Tag Archives: notebook

Getting To Know You

Okay – I’m at the crossroads in the cycle of my writing life. I’m done with one manuscript (although I may switch some chapters around do some rewrites – but I digress) and chomping at the bit to start the next one. And, this is my honeymoon period, my magical time when I am getting to know my characters and seeing where they want to go with this story. Why do they need this story told?

I have a process for this and a place where I deposit all of this crazy information that I glean and will probably never use.  I dump all this stuff – photos (Like the inspiration for my latest hero), maps, research – into Scrivener for Windows in the WIP Notebook I bought from Jeannie Reusch and loaded into the Scrivener tool.  This allows me to keep track of the details of names, places etc of the main characters and the secondary characters as well. It’s a little anal but it keeps from calling the mailman Bob in Chapter 1 and Skippy in Chapter 6.

But, this really doesn’t help me get under the skin of my character. Yep, their eye color is important but it doesn’t get to the essence of my character.  So, I’ve developed a few questions that help me get down to the grit of who the hero and heroine are:

1. What do you want out of life?

2. What is keeping you from achieving that goal?

3. What is the one thing you wouldn’t want the hero/heroine to know about you?

4. What is your biggest regret?

5. What are you most proud of in your life?

6. What are you most ashamed of in your life?

7. When you walk in a room, what are the three things people will notice about you?

8. What would you be willing to lie about?

9. How would you like to die?

10. What are the most important traits in a true friend?

That’s my list.  Pretty grim but I think that the darkest parts of ourselves are what really counts – the rest is a facade for the comfort of other people.

So, what are your questions? What is your process?




My New Snoopy Lunchbox

For a week now I have been in limboland – in between writing projects and recharging my battery.  I’ve caught up on some TV (Royal Pains and Rizzoli & Isles), read some great books (“Plus Ones” by Hank Edwards and “Everyone Loves a Hero” by Marie Force), studied some craft (Save the Cat!) and indulged in a little Jake Gyllenhall nudity in “Love and Other Drugs”. (and, in answer to my Main Man – no you cannot wear out a DVD by watching it constantly – I think.)

But now I’m ready to start on the new book targeted for Harlequin Blaze and while I’m not going to go too crazy – I’m going to do things a little differently this time. While I usually create a loose outline (I’m a plotser), I’m going to write my synopsis first.  Now, I hear the groans out there, but I don’t mind writing a synopsis but I usually leave it to the end. I just want to see how it works for me this way.

The second thing is that I am going to try and write this book in the Scrivener for Windows writing tool.  My friend, Gwen Hernandez, challenged me and so I’m going to venture out of Word and take the plunge. And I’ll admit something here but only to you  . . .  so . . .  lean in closer while I whisper . . .

*it’s kind of freaking me out*

But, not in a I-need-to-call-Dr.Phil kind way.

It’s kind of exciting and edgy and  . . .  yes, I need to get out more . . . it’s really getting my creative juices flowing and my fingers itching to hit the keyboards. It’s similar to the thrill I got with my new school supplies. I  just KNEW that the Wonder Woman folders, new pencils and Snoopy lunch box were going to make school so fun and easy.

It’s THAT kind of exciting.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What writing methods do you have and do you ever shake them up?

Robin Mermaid






#amwriting Word Metrics

Project: Exposure

Deadline: Oct. 31, 2011

New Words Written: None. Pre-plotting.

Present Total Word Count: zippo.

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

Writers talk a lot about finding time to write.  I’m one of the writers who works a full-time job outside the home.  I’m a librarian and not because I love to read (that’s for another blog).  It’s enough to say I have to find time to write.  Or make time.

There were years when I couldn’t make any commitment at all to a writing schedule.  Family, illness (I’m an MS patient), career, and a loooong commute all conspired against a writing career.  Now, though, the kids are grown, the MS is under control and I’ve changed my schedule so I can take the train to my job in the Bronx.  No car, no every 6-week oil changes, no zillion $$ in gas each month.  And almost ten hours a week to sit back, think and (gasp) write.

Riding the train is all about the schedule – the minutes it takes to get from here to there.  My schedule puts me on the train at 7:04 a.m. every weekday.  I change trains at 7:52.  That’s 48 minutes when I can write.  A take-out cup of coffee, get up the stairs and across the causeway to the tracks, and I’m back down on the platform in time to claim my favorite seat.  Even better, morning trains are super quiet.  After all, we just woke up!

When I decided to start writing again, I started carrying a notebook with me in my satchel.  Now I settle back and pull that moleskin out.  Slip the elastic, move the bookmark to a fresh page and note the date.  For this morning:

5/18 Why her?  His usual GF – dark, sensual, stormy.

Her: cool, blonde, composed

— his challenge:  rattle her cage

Why him?  Her usual – stormy artist BUT she has broken that habit.

Wants a stable life

Sam = bad boy  Nicole =control

Yes, these are just notes on what the main characters’ normal dating patterns are and how these two people will be thrown off balance.  But I can begin to visualize the scenes Nicole and Sam will be pushing each other’s buttons and what they might think as the action unfolds.  Plus, I promise myself that I have not finished my writing for the day until I’ve made those notes into paragraphs in a scene on the laptop at home.  Turning the pages back this evening, I saw a cryptic note:  Keep Grandma?  Dad?  Nursing home?

Well, I did keep the grandmother in the story, but the father is currently dead.  Which means I have to write a scene of mourning for lost father/daughter bonding opportunities.  Which means I’ll begin drafting that on the train sometime soon.

In four more weeks, though, school will be out and I’ll be off for the summer.  I won’t be riding the train in the morning again until September.  Or will I?  I’m considering buying a $139 monthly commuter ticket for June, July and August and making myself get on that train.  Just to keep myself in the habit.  I could be riding the rails, watching the scenery spin by and having nothing to do but scribble in that notebook or maybe even bring a laptop.  Who knows?  The MTA might just be my new office this summer.