At my most recent CRRWA meeting, the lovely and talented Jeanette Grey asked if I’d like to participate in a blog hop. My first answer was “yes,” followed by “what did I agree to here?” Thankfully, she answered that it was a few questions about writing process, to which I replied something like “sure, that sounds like fun,” but soon afterwards, reality sank in. Tender subject there, and as recently as a couple of months back, my honest answer would likely have been something along the lines of “:unintelligible whimper: I have no idea. I can tell you how I do laundry, though. That’s easier.”
Let’s start with a bit about Jeanette:
Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog.
Her novella, Take What You Want is a 2014 RITA finalist. Her next releases is a male/male new adult contemporary romance called Get What You Need, and it releases July 15, 2014from Samhain.
:Deep breath: Now it’s my turn:
What am I working on?
Currently, a historical romance set in Georgian England, where a blacksmith’s daughter with theatrical aspirations and a jaded soldier with familial obligations find adventure, angst and the love of a lifetime.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I love big, sprawling stories, where the history and romance are intricately intertwined. My characters may take the rocky road to their HEA, but they always get there, promise, vow and pinky swear. For me, the HEA is all the sweeter if my people have to work hard for it, even if it is happily-ever-after-at-a-cost.
Why do I write what I do?
Because I can’t not, and believe me, I’ve tried. Bad things happen to good people, sometimes a lot of bad things, but love always outlasts whatever life can throw at it. I’ve always loved big, meaty stories that span years and even continents, all centered around two people who are by no means perfect, but, in the end, are perfect for each other. I write historical because I find history a fascinating backdrop that provides specific challenges toward reaching universal goals.
How does my writing process work?
I’ve defined myself at various times as a plotter, a puzzler and a pantiliner (plotter/pantser hybrid) and what I’ve found is that process can change as the writer changes, so this may not be where I’ve permanently landed, but it is where I am now.
I do my best new work in longhand, which is good because that means I can work anywhere, and I can usually be found with more than one notebook on my person at any given time.
Character comes to me first, usually the heroine, with the hero close behind (though sometimes it’s the other way around) and I follow them around my head for a while, furiously scribbling down stream of consciousness notes and accumulating images, soundtracks, scents, etc. Basically, anything that fits the world of the story. At some point, I’ll need to stop and figure out, drawing from what I know for certain about my characters and their journey, in what historical setting their story takes place. If I’m not paying attention to the right details, I may take a couple of tries.
That’s usually a short pause for research, and then it’s time to lay out the plot. I know where my hero and heroine started, and where they need to end up, so it’s a matter of finding out how to get from point A to point B. This often takes the form of a bullet point outline, which can be extremely detailed, and as it progresses, will start to include description, dialogue and chunks of text. From there, I smooth it out into a first draft, More fine tuning happens in subsequent passes through, and with comments from trusted critters, but at some point, the book tells me it’s done,
These days, I find I do a lot of my initial work while doing laundry (see, it’s pertinent) and I’ve learned to carve out at least two hours a day where I take my laptop to a nearby coffee house so I can concentrate on the work at hand. That’s often transcribing and/or editing, rather than composing on the keyboard. At any stage of the game, I find that talking can generally get me unstuck and ready to head in the right direction once more.