This is the post that inspired me to start a blog: The Writing Process Blog Hop. I was tagged by the adorable Cindy Brown — whose name I’m going to permanently prefix in that way, at least until she tells me to stop — who was tagged by the awesome Gigi Pandian, who was tagged by my friend Diana Orgain, who is in my writing group but didn’t tag me because I didn’t have a blog. Little did she know I’m highly susceptible to suggestion, so here we all are.
What am I working on?
My first novel, Terror in Taffeta, is a cozy mystery about a destination wedding planner named Kelsey McKenna, and it’s currently out on submission. So what do you do while you wait to hear about your first novel? Start working on the next one, of course! A few weeks ago I sequestered myself in my friend’s vacation rental to plot out book two, and I’ve officially started writing.
How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
Novels in the cozy genre are generally set in a small town where everyone’s a busybody and a high percentage of the population ends up dead. But in this case, Kelsey is a destination wedding planner, so the setting changes. The first book is set in San Miguel de Allende, the second in California’s Wine Country. While it’s not a traditional “village mystery,” I still remain true to the amateur detective, no blood and guts, no sexy-time, and only mild swearing. (Is “Crappity crap crap?” going too far?)
Why do I write what I do?
This is going to sound really unromantic. In fact, I should just say I always loved Nancy Drew and leave it at that. But the truth is, I honed my writing skills as a copywriter, writing ad campaigns and web copy. And I became really rather fond of writing from a brief.
Because mysteries have certain rules, it’s easy to figure out where they’re going, and it’s kind of like having a brief: Dead body here, a decision to investigate there, disaster, disaster, big confrontation, bad guys are caught… Having a roadmap keeps me from the writing version of existential panic — and within those boundaries I can get my characters into whatever mischief I want.
Also, I like reading things that are either really funny or kind of dark, so writing a humorous mystery seemed like a perfect fit!
How does my writing process work?
Plotter? Pantser? I’m a little bit of both. “Planttser”? Hmmm, maybe not. Let’s just say I’m a plotter who improvises. Because it’s a mystery, and because I enjoy drafting way more than editing, I have to know where it’s going so I can fix major plot holes in the planning stage — instead of waiting until I’ve gotten halfway through and realizing I have a pile of crappity crap crap.
I usually brainstorm a bunch of ideas, see which ones sound the most fun, and ask myself a lot of questions to help flesh out the ideas and make sure they work. (“Why exactly would a bridal florist allow herself to be lured into a pitch-black cave at midnight?”)
When it comes time to write, I have a couple of favorite techniques for getting things done. One is to get up, shower and head to my favorite library that has tucked-away carrels with electrical outlets, and hide there for a while, away from all other distractions. Another involves a bed, pajamas, and being trapped under a cat for a few hours. Both are equally effective.
NEXT UP ON THE BLOG HOP
Next stop on the Writing Process Blog Hop: mystery writer Kathleen Heady and playwright Tim Bauer.
Kathleen Heady is a native of rural Illinois, but has lived and traveled in many places, including numerous trips to Great Britain. Additionally she lived in Costa Rica for seven years. Her third novel, Hotel Saint Clare, was released in June, 2014. She is also the author of Lydia’s Story and The Gate House, which was a finalist for an EPIC award in 2011. She currently lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats.
Tim Bauer is a Bay Area playwright. His plays have been produced by theaters across the country including Southern Rep, Sleepwalkers Theatre, PlayGround, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, PianoFight, and Arclight Rep. Tim is a member of the Portuguese Artists Colony, an alumnus of the Magic Artists Lab at Magic Theatre, and a PlayGround Resident Playwright.