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A Professional Writers Process...
by taramonk (taramonk)
at July 13th, 2006 (08:16 pm)
current location: Computer Desk
Soundtrack: Everlong -- Foo Fighters

...which leads to a writing ramble:

Found this short interview with Nora Roberts on my Borders newsletter, and this Q/A caught my attention:

Q: I wanted to ask you about your writing process, because your writing comes across as fluid and effortless, and it seems as though you're "channeling the muse." Is this really the case? What is your writing and revision process like?

NR: Well, first: There ain't no muse. If you sit around and wait to channel the muse, you can sit around and wait a long time. It's not effortless. If only. Well, if it was, then everyone would do it, and where would we be then? So I work really hard to make it as fluid as possible, as readable and entertaining as possible.

I'll vomit out the first draft: bare-bones, get-the-story-down. I don't edit and fiddle as I go, because I don't know what's going to happen next. Once I get the discovery draft down, then I'll go back to page one, chapter one, and then I start worrying about how it sounds, where I've made mistakes, where I've gone right, what else I have to add, where's the texture, where's the emotion. I start fixing. And then, after I've done that all the way through again, I'll go back one more time, and that's when I'm really going to worry about the language. And the rhythm, and making sure that I haven't made a mistake, that I've tied up all the loose ends reasonably. It doesn't necessarily mean everything ties up for every reader, because some want it one way and some want it another, and you just have to be true to the story, so it's all plausible at the end of the day.

Do any of you follow a similar writing process? This way makes sense to me, and I think I may try it and see where it leads. I was also surprised by the lack of mention of an outline. Of course, when you've written a million books, who needs an outline anymore?

Ms. Roberts also mentions she writes popular fiction because that's what she likes to read. Of course, she's more often labeled as a romance writer. I usually enjoy her books, though there have been a few that I couldn't even finish. (Well, I finished by skipping to the end, thus avoiding all the crap and confirming the predictable happy-ever-after.)  

Which got me thinking about what I like to read. And, well -- I like to read romance novels. And I admit it. On my recent vacation, I was talking to someone I had just met, and when she asked me what I like to read, I replied that I mostly read fluffy stuff that doesn't require too much brain work. She thought I meant chick-lit, and was looking down her nose. When I mentioned I read a Nora Roberts on the plane -- and liked it -- she was horrified!

Are romance novels a guilty pleasure, or do you freely admit to being a fan? Or, do you think they're crap? And do I have to write a romance novel, 'cuz that's what I read? I suck at the love stuff.

Any thoughts on writing processes, or romance novels?


(Deleted comment)
Posted by: taramonk (taramonk)
Posted at: July 14th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)

Another wonderful thought-filled response. I love you people here. We don't post enough in this journal. :)

I think I am going to try the outline thing, because what I am currently doing isn't working so well. In fanfic, original writing, or the stage adaptions I need to have done by *gulp* September.

I think I lean toward the romance novel, because they give me a happy ending. Yeah, I may force myself to wade through some sludge to get there, but I want happy, dangit! Which is why I tend to stick with the same writers -- the ones that publish works that I enjoy beginning to end. Mostly.

And the there are some stories *cough*choices*cough* that have it all -- and spoil me for other works.

Do you ever get sick of the praise for Choices? Just wondering. Not like I'm gonna stop or anything. :)

Good writing, no matter the struggle put into it, reads fluidly. Which is one of the reasons I am always amazed at how hard it is to write. When I was a kid, it was effortless. Then I grew up, stopped writing for years, then found you guys -- and was inspired. I'm hoping that inspiration will lead to action, and action will lead to something I can be proud to call mine. :)

Until then, I'll keep looking toward others -- in fanfic and original works alike -- to teach me how it's done.

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