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The Writing Process Blog Tour

how we write

 

I was thrilled to be invited to this blog tour about sharing an author’s writing process and showcasing other authors and their works. My friend Carol Balawyder has kindly invited me to this tour. Carol is the author of Mourning Has Broken, her memoir about life, loss and grief of a sister and parents. You can check out Carol’s wonderful Blog at CarolBalawyder.com and read about her upcoming books and her wonderful reviews of famous women writers and Nobel prize laureates. While you are there, take a look at Carol’s post on the blog tour last week and learn all about her writing process.

And now I am happy to share the answers to the four questions posed to the authors on this blog hop:

2013-10-02 15.11.00

WHAT AM I CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I have just recently finished first draft of my next book. This book is a look at women’s self-esteem issues and the obsessions and hang ups we endure in younger life which have a propensity to devalue our self-worth. It is written from my own experiences and analysis. This book will be published this fall.

I am also writing chapters intermittently for three other books, one is a sequel to my first book Conflicted Hearts, another is essays on rants and reminiscence , comparing life today to yesteryear, and the other is a secret for now.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

Writing in memoir can be raw. Some write in first person. Others may write in third person and choose to use another character to represent the story. And some memoirs are written in diary form. Many memoirs are written in one particular chunk of time. But all memoirs are based on a theme. my writing style was influenced by reading books written by William Zinsser, author of the widely acclaimed, On Writing Well. Only I wrote my first book, Conflicted Hearts with some slight deviation. My book spans through my life in different vignettes through time, holding with the same theme about how powerful guilt can continue to prevail throughout life, regardless of what we learn and how much we grow. For me, guilt didn’t exist in one chunk of time, I lived with it most of my life, even through my triumphs. I write raw and true and my voice speaks to my readers as though I am sharing my story with them personally.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I WRITE?

I began my writing as a teen. I kept journals to release pent up emotions and to self-analyze events and people in my life. I was driven to try to find answers for people’s actions. In those earlier times writing was self-medicating, and as the years passed I wanted to share my thoughts on subjects that people could relate to and possibly leave some suggestion from my writing about my experiences. I don’t believe we just decide to be kind or nasty. The events of our pasts have much to do with the character traits we acquire.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

I try to write five days a week. I don’t impose time-frames on my writing, I go with the flow. Some days I can crank out 2000 to 3000 words, others may only be 500. My outlining process is usually: the concept of the book and then creating temporary chapter titles for the subjects I’d like to include in the book. I begin writing a chapter and when the pen gets flowing full of ideas, I keep another blank page for that chapter for when too many thoughts come at once and I don’t want to lose them. I jot what I want to talk about on the separate page so when I’m finished writing my current thought, I know what I want to write next. When I’m not writing for my books, I will be writing blog drafts or doing creative writing exercises from Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend From Far Away.

I write in long-hand. Okay, call me old-fashioned but I just don’t feel creative in front of a computer. For my first book, I had been journaling for years. I had torn out the chapters and began adding to them. I used a post-it-note system where I’d title the chapters so I could add to them or move them around. I know this may sound archaic but it worked for me. I actually tried using Scrivener but I was so overwhelmed by it, I went back to my tried and true system. I did promise myself to try Scrivener again when I wrote my second book, but old habits die hard, so I found myself once again back to my pre-historic method.

My system can become quite messy. If anyone saw my kitchen table (where I love to write) while I’m working, they were overwhelmed by what appears to be a mess of papers, yet I know exactly where to find any page.

Only after finishing first draft do I venture over to the computer. I begin entering my work into Word with my chapters already in order—sprawled out on the floor. Being a tactile person, I just work better when I can pick up a page.

My revisions are all done in Word and through the process it’s not uncommon for me to print off about eight copies of my manuscript between revisions and edits. The human eye catches typos much easier on paper than the computer screen.

Final readings and proofs are always done from paper.

 

For next week’s blog tour I am introducing two fellow authors here who will be passed the torch. Deborah Jay and Annie Edmonds are author friends of mine. Deborah is a fantasy author and Annie writes in erotic romance. Be sure to visit their blogs next Monday August 4th when they will be joining the blog tour.

Here is a little sampling of what these two talented authors are about:

Annie's book

 

Annie is a Jersey Girl born and bred. She has been happily married to the one man that stole her heart thirty years ago. She hopes one day to move her Jersey girl butt to the sunshine state.  She says winters are just too hard on someone who lives with chronic pain.

Annie loves to write and has been doing so her entire life. In 2013 she reached a milestone birthday and decided it was now or never. She needed to write and she published her first novel. She had no idea what to write about so she started asking her friends and their friends what they were reading. When the consensus was erotic romance, she did some research and what she found fascinated her. Annie took her love of romance, and added lots of kink and started writing Second Chances Sammy’s story. It’s the first novel in the Second Chances series. Annie is currently working on book two, Master Mike’s story.

Being an independent author isn’t always easy, but it can be fun when you start to write a sexy blog that you love. She started Sex w/Annie on WordPress and it seems to have hit a sweet spot where followers are concerned. She posts a Sexy Sunday blog for couples and singles every Sunday by 4 pm. aedmonds315.wordpress.com.

When Annie isn’t writing/blogging and promoting, she loves to spend time with her husband and family. At the beach is where she gets her inspiration. The beach has always been the one place to calm Annie’s soul.  Her interests also include, photography, gardening, and, being a foodie, Annie loves to cook.

Follow Annie at her Amazon author page, on twitter @aedmondsauthor and facebook.

 

Prince's Man

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, has featured frequently in the Amazon Top 100 Epic Fantasy books since publication in July 2013.

Find out more about Deborah at http://www.deborahjay.wordpress.com or follow Deborah on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads and Pinterest

Follow Me on Social Media!

D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

43 Comments

  • Carol Balawyder

    First off, thanks so much for the lovely words about my writing. Your post is sensational. You really did a great job! I like what you said about writing raw and true. I wish I would have thought of those words in my reviews of your books. When I read that you used a post-it note system I thought of Will Self’s own post-its. http://carolbalawyder.com/2014/01/24/will-self/

    I too was overwhelmed by Scrivener. I figured that the time I spent learning it would be better spent writing.

    Thank you for introducing Deborah Jay and Annie Edmonds. New writers for me. 🙂 I’m off to check out their blogs right now. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Hi Carol! Thanks for stopping by so early. Sheesh, I am sorry, I meant to post it at midnight and fell asleep and just got it out this morning; but, it’s Monday.:) Thanks for the compliment on the blog too. It took a bit of time to get it all together but I really enjoyed doing it. I am checking out the link to your older post now. 🙂

      • Carol Balawyder

        Your post had a real professional look to it. I’m looking forward to hearing about your day with Joanna Penn and Kobo. 🙂
        I suspect you’ll probably write a post on it…

        • dgkaye

          Thanks so much Carol for inviting me and for your great compliment. I highly value your opinions. And I just got home! It was great! And of course I will be writing about it later this week. I have lots of writing to do this week and beginning to enter my newest book in the computer tomorrow! 🙂

  • littlewritingsblog

    I am glad that you’re working on something new, I wish you a lot of inspiration and I’m waiting this fall for it 😉 And yeah; indeed, we, as human beings, have many emotions during your life and some of us find easier just to write down our feelings on a piece of paper or our laptop. I think that people that love writing let their emotions expressed in a way that they maybe couldn’t do in front of people.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for your continued interest. I would have to agree with you that writing is therapy for many people. Many authors like to hide away in the comfort of their four walls and let their imaginations loose. I know I am like this. I love to talk and am great in social circles but the thought of public speaking petrifies me, lol.

      • littlewritingsblog

        I also love to talk to people and have fun with my friends, I’m not afraid to express my feelings, but there are some things that I like to keep for myself and instead I start writing about them 🙂

  • aedmonds315

    What an amazing job you did on this blog tour. I only hope mine is half as good. I added four new questions. Only because so many other authors have already answered these questions. So the next tour is About the Authors blog tour.

    It’s crazy how you write long hand. Sure I write down notes and parts of my stories but to write the entire book in long hand, Omg DG! You are either nuts or very good at what you do. I think both, Lol.. Later girlfriend, 🙂 hugs from Jersey..

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Annie! I’m glad you were happy with it. And LOL you got it girl . . . I hope to be always getting better at what I do but I am definitely a little nuts, that’s half of what makes me creative! I can’t wait to see your blog next! xoxo 🙂

  • Christina ~

    I am over the moon excited about this post! I love the intimate peek into your process and as always…written in pure “Debby Style”! As an avid fan and aspiring writer, this post is priceless! Funnily enough, Scrivener is on the table for myself…better than drafting on my phone which is how I write most of my poems lol! I love love love this look into your method!! Also, am so excited for all your projects!! You are my hero!! <3 !!

    • dgkaye

      Oh my dear Christina, you are always so encouraging and your words are so uplifting to a writer’s ego which is always questioning their own work. I am interested to know that you like this method because personally, I know it is a bit archaic, yet I seem to be able to work best in this system. Although I do have to say, Scrivener makes a whole lot of sense and I am sure that maybe, just maybe, I may attempt it again after this next book which I am currently feeding into Word. I applaud you for drafting on your phone, lol, now that is something I wouldn’t attempt. I need the big wide screen to see all aspects of my blogging functions staring boldly in my face and at my fingertips. I purposely purchased a bigger phone, seriously it’s almost 6 inches and still I write my drafts on paper and then into draft on my blog. What a dinosaur I am! It is always a pleasure to have you visit my page, you awesome Poet! xoxo <3

      • Christina ~

        You’re so sweet!! 🙂 It makes me happy to be able to encourage you as you all ways encourage me! I am truly fascinated to learn of your method as it’s been a sort of study for me of late…how to make it all come together…how other’s process their ideas, thoughts, etc. into words…into a book or plural in your case! 🙂 I don’t think it’s archaic at all…it’s what works for *you*, in the end that’s all that matters! I read somewhere that J.K. Rowling has a box (or boxes?) of all the various scraps of paper she would use when she had her ideas and *had* to write them down. Granted, that was well before so many of the modern conveniences we have today. Even still, most the “classics” were all written via pen/pencil/quill (lol) onto paper.

        Scrivener is appealing to me for many reasons, but I think if you have a method that helps keep the creativity flowing…then use it! 😉 I only draft my poems on my phone, then email them to myself…doing all the rest via my laptop. Like you, I couldn’t do it all from my phone…even if I had a bigger screen! I’m hopeful to begin going through the well-praised tutorial for Scrivener soonest, so I can then just import my work. My thought being that since I don’t have a system as of yet, might as well try this out! As always you share the very best inspiration in all you post…it is my honor to come by and glean from your experience!! <3 xoxo ~

        • dgkaye

          Thanks again my great inspirer! I was actually once again reading up on Scrivener. I getting overwhelmed with the amount of tagged paperwork in front of me just read an interesting article on someone else’s overwhelming issues with Scrivener and how they found a way to work with it and Word. I left them a question and look forward to hearing a response so that I may dip my toes back into Scrivener. I’ll keep you posted. xo <3

          • Christina ~

            Yay! Yes please, do let me know if that works for you. 🙂 You are super brave, change is always hard! I also thought of another author who preferred handwriting to typewriters (in his day) Mr. Hemingway of course! 😉 If it makes it easier and you can still keep your creative flow then I will be well happy for you (knowing how fast you can type!) and if not you’ll still be my hero! er…heroine?! lol <3 xo ~

          • dgkaye

            Lol you funny girl! Thanks for putting me in the esteemed company of “Mr. Hemingway”. xo <3

  • marianbeaman

    What a prolific writer you are. I am always fascinated by authors’ process and appreciate all the detail you included. If old-fashioned technology works for you, no need to apologize, Debby! I noticed your recognize that you are a tactile person and like to touch the journal, move your hand over a tablet with pen or pencil in hand.

    I wrote about my writing process last March. Photos of pieces of paper and colored sticky notes are part of my scheme too: http://www.krpooler.com/2014/03/17/a-memoir-writers-first-year-in-blogging-adventure-by-marian-beaman/

    Thank you for your encouragement to me, both via my blog and in social media. Great role model!

    • dgkaye

      Wow Marian, I am flattered at your compliments. It always means so much to me to hear encouraging comments from other writers, especially of those who I sincerely admire their own writing. You never have to thank me as it is my pleasure to read your work and engage. I look forward to reading the link of the post you attached and will be sure to comment when I do.! Thanks so much Marian. 🙂 <3

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    The writing process blog tour sure has been interesting and it hasn’t finishing its rounds yet. I love reading how writers approach and tackle their projects. You sure have it together. Thanks for the introduction to Deborah and Annie. Must check them out. Happy writing, Debby. 🙂

  • Aquileana

    Hello dear D.G
    I really enjoyed reading this post on your personal experiences and how they relate to your writing process…
    I loved these lines in particular: “I don’t believe we just decide to be kind or nasty. The events of our pasts have much to do with the character traits we acquire”.
    I think you are so right over there and being able to use those events to put them down into words is what gives us the possibility of knowing how the days of a writer’s life can somehow determine his/her own style!. (even if he/she writes fiction)
    Thank you very much for sharing,
    All the very best to you, Aquileana 😀

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much for reading and your take on my writing process blog. I believe we are all conditioned from our past in certain ways. All writer’s stories develop from somewhere, yes, a vivid imagination helps but most often the ideas and/or characters in books are spawned from life experience, even somehow incorporated into fiction. 🙂 Thank you Aq.

  • elainemansfield

    I loved learning about your writing process, Deb. So many people have unique writing patterns and rituals to fertilize the muse. I love how tactile your approach is. I do a draft in long-hand or at a computer. Paper and pen put my overactive editor at a disadvantage, so that’s usually the best way to start. I’m trying to visualize your home in the midst of these creative whirlwinds. I’d be afraid to open a window. When I’m organizing, I’m a Post-it person, too.

    • dgkaye

      Lol Elaine, you just made me laugh, “Afraid to open a window”. Learning to control our overactive inner editor is an art but I have come a long way in wrangling that beast. By writing in notebooks the pen keeps moving, there is no second guessing, it’s all saved for revisions. Although, I’ve picked up a helpful tip from Stephen King. He says to always leave off your day’s writing in the midst of a chapter so you have somewhere to continue next time you come back to it. When I begin a new writing day I try and get back into the chapter I’ve left by first rereading it and continuing on. Still I don’t revise, more like refresh! 🙂 You have to love those post-its!

  • Deborah Jay

    Well I think I have a lot to live up to now, after seeing all these wonderful comments. I’m very much looking forward to my ‘turn’ at this post, and this time around I have everything organised. I don’t feel so bad about failing to post last time I was invited because when I checked back, the author who invited me hadn’t done it either!
    I’m fascinated to know that you still write longhand – I used to, but working straight onto the screen makes my process so much faster. And I think I’ve cracked Scrivener 😀 I just re-arranged all the chapters of my latest novel into the order I want them to appear using the cork board feature, and it was soooo much easier than the endless post-it notes, then cutting and pasting within the manuscript.
    Of course I haven’t yet exported the finished product, but I took an online Scrivener user course and I don’t think I will have any problems – fingers crossed.

    • dgkaye

      First of all thanks for the compliment. And you see there are many people who love to know about a writer’s process! So I am glad you were part of my blog and I can’t wait to read yours. Your posts are always so wonderfully organized and informative. Now, about Scrivener, arg, I am battling myself to attempt it again. I know it would help immensely with organization, but what scares me is, how would I be able to export my chapters back into Word? I have been googling away about the pros and cons and from what I gather, the consensus is it is much easier to have a Word doc for doing track changes in editing. So I am not sure if moving all the files back to Word will create a problem or numerous hours of cutting and pasting. I’m interested in knowing what you plan on doing?

  • Deborah Jay

    I’ve paid for an online Scrivener course, which consists of short video clips about anything and everything to do with Scriv, and is really easy to follow. Take a peek at: http://scrivenercoach.com/
    Exporting it directly into a mobi or epub file is easy, so no problem going straight to publishing, but I do understand what you’re saying about editing.
    Must admit, I can’t yet locate a way to export it directly back into Word, but you can put it into a PDF with ease, so I’m thinking to just save that PDF as a Word document? Not sure yet what will happen about all the formatting, as Scrivener strips it all when you import, but I will be looking into this very soon and will keep you posted.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Deb. I’d be interested to know. I have read ‘Scrivener for Dummies’, lol. I get the concept and agree how much easier it is to use for organization, but I was wanting to know if anyone had tried moving their files over to Word, I’m not concerned about moving from Word to Scriv. One girl I chatted with thought you could compile folders into Word docs. I was also wondering if it’s possible to cut and paste the file into a Word doc? A little work but still efficient for organization? Right now I’m using my dinosaur method and entering my new book from paper into Word once again because I’ve already started. I think what I will do after I revise my book I may download the free trial again and experiment with moving files that ARE NOT my manuscript lol, to see if I can swing it. I don’t really need the formatting bit to epub or mobi because I am not messing with that stuff. I am more than happy to pay my formatter for that techy stuff. But I do like my Word file and it is so great to work with track changes from my editor. 🙂 Thanks for your input and keep me posted. I will be sure to let you know what I come up with once I download the trial again. 🙂

  • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist

    I love hearing how people write (especially people who have managed to put a finished product out).

    I can very much relate to having your thoughts laid out across the kitchen table in paper form. Although I’m very much a computer person (can you imagine how long I’d be able to keep my thoughts together if the kids came through knocking everything about?) my computer desktop often looks the same.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Diana. It’s usually a feat to do so but I try hard to stick with my plan. Life obstacles do get in the way of good intentions, but otherwise, I am a busy bee. 🙂

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