Welcome to another installment of the Writing Process Blog Hop! I was tagged by the lovely and talented (and my fellow Sharpie aficionado): Tera Lynn Childs.

1. What am I working on right now?
I’m working on a few things. Project Paper Doll Book #3 will be coming back to me soon with edits/copy edits. In the meantime, I’m writing a rough draft of my new contemporary book, After Life. That’s the story about the teenage son of mega-church pastor who is in a car accident with his twin. He survives, but his brother does not, leaving him with all kinds of questions and doubts, particularly when it comes to a mysterious girl who turns out to be just one of his brother’s secrets.

Between writing sessions, I’m taking notes and doing some research on my first New Adult novel, 738 Days, which is about a girl who was kidnapped and held captive for two years. She’s free at the start of the story, but still suffering from anxiety and agoraphobia and beginning to fear that she’ll never get her life back. Then a publicity stunt throws her together with the former TV heartthrob whose poster was her only friend in captivity, raising the possibility that they might be the only ones who can save each other.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Oh, gosh, that’s a tough question, now more than ever. If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said humor. I write books to entertain myself and hopefully others. And humor is a big part of that for me.

Now, though, I’m taking on two deep, emotionally complex projects, both of which I’m really excited about. So, I’m not sure. I know that humor will always be a part of what I write. But I think now it may be darker and a little less direct. More sarcasm, less slipping on a banana peel, you know? 🙂

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I love it. I write what I want to read. 🙂 Writing for me is like a deeper reading experience, which I LOVE. I write because I want to find out what happens next, which is one of the reasons I’m a “pantser” and not a “plotter.”

4. How does my writing process work?
Ha! Who knows? Every time I finish a book, I’m amazed that it happened, that I’ve managed to chisel out a story from the jumble of words in my head. 😀

Seriously, though, it changes with every book a little bit. But generally speaking, once I have an idea, I take tons of notes in my writing journal. Pages and pages of character, setting, world-building details and potential scene ideas.

Before I can start writing, though, I need to know my characters’ goals for the story, and I need to have a rough idea of where we end up. Also, because I write in order, I need to know what that opening scene is. Oddly enough, I’ve recently discovered that even though I must write scenes and chapters in order, sometimes I know the end of the scene or chapter first. So I write that down and then work backwards toward the beginning.

I write an entire “sh*tty first draft” (TM by Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird) as quickly as I can. And then I go back and rework it, moving things around, revising and rewriting. To me, it’s much easier to revise than it is to work from a blank page. Also, I have a terrible tendency toward perfectionism, which pretty much kills creativity. So, by writing a crappy first draft and acknowledging it as such, that gives me the freedom to play around, make a mess, and actually get something down on the page.

Once I have a cleaned-up draft, one that will not embarrass me too badly, I send it off to my critique partner and beta readers. When I get that feedback, I incorporate it into my draft, especially if multiple readers are saying the same thing.

The very last thing I do before sending it in to my editor is read the whole thing out loud. It’s a pain and it takes forever, but it’s so worth it. I’ve caught so many clunky sentences that way.

The Blog Hop Continues….

Next Monday, check out Marni Bates, Celeste Easton, Lydia Kang and Kim Meyer for a behind-the-scenes look at their writing processes!


  1. Writing Process Blog Hop! | Marni Bates

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