It’s all about the process

I’ve been having a running email conversation with my editor about process, how we go about our daily task of getting words on the page in some semblance of order.

When I first started, I hired an editor who kept asking me about my storyboard. I did not know what she was talking about so of course I Googled it and was horrified she expected me to use one. She wanted me to plot out each chapter, on sticky notes, so that I had an outline of sorts, that would propel me through the story from beginning to end. I tried, I really did but it is not my thing. I fired her soon after.

I work in reverse, from end to beginning. I come up with an ending, and a theme, create the characters to fit it, using a character guide that helps me build a persona, including traits, idiosyncrasies, family trees, emotional or physical wounds, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Once those are developed, I go to the page. And write. I’m never sure what’s going to spill out. I have a direction, sure, but take whatever path pops up along the journey. I might hear something on the news that ties in to the storyline, read a book that inspires a different slant, (It’s how I came to include Rumi in Clutch Hit), watch a documentary, or a biography. I stay open to signs, and depend on my intuition to bring the characters to life.

Music is a huge part of my process. When I was writing League of Her Own, I listened to a lot of Brazilian styles and it put me in a Brazilian frame of mind so when Rique took Fiona dancing, I could feel they way he should be moving. When writing Clutch, I switched to Cuban music. I have grown to love it.

Spontaneity is the part I love about writing. Every morning I get up, do my thing and go right to write. I never know what’s going to come out, or where the story will go that day. If I had to plot out every chapter, I’d miss a whole lot of good stuff I didn’t know was inside of me.

Every one has a process. Mine might be just a little bit out of the ordinary but then…so am I.