Section #3: The Creative Process
- Where do you get your story ideas?
Like most people, my ideas tend to come from everywhere. I do have a lot of ideas right before I fall asleep. So I keep paper and pencil there just for that reason, though I use the hall light to avoid waking up my husband.
- Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve heard that I have an old-fashioned voice. Someone once compared my writing to an Errol Flynn movie.
- How do you deal with writer’s block?
I take a walk or clean house. I never have writer’s block for long. When it comes along, it usually means something is wrong with my manuscript and needs to be changed.
- How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t use any particular method. I just daydream about them a lot, which leads to a lot of people talking to me and being ignored.
- Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?
Panster! All my plotting is done in my head. I usually have a general direction toward which I try and steer the story. The only time I do any on paper plotting is when I write the ending of a complex story. Then I use Word to jot down ideas or threads I need to make sure and complete. I can color code each idea as I either use it or reject it. I find the color coding really works for me. Orange for something I completed. Red for something still to be finished. Green for something I decided against using.
- Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I rely on critique partners. I would be nowhere without them. I used to be afraid to share my work with others, but that soon vanished. Now I fling my chapters to anyone that will read them. Often I don’t even wait for my first rough draft to be finished, but send them off chapter by chapter. My biggest rule for successful writing is to get yourself good CP’s. Don’t try to go it alone.
- How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?
As a pantser questions tend to arise as I write. If I have a question about some aspect of falconry, I’ll jump over to the internet and Google it on the spot, instead of coming back to it laer. Other than that, I’ve always been a huge reader which provides me with lots of ideas. I’m also a trivia buff. It’s surprising what you pick up that ends up in a manuscript.
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?
Action scenes! It involves so much description. He moved here and then he moved there. The other characters are doing something in reaction. I find fight scenes hard to invent because it is such a step by step process. On the other side, I love to write dialogue. I’m often holding conversations in my head.