Blog hop–Writing Process

I was invited by Stacey Zink to participate in this blog hop on my writing process. Stacey is a wonderful crit partner and writes beautiful stories in quite a variety of settings. From the Civil War Era to a contemporary Amish setting, this girl has talent all over the place! She’s one of my beloved “online” friends–we’ve never actually met in person, but hopefully we will this fall!

Ok so I get to answer the following questions:

 

1) What am I working on?

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

3) Why do I write what I do?

4) How does your writing process work?

 

1) What am I working on?

My current work in progress is a historical novel set in England. The main character is a boarding school instructor who’s more interested in teaching the naive young women at the school how to understand men–and thus have happy marriages–than elocution. However, this “expert” on men is hiding her own messy love life from everyone at the school.

 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work is based on true stories people have told me. I’ve shared before on this blog about my passion for engaging people otherwise forgotten–that’s where I find most of my stories. Of course, the first book came from my very own grandma, but after that, I discovered a bevy of stories hidden away in many of the forgotten residents of nursing homes, retirement centers, and housebound invalids. Their stories are recorded in my novels so they’ll never be forgotten.

 

3) Why do I write what I do?

My hope is that others might see the value in the people around them so easily forgotten by others. God uniquely created each person, and sometimes we can lose sight of the value He sees in every individual. Sometimes it’s the shy kid in junior high, and other times it’s an elderly woman society seems to write off. We’ve all felt alone or forgotten at some point, and God has filled me with empathy for those who are currently experiencing it. Everyone has a story, and each person deserves to be loved and “seen” by someone.

 

4) How does your writing process work?

Usually I’m going about life, not looking for a story idea, and then someone drops an amazing story in my lap. It often comes when I explain, “I like to write novels based on true stories.” That almost always leads to, “Oh really! Well, let me tell you…”

I go home with the story simmering in my mind, sparking to life. I can’t stop thinking about it. As I do my devotions, little things I’m learning seem to fit into the story I’ve heard. My mind begins filling in the little holes and creating scenes and developing characters.

I usually move to a word document, complete with table of contents, for all my thoughts and notes. My notes include pictures of setting and characters, lots of lines of dialogue or truths to include, era details and facts, and the subplot threads.

Sometime during the note taking season, an opening line strikes me. It’s that love-at-first-sight feeling, of “Yes! That’s it!” I quickly jot it into a new word document and then look through my notes again. I pour out as many words as I can, until I hit a brick wall. I set it aside and continue with life till a movie, a conversation, or a random idea will spark the next turn in the novel.

As I write, I continue taking notes, laying the project before the Lord, and revisiting the story’s original story teller. I often stop to read the story from the beginning, editing as I go, until I get back into the flow of it.

Then, when I write “the end,” hubby makes me a confetti cake with cream cheese frosting and we celebrate together. After that, I’m allowed to read the book to him. (Reading it while it’s in-process results in many “I need to start over, I changed a lot” moments. So really, this is a fair system.)

Then it’s off to the beta readers!

My writing process is different than most others because my writing purpose is different. A huge part of the process is conversations with the original story teller. I believe this is a large reason for God calling me to write in the first place. There are people out there who simply need to be heard, to be seen, to be taken out of the “forgotten” season.

 

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