When people find out I’m a writer, the most common questions I get are about my writing process. I’ve composed a list of them here. This is in no way all of them, and if there’s something you are still curious about, feel free to add it to the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.
How do you come up with your stories?
I get these from all different sources. Sometimes I hear a song, sometimes it might be something I’ve read and I think, hey, I would like to read a story about x, sometimes I have a dream, sometimes they just pop into my head, one time, I saw a billboard and got an idea.
I think once you open your mind up to ideas, you’ll find them everywhere.
How often do you write?
I try to write every day. Of course, that would be in a perfect world. Sometimes it may be a day or two between, but I don’t beat myself up over it. Sometimes writing consists of a blog post or a few paragraphs scribbled out on a notepad. I write when I can and for as long as that day will allow – be it two minutes or two hours.
What do you like to read?
I like to read YA, but I don’t limit myself to that. I’ll read whatever will hold my attention whether it’s a suspense, memoir, middle-grade, or anything in between.
What’s your favorite book?
This is a hard one to answer as there are so many great books out there. But one book I could read over and over again would be THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by C.S. Lewis.
How do you come up with character names?
For a majority of my characters, I will search baby-name websites. I’ve made my husband nervous a time or two by this, but after the explanation, he’s fine. I like for character’s names to mean something. Like John in CROSSROADS means beloved and Logan means hollow. But sometimes, especially on the sub-characters, I will just pick them at random but try not to pick ones that sound too close together.
How do you keep all the characters separated in your head?
The character questionnaires are perfect for finding out what makes the characters tic, and although some of this information may not ever be revealed in the book, it helps you to know your character on such a level that you know what decision he would make and why without betraying their fundamental elements of who they are.
Pinterest is one of the greatest tools I’ve found. When I have the outline of the story down, I will create a board for it and pick out my characters, the places they live, the little trinkets and whatnots that are tied to them, the town, everything. This helps me to see the story when I’m writing a scene. I pull up the character and remember that x has blue eyes and y has green, keeping me from mixing up the two.
Since you’ve self-published and traditionally published, which do prefer?
That’s another hard question as both have pros and cons.
Self-publishing has come a long way even in the last year or so. More and more authors are taking control of their books and putting them out there for the world to read. Self-publishing gives the author more control over the cover, the content, formatting, ebook rights, etc. and it gives you a higher percentage when it comes to royalties. But the downside is that the author is responsible for the cover, the content, formatting, ebook, etc. So you get the idea. You also continue to hold the rights to your book should something fabulous come along such as a movie deal. We can dream big, right?
Traditional publishing is working with a group of people to get the book ready for the world. You have the editors, the graphic artists, the layout designers, etc. I my case, I had a fabulous team all the way around, so I don’t have any complaints, but I have heard horror stories from other authors. But don’t get me wrong, I really like the traditional path as well. It helps to have a team out there, not only to help build the book, but also to promote it. The downside is you get a smaller percentage of the royalties. You also have to be careful on what you are giving up as far as rights go.
Writers must make a lot, huh?
Ummm, let me just say that I still have a day job. Does that answer your question?
Writers are not guaranteed a profit. I mean, can you really predict if your book will be the right kind of book at exactly the right time in the market and that the reader will find you exact title when there are thousands of others out there? If so, please stop and message me this very minute.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a some that make lots and lots from their writing, but a majority of us write because that’s what we love to do so. I make a few bucks here and there, but to write full-time and still be able to eat? Maybe for one week out of the year. But it’s those pesky fifty-one other weeks that I worry about.
Do you outline or just write without any structure?
Both. I have plot points, scenes that I know will happen during the book. I write these down on index cards and them spread them out, rearranging until they make sense to me in that order. Once I have that, I start with the first scene and steer my characters toward the second scene, all the while hoping that they will comply and take that path. Sometimes they don’t and I have to yank them back into submission. But sometimes their unruliness takes the story to a better place and I let them run free for a few pages before reigning them in.
Like I stated at the top of this page, this is not a complete list by any means. If there’s a question you want answered, just leave it in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer it. Heck, I may even add it to the page.