My Writing Process

Loril Maclaughlin tagged me in a writing blog hop. I am supposed to describe my writing process. I am also supposed to nominate three other people, but that feels like too much effort right now. So I am skipping that part.

One scene to the next . . .

This is difficult for me, because I don’t have much of a writing process. There are probably only two similarities for every story I’ve ever written.

1)      I am a panster.

2)      I need to have some idea of what the ending will be, at least for anything over 500 words.

I know from past experience I have difficulty writing stories when I don’t know the ending. They have a tendency to meander.

So . . . My Writing Process

I usually start with the idea for a setting or a character. Plot comes third, if it comes at all. Sometimes I will know

For novel length or almost novel length fiction, I do prewriting first. For me, prewriting consists of short scenes or stories. This lets me get to know the character, explore the world and maybe figure out major events in the story itself. It fills in background, lets me know what sort of childhood antics my character got up to.

I prewrite until I have idea what the ending will be and until I feel I know the character well enough to pants my way through the whole book. I cannot begin to emphasize how important that is, because I usually have no idea what the plot is.

I have tried outlining and I’ve blogged out about it before. But my outline is basically a timeline of events, and if I don’t know what the events are, well, they don’t exist on the outline. Which makes it less than useful. I mean, it is a good way to keep track of events. I thought it was working, but eventually, I found that writing from the outline does not work for me.

So back to how I write. Sometimes, usually, most often I will know some of the main events. I write to those. I write from scene to scene, aiming to end up in the nearest main even.

Lots of times I stop mid-scene when I reach the end of my word count for the day. I have never done it on purpose, but I am thinking about it. It hasn’t hurt me any. And I think maybe ending like that makes it easier to pick up the next day.

So that’s it. I write from one scene to the next until the reach the end I had in mind before I begin.

Mind, this doesn’t include chapters. In the first draft I don’t know where one chapter ends and the other begins. That’s something to figure out after I finish. Is that strange? Maybe it is. From what I’ve read of other people’s processes, a lot of other people have chapters from the get go.

If I don’t know what the character is doing next, I go back and reread, and find a missing thread or take another look at the character’s motivation. You know, look for where I went wrong.

This is how I write.

e-Reader Dying Out?

I feel like this is me on a sunny day.

I just read an article on Mashable and on Slate that e-Reader sales are down. They might go down until ALL companies stops selling them, just like that trendy device no one remembers from a decade ago, like the Mac Cube.

Barns and Nobel are already separating themselves from the Nook; Amazon has a new phone; Sony has long since gotten out of the American market.

Both Mashable and Slate say it’s because e-Readers are a single-purpose device, a purpose that can easily be performed on any tablet and smartphone. That’s, true, yes, you can read anything on a tablet or a smartphone.

Mind, this category of the dedicated e-Reader does not include e-Readers such as the Nook Color and Kindle Fire. Those are tablets, but they are usually marketed as e-Readers. The dedicated e-Reader is an e-ink reader.

Mashable says the smartphone is killing the single-purpose e-Reader. I disagree; if anything is killing it, it’s the tablet. The smaller tablets and most e-Readers have a similar size.

Me, I got a dedicated e-Reader, a tablet and a smartphone. I do have an e-reader app on my tablet and my smartphone and even some books, but the bulk of my reading is done on the e-Reader. It’s just a lot more comfy for hours and hours of reading. A lot more comfy.

But if you don’t read as much as I do, maybe a tablet or a smartphone would be a better idea. It means fewer devices and less expense. You can get and read books on either one easily. So a part of me thinks, yes, there will come a day when dedicated e-Readers are no longer sold.

What do you think? Do you think the single-purpose e-Reader is on it’s way out? If you wanted to be able to read ebooks today, would you get a tablet or a dedicated e-Reader? Neither and just stick with your trust smartphone?


Friday Flash: Apologize

My first friday flash in a couple of weeks. Didn’t feel like writing one today either, but thought: I should.


The full moon rose above the tree line, big and round and dirty white, like someone had smeared dusty fingers across it.
She looked away, not wanting to see it. Terrible thing.
Flowers buried their heads in their petals all along the lawn. When she was little, she used to think they slept and sang them a lullaby in the evening.
She knew better now, didn’t she?
She bent to pick a bloodroot. Its white petals were tightly furled and soft as a newborn’s head. She picked one and let it drop on the dark green grass.
I will die.
Another petal floated to the ground. He will die.
A third petal joined its siblings. I will die.
A wolf emerged from the copse of woods and padded closer. His blond fur gleamed in the moonlight.
The fourth petal drifted down to rest on her sandaled foot. He will die.
His fur wavered and rippled under the full moon.
A fifth white petal wafted away in a gust of wind. I will die.
A man rose from the grass, tall, naked and skin like brightly polished copper.
The sixth petal landed on his black hair. He will die.
“We need to talk, babe,” he rumbled.
They did not.
The seventh petal circled down to land on the ground between them. I will die.
She pointed the gun she had taken from our locker. It held silver bullets she had especially commissioned. “There is nothing left to say.”
The last petal drifted away, out of sight on the wind. He will die.
She fired.
The shot missed him, smacked into the ground behind him. He never even flinched. Bastard.
He took several steps forward. “Come on, babe. You don’t want to shoot me.”
She turned away. “I want you gone.”
His arms closed around her waist. “I am sorry. It won’t happen.”
His heat seeped through her clothes. “No. It won’t.”
“I can make it up to you.” He blew a breath in her ear.
“You can’t. My mother’s crystal! You can’t replace it.”
“Give me a chance. Please.”
She huffed out a breath.

Non-Review Way To Complain About A Book

So, yesterday, while looking for snippets of A Shiver of Light, I ran across the book’s Goodreads page. This is normal.

But than I discovered people had been putting commentary on the book’s page and they put where the reviews usually go. But they weren’t reviews, they were slamming/praising the series OR they were expressing their unhappiness because the book hadn’t been published yet.

It will be published tomorrow: Jun 3, 2014.

goodreads snapshot

I took this screenshot of the Goodreads’ page for A Shiver of Light. As you can see, there are 3000 comments. If this is the first comment, (I don’t know that it is, I didn’t sort it in any way), it showed up two years ago.

And the book’s not even published yet!

This comment talks about  a love for the series and a wish she would publish this book. Well, I also love the series and I wished she would publish it, instead of writing lots and lots of books in the other series. But it never occurred to me voice this in the review section of its Goodreads page. I mean, I thought that was for reviews only. But no.

If you look further up the screen, it says there are 42 reviews and 244 ratings. I took a screenshot.ashiverlightgoodreads

It’s not counting most of the 3000 comments as reviews, probably because most of them have no rating for the book – how could they? The book’s not out until tomorrow and I doubt there are a 1000 ARCs, let alone 3000.

So this is a good thing. It is a way to express some feeling involving the book, but is not actually a review.

Because, personally, I don’t really like the idea of using a book review to complain about prices and other things that don’t involve book’s story. Sometimes there is no other way, because the reviews on Amazon or wherever is the only way we got to complain to the publisher/author. But I don’t think it is a good way.

IMO, this is a better way to complain about something – prices, not being published soon enough, etc. What do you think? Would you do it?

Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

I really liked the title. It fits the book. I have to add that I got this book from NetGalley.

There are two parts to this book: the mystery and romance. The mystery, but I do not know that the romance worked for me.

The main character comes to research and write a book about a twenty year old kidnapping. The love interest interferes.

Blurb from GoodReads:

Twenty years ago young Brian Arlington, heir to Arlington fortune, was kidnapped. Though the ransom was paid, the boy was never seen again and is presumed dead. Pierce Mather, the family lawyer, now administers and controls the Arlington billions. He’s none too happy, and more than a little suspicious, when investigative journalist Griffin Hadley shows up to write about the decades-old mystery. Griff shrugs off the coldly handsome Pierce’s objections, but it might not be so easy to shrug off the objections of someone willing to do anything to keep the past buried.

The Mystery:

Some of this I saw coming, some of it I didn’t. I figured out the part I saw coming half way through the book. I enjoyed finding out I was right.

So, IMO, it’s good. It is a fun, enjoyable read. I finished it pretty quickly.

The Romance:

I have to admit, I didn’t actually get the romance. The love interest is hot and cold. Uses him one minute and the next minute he is all hearts and roses.

Plus, the love interest did a few things that I personally would have a hard time forgiving. I think the main character should have made him grovel more. Like, weeks more instead of just forgiving him. It was just too quick.

Favorite Scene:

This is a hard one. There are a lot of really good scenes. But if I had to pick one, I would pick the conversation one between the main character and the love interest’s sister. Not, note, the love interest.

If I had to pick a favorite scene with the love interest, it would be the last one, the one where he declares his love and is practically forgiven. For all that I thought the forgiveness came too quick and the main character should have just driven on, it was pretty good. That might sound contradictory.

I have to say, there were no boring scenes. I also think every single scene did something to push the story forward.

Would I reread Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon? Probably not. It wasn’t bad, but not nearly as good as some of Josh Lanyon’s other efforts.

Books I Wish Had a Sequel

Have you ever read a book and wanted more? It ends, but you don’t want to leave the characters?

I’ve had this feeling a few times. I want to know more, about the characters, about the world. The book has ended, but the character’s life is still going on and I want to know what further adventures they have.

I have had this feeling with a few books.

1) Carnival by Elizabeth Bear 

This is first book I read by Elizabeth Bear. It has a fine ending. The heroes get their happy-ever-after, after a fantastic adventure and the genuine possibility that one of them might not make it and the other would be left forever scarred by the loss. Well, they both make it. But I want to know what happens next. Is there a war or something? The next book doesn’t have to use the same main characters as this one, but it would be nice.

2) The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Personally, I think Brandon Sanderson has a lot of space in this world to expand. Maybe with the main character, maybe not. But certainly he could expand on the emperor or one of the other minor characters. I think he should!

3) Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott

This is the first book I read Melissa Scott and the first cyberpunk I ever read, too. It ends on a hopeful note. But the question I want answered: what happens next? Something must happen next. They get out of all that controversy and nothing happens? Do the characters find happiness? Maybe just a short story? I am not asking for a lot.

4) Sunshine by Robin McKinley

In all honesty, this book never felt finished to me. It really, really needs a sequel. It needs to be a series. Seriously.