick up tips to make it easier! :)

Elaine Rogoza said...

Thank you for sharing, Diana and everyone! I have a similar first draft process to yours that is circular, looping back a little way to re-ground, then moving forward. I so admire writers who can produce shorter stories – that takes an incredible talent. My first drafts are typically 500+ pages :-).

Kate Curran said...


Loved the blog and your writing process reminds me of mine and that infernal internal editor who pops up at the worst times. No matter how much I tell her not now she refuses to listen.