Thursday, April 27, 2006

20 Things I Know About My Writing

Mary said "Now You" so I'm taking my turn. It's a pseudo-tag. :)

1. I don't have a process. Each book gets written a different way.

2. I'm the Queen of the two-book trilogy. Reference:

Against the Rules, Second Chance at Forever, and about 10 pages of a book never completed and now never going to be completed

Soul of the Dragon, Soulflight, and 1/3 of the third book in the series, incomplete because the first book hasn't sold yet

Kira's Best Friend, Sophie's Playboy, and now Brianna's Navy SEAL kicking my you-know-what so hard it may never be finished.

3. My narrative often starts out pretentious, mainly because I'm trying not to sound like everyone else. It gets its ego popped in rewrite.

4. Dialogue is a strength. At least, people used to tell me that, and I evaluated and decided they were right. Since then, no one has told me that.

5. I may be getting the emotional thing, finally. But then again... Many of my rejections used to say the story lacked emotion, and my critique partner used to write all over the place, "what is she feeling here?" She doesn't say that anymore, mainly because she doesn't critique me anymore. Too busy.

6. I love love love action-adventure romance (as Bombshell calls it) or romantic adventure (as St. Martin's labels the Crusie/Mayer collaborative results). I was writing it YEARS before it hit the mainstream romance market. Rare plug: My first published adventure romance, Black Widow, will be released by Inara Press later this year!

7. I am happiest with a book when I write it fast. When other commitments or fatigue or daunting revisions interfere with my productivity, the book as a whole suffers.

8. Criticism and praise, failure and success, get equal treatment from me. A strong emotional reaction (good or bad), with immediate swing back to baseline. Because the rejections and bad reviews are unavoidable, the contest finals (Kira's Best Friend finaled in the More Than Magic contest!) and good reviews and nice e-mails from readers are necessary.

9. Whenever I take a left-brain/right-brain or personality test, I come out almost exactly even between creative and analytical. Obviously writing is my creative outlet. Spreadsheets are my analytical application to my writing. I have a spreadsheet for each book, with a worksheet for characters and their details, a worksheet to keep track of chapter length, etc. I also use the Kresley Cole tracker that she and her husband designed that keeps track not only of how much you've written, but how much you have left to do, and how much you have to do each day to make your deadline. I do spreadsheets for a basic to-do list and a all/winter/spring/summer/total writing plan to keep track of my productivity on multiple projects.

10. I write a lot of characters. Hence the worksheet listing characters.

11. I like hard-sounding names. A high number of my heroes and heroines have names starting with R, K, or M. I'm branching out into S and D names. I'm not talking about stuff like Ryxanstulpx or anything. More like Rogan and Kennedy. Even my non-R/K/M names have hard sounds in the middle, like Alexis.

12. I get bored easily, so I write complicated plots.

13. I'm a pacifist. Kind of. I can make people fight, but I can't kill anyone. Well, that's not true. People die in Black Widow. But I have a hard time killing important, good-guy characters. I've half decided that will be my thing. Romantic adventure that's safe. LOL You won't find "I'm a leaf on the--" stuff in my books.

14. I hate writing longhand. But when an idea has been percolating for a while, or I'm working on the next stage of a book in my head, it often surges forth when longhand is all I can do. So I have random slips of paper all over my office about different projects.

15. Despite my analytical nature, I am terrible at keeping my book materials organized. I do not have boxes or binders full of my manuscripts and all support materials. About as close as I come is individual files on my computer and the published books on the shelf.

16. I have two muses. One is a wooden frog standing on his hind legs, "hands" on his belly, looking at me askance. He's Frank, and he's for my non-paranormal books/stories. The other is Merlin, beard flying, staff raised, ready to work some heavy magic on my brain. He's obviously for the paranormal stuff.

17. I write to near-exact page count. I target 320 pages--I hit 320 pages. I target 400 pages--that's what I hit. Occasionally I go two pages under or five pages over, but I'm very good at hitting the target right on.

18. My endings sneak up on me. Even though I know it's close, and I know what needs to be written to finish, I always think it will take another day or two and then's done.

19. I have written...geez. A lot. Check it out:

16 short stories and novellas that are published or about to be published, plus one that's available on my web site for free (check out the home page), plus a few others that didn't go anywhere (even a couple of confessions!).

11 complete novels, 7 of which I have sold for publication

5 official partials (a synopsis and 3 chapters) which have not garnered interest or been shopped yet

6 started novels, 3 of which will never go anywhere, one that should achieve publication by next year at least, and two waiting their turns.

20. Even with all of's not nearly enough.


Meankitty Says... said...

Good lord, 20 whole things! You're so self-aware. I can think of two things about my writing:

1) I write too slow.
2) I'm a good speller.


Natalie Damschroder said...

Don't be impressed, I spent all morning working on it, and used Mary's to help me think of things. LOL

MaryF said...

I love the list, Natalie! I really envy that you can write to page count!

Natalie Damschroder said...

Thanks, Mary. :)

Writing to page count is one of those quirky things. It might be a defense mechanism against having to revise heavily. LOL

Ciar Cullen said...

Ouch! That's a lot of books; I thought I was doing well in two years of writing. Crazy. How the hell do you hit those page counts like that? Ugh, you're not a panster, that's for sure. Right?

Natalie Damschroder said...

Actually, I'm a hybrid that definitely leans toward seat-of-the-pants. I have this cool thing I love, where I plant seeds as I go that mean nothing to me until several chapters later, when I realize who someone is or what they've done, and all those seeds feed into that revelation.

I write for a while, then revise a bit and plot ahead a little bit and then write again. For me, the joy of writing is in the discovery, so I can't plot a whole book at once, not very well.