Last Friday, Cathy Bryant posted on her writing process. She’d sent out an email to all of us who blog at InspyRomance for folks to tag and, as I’m always up for a blog topic, I volunteered. Thanks, Cathy!
So, here are my answers, followed by info on the folks who I’m tagging for next week. I think it’s lots of fun to see how others write – hopefully you do, too!
What are you working on right now?
I’m scurrying to finish up Hope Deferred, the sequel to Faith Departed. I’m so woefully behind where I should be, it’s sad. Thankfully I have a very understanding publisher who hasn’t started threatening to kill me yet. I should have it finalized by the end of April. In Hope Deferred, we’ll follow June and July as they continue in their quest to start families, undergoing various medical procedures and struggling to find peace in their situations.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
In general, my books (regardless of genre – my first four are romances, and while there’s romance in the Remnants books, because the couples are married, it’s technically women’s fiction) have characters who are more like you and me than you often see in inspirational/Christian fiction. While I absolutely believe that being a Christian is critical, it’s not a quick fix band-aid for life. So often, we see Jesus coming into stories as some kind of magical cure-all, and I think that sets us up to wonder what we’re doing wrong when it’s not like that in our real lives. Additionally, Christians are still flawed, sinful humans – and my characters are too. The Christians in my books make bad decisions in moments of weakness, and while they experience God’s grace and forgiveness, they have to deal with the messy consequences of their sin, just like we do in the real world.
I think one review I got for Serenity to Accept sums it up nicely – “Not polyanna trust-Jesus and smile fiction.”
Why do you write what you do?
I touched on this in the above question – but for a long time, I stopped reading Christian fiction because I got do disenchanted with the fact that life was never messy or hard for the Christians in the books. Even when they had obstacles to overcome, they were external issues, not messes made because of their own sin. But that’s just not representative of real Christian living. I wanted books that had Christians trying to live out their faith in the world without becoming part of that world. I wanted to show what the real day-by-day struggle of someone trying to be counter-cultural but still loveable looked like.
How does your writing process work?
That sounds so official – “writing process” – like I know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I tried for the longest time to be a plotter. I was told it was the “right” way to do it and I tried, I really, really tried. But I get so caught up in planning that I never get around to actually writing. Or, when it was finally time to write, I’d end up being bored with the story because I’d done so much planning.
So usually, my process is something like this: scribble down my ideas so I don’t lose them (I have several notebooks for this purpose), choose the one that is most developed, sit down and start writing. Usually I have a vague notion of point A (the start) and point B (the end). Sometimes I have some ideas of what needs to go on in between them, but not always. It comes to me as I write – often throwing me for a loop in the process. I keep notes on scraps of paper as I go – and I try to keep those scraps connected to one another so I don’t completely lose my mind when I’m looking for them. It’s messy and disorganized and really unlike any other aspect of my life (I’m a planner to the 900th degree for everything else – my favorite thing in the world is my daytimer) – but it’s the only way I’m able to let myself be free enough to actually finish a novel.
Once I’m finished, I read through it and tweak here and there. It’s a light edit – I’m not the world’s best self-editor, that’s something I’m working on developing. Then I send it off to my critique partner and editor and work through their feedback until I have something that’s finished.
So there you have it! Thanks, Cathy for inviting me to join in.