Saturday, September 29, 2012

Year in the Life of an Author - September

I've always thought of September more like New Years than the waning days of the year. So many beginnings seem to happen this time of year.

For me it was beginning a new book. Having turned in my March book, And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake, it was time to get together the proposal and start writing my next book.

I just love starting a new book.

Of course, there are so many decisions to be made--and not the obvious ones you might think. I have to come up with a playlist--the songs I want to use while writing. These become like my own personal inspiration each day. When those first notes come out of my computer, my mind turns immediately to the story at hand. So the songs need to fit the mood of the story.

My favorite kind of notebooks, the Circa Notebook from Levenger
Then I need to build my working notebook for the story. If I am continuing in a series, I pull from previous notebooks the needed parts that I might need to reference: family trees, character notes, story notes that I've been compiling while writing previous books, outlines and pictures. This becomes my right-hand help as I write, my portable version of the book when I have to run the kids around.

And I usually make a Staples run to get new office supplies. Uni-ball pens, good pencils, pads of paper, and whatever notecard or organizing thingy-ma-bob that catches my eye as "necessary" for writing the new book.

Like I said, none of it is what you think--more like getting all the ducks in a row to dig in and do the work.

Because I'll tell you a secret: When I start writing a book, I don't pluck the story from thin air.

I've been mulling that book, writing it if you will, for at least two years before I ever sit down in front of the keyboard. The characters, their story, the challenges before them, the crux of the story is all there, waiting to pour out on the pages. That story has been mulling around on the backburner, simmering for months.

So over the past month, what I've been doing, besides clearing the decks, is also getting that all down. Writing the backstory, writing character notes, scene notes, outlining, and information dumping all that has been stewing.

And now comes the fun part: the story telling.

10 comments:

  1. There's a lot of work going into something that takes a reader so little time to read. Sort of like Thanksgiving dinner....hours of prep work & cooking and 20 minutes to eat!

    Authors often say they have to write because of all the characters running around in their heads....I wonder how schizophrenic authors would be if they couldn't write their stories anymore?

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    1. I am sure my family appreciates my writing for reasons they don't even know... And I love the Thanksgiving dinner comparison! How true.

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  2. That's a lot of work but the end result is worth it to us readers.

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    1. I hope so! In many ways, I love all the work that goes into the story, even if it is devoured in a few hours. I prefer to appreciate ALL the hours the book gets read.

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  3. Hi Elizabeth!

    Congratulations for turning in And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake! I was thrilled that it's scheduled for a March release.

    As a reader I don't think most of us appreciate all the time and background needed before an author can start writing a book because at the time we're so wrapped up in the stories that we forget all the work it takes to bring the story to life.

    Because of that I want to thank you for all the hours of wonderful reading you've given to me and all your readers! Whenever I read one of your new books I'm continually amazed at the historical accuracy and the wonderful development of ALL your characters whether their are the hero and heroine or the secondary characters down to the local parlour maid! You make each one of your characters unforgetable and your readers love the results!

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    1. Jeanne--thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a lovely comment! You are too kind. I always hope that people will love all my characters--not just the hero and heroine. Then again, I have quite the wild family--so secondary characters to me are the true heart of any story . . . or life.

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  4. Much work goes into preparing for publication!
    Congratulations on your great books!
    Cochran

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    1. Thank you! I never look at ALL the work or it might be too daunting. To me it is like this column has shown--it is a combination of months of works that sort of finally and eventually all add up. Much like life!

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  5. Wow Elizabeth! It is fascinating seeing the inner workings of an author's mind. I write reviews and that is not always easy, especially when a story is very complex. Trying to say enough to compel a reader to want to buy a book and read it, but not saying to much to give away the plot. I try to leave my review readers wanting more. I suspect you do the same as you write each page. Building upon the story, characters and plot as you go, compeling the reader to care about the characters and what happens to them next. I applaud you for your awesome talents and the time you spend writing stories to entertain us folks.

    Have an awesome week!

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  6. Thanks Michele! I truly appreciate it when a reviewer doesn't give away too much--I am a rabid spoiler hater. Thanks for taking the time to review stories--as an author, I appreciate your talents as well.

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