Look Ma! I have a process!

I was torn about what to write about today. Life has been crazy for me lately and I’ve not had a lot of time to think about blogging here today.

Now, the stuff I’ve been doing is the fun stuff:  incorporating myself as a writing business, signing my contract with Entangled, getting new headshots taken (see one to the right), and filling out the cover art fact sheet for my book (my favorite question was the one that asked what I didn’t want on my book cover.  (The first thing that came to mind was, “cowboys, babies, and the Cialis bathtubs”)

I also received a rejection. Not fun. But after a one-night pity party with the Mermaids, I got back up on Seabiscuit and got to work. I sent that manuscript to another publisher and now I wait.

And the EDJ (evil day job) . . .  let’s not go there.  In fact, I don’t want to go there right now. Again, working through some stuff which will likely work out but it’s a pain getting there.

But, even with all this stuff needing to get done the thing I was struggling with was writing.  And, it was driving me crazy! See, I decided that I needed to change how I did this writing thing.


Not.  A. Clue.

So, I decided to monkey with the system and do it differently. Change it up. Get jiggy with it.

And, I couldn’t get it done. Couldn’t make progress. Nothing.

So, in a moment of brilliance I trashed everything I had done and went back to the tried a true.  I wrote my bulletized plot outline. I started on page one instead of in the middle. And . . . voila! . . . I was writing!

So, what’s the moral of that story?

Don’t mess with what’s working.  There is no set way to write a book. No right way. No wrong way

Just my way.

What’s yours?







UPDATE: Since so many people commented on my boots. Here they are up close. I love them . . .

30 thoughts on “Look Ma! I have a process!

  1. First of all, I love your new head shots!! Gorgeous! Second, what kind of writing process has you start writing in the middle? What kind of sense does that make? My writing process changes with each book, but it goes something like: outline as much as I can (which is not as much as I would like), start writing, fiddle with the outline as I go along, finish first draft. Revise. As many times as needed. Not too original. I hope, as I continue to improve my writing, that I will outline more in order to revise less. That seems like a pretty good trade-off to me.

    1. P.H. – I had scenes in my head and I just started writing them down and it really screwed me up. I don’t recommend it. I am linear . . . .

      My process is pretty simple: I write a bulletized (one sentence per line) of each scene in each chapter and I keep it to one page. The bullets tell me POV, what I need to have happen and why. Then I start on page one and write until the end. I write a clean first draft and send each completed chapter to my CP’s as they are completed. So, I might revise once, maybe twice after it is completed and goes to a beta reader.

  2. Love your red boots, Robin! My process is generally the same but what part of the book comes to me first is never the same! Whatever scene pops into my head first, that’s the one I go with and start writing from. Sometimes that’s the books opening scene but not always. Sometimes I have to figure out how they got there and then create the beginning by backtracking. But I have found that once that first moment between the characters is written, I like jotting down a bulletized plot line as well. Once the plot line is bulleted, I often skip around, writing whatever scene I feel most passionate about that given day. Do you do that as well? Or do you write the story in the order it unfolds?

    1. I write the story as it unfolds following my one-page outline (see comment to P.H. above) And my story always starts with the first line of the book and flows from there.

      I love my boots too! My Daddy sent them to me from Texas!

  3. I love you dearly, but I will knock you out cold to steal those red boots and won’t even feel bad about it. Since we’re roomies at Retreat, you may want to consider that while packing. 🙂

    As to writing, I’m linear. I have to go from beginning to end with my seven points that happen in each chapter. Yeah, am a freak.

    1. Avery, I want to butt in here on Robin’s blog and ask you about going from beginning to end. Do you ever hit road blocks in the action? What do you do then? I think that’s what happens to me and then I end up jumping around until I feel right about it again.

      1. Roadblocks? Never, everything I write is as perfect as rainbows and unicorn farts. 🙂

        I hit those damn things all the time and what I realize is that I didn’t listen to that little voice warning me something wasn’t up to snuff and to slow down and take a second look. Usually I have to talk it out with someone and write down everything that is going to happen along with motivations. Kim and Kerri helped me through a huge block with A Dry Creek Bed. I was ready to submarine that book but they pulled me out of crazy land.

        1. I really like that whole idea of slowing down and getting something right! Great little post over there at Romance University today too.

  4. Robin,
    I’m a pantser, but I realized within the last few months that having a basic outline truly helps. I ended up rewriting the first five chapters of my first YA book when I realized that I didn’t want my girl with the hero I had chosen. I wanted her to end up with the best friend instead. That was a pain in the you-know-what to rework. Had I had an outline, I wouldn’t have needed to go back and rewrite it, but then I wonder if I had the whole outline with her ending up with the hero I originally wanted, would I have had the guts to have her end up with the best friend?! See. That would have changed the ENTIRE outline anyway. My way sucks either way you cut it. LOL.
    But, I guess I write from beginning to end with changes occurring all the time because my characters apparently have a massive amount of free will. 🙂 Even with my own characters in my fictional worlds, I’m not God. When do I get to be God?!? When?

  5. Ah, Robin,

    I find myself in a similar boat. I turned my book into my agent yesterday and now, I’m a writer without a book. I feel like I lost my kid at the mall or something. I did come up with a new idea this morning. Not a character, just a scenerio that could get my blood pumping…as far as a process, there’s no process, there’s only sit down, figure it the hell out and go!

    1. Jennifer – Congrats on getting it to your agent! I know you were working hard on that.

      I find that I can’t sit too long between books. I sat down and planned out 6 books today on a timeline. Anal, anyone?

  6. I’m a plantser. I fill out extensive character worksheets then decide my beginning, middle & end. Anything that happens along the way is pure seat of my pants. The whole Michael Hague outline thing really helped me define goals for my characters. That had been lacking before.

  7. Great post, Robin-Mermaid! I hear ya – I’m in a weird place with my writing so now it’s my turn to return to my tried and true. 😉

    Those boots rock my socks!

  8. Mine is skipping around, but it often doesn’t help get the book finished, since I’m always hemming and hawing about “what was supposed to happen before?” I’m also terrified of starting the book and petering out too soon (like, before the end). Which happens too often.

    Great post, Robin! I’ll keep going with those three scenes I envisioned just yesterday!

  9. I read your blog post early this morning and for some reason forgot to post a reply, although I thought I had:). What I respect about you and your process is your confidence and resolve. You are determined to do what it takes to succeed, and I am also thrilled by your willingness to share so candidly. Fun, and insightful post. Appreciated.

  10. I’m a pantser, too. But one of my great critique partners is a plotter and I wish I could incorporate just a bit of her organization in with my lack-thereof. Still, if it doesn’t flow from my finger tips (as if the story is writing itself) I don’t feel it’s a story to tell. Does that make sense? If I have to think about it too much I get bogged down with the ‘what if’s’ and then the ‘writer’s block’ comes into play.

    I try to just let it flow and see what my characters end up doing. They tell the story–not me. 😉

    P.S. Love the pictures, Sweetie Sis!

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