Tag Archives: writing process

I love you, but I’m writing…



Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who wanna tell you a story, but don’t wanna make eye contact while telling it.”

-John Green

I have started writing my new book, The Fairy Door. I am completely immersed in creating new characters, new realms, new story lines, and crazy plots that will be woven throughout this six, yes I said six, book series.

Of course I’m not ready to discuss all of it right now because I’m writing.

To those of you who may not know this, when an author is writing, we are not here on this earth with all of you. Our bodies may be present, but our minds are spinning in a million different directions.

To even carry on a conversation for more than five minutes is difficult. If we’re at the start of a chapter, we’re trying to figure out how to begin in a clever manner that will entice our readers. If we are at the end of a chapter, we are trying to weave our story so that it flows continuously to the start of the next chapter.

If we are in the middle of a chapter…well, forget about it, walk away until we emerge or initiate contact.

I’m a week and 40,000 words into my new book. That means I’m in the nitty-gritty. I’m waist deep in the creative mud and I’m not wading out any time soon.

What started in my head as a quick, fun two book series has turned into a major project that I will be engaged in for quite some time. The first book is the most important. I have to get into the background for my main characters and then I have to set up, and throw in hints about the next several books.

No big deal, right? Just another day in the life of an author.

I have used the phrase of my blog post, I love you, but I’m writing, all week. It’s so difficult to explain to people about how I feel when I’m writing. Let me be clear, I love my husband, I love my children, I love my family, and I love my small group of friends.

I want to be involved in their life and show interest, but honestly unless there is a death, bloody horrific injury, or an extreme sadness that has befallen on them, I just find it difficult to muster up any interest or appropriate response. There may be people that are hurt by that statement, but it’s honest and real.

I know how awful that sounds and I wish I didn’t even write that, but it’s true. I am a selfish, self-involved, slightly narcissistic artist. I wish I could be a better person when I write, but I haven’t found that balance yet and I’m not sure if I ever will or if I want too.

I like crawling so far into myself that its hard to get out. I enjoy the creative madness. When I slump on my bed and finally go to sleep, the exhaustion makes me feel alive because I know that the harder I push myself, the better the result will be.

To even take time to write this blog is tough, but I suppose my sense of guilt was weighing heavily on my mind.

I do believe living in your head all the time and making up stories can be dangerous to ones mental health. I am a big proponent of taking breaks in between writing and polishing up drafts, but your first draft is so important.

You want to capture the magic of your thoughts as they whirl around seductively in your mind. The tortuous groan of your keyboard only heightens your ambition and it tickles your senses.

I’m in my happy place right now. I’m writing my stories, not only for me, but for other people out there to hopefully enjoy. I wish I could sit down and have an in-depth conversation about what I am trying to achieve and what these books will be about, but I can’t right now and I hope you understand.

So in conclusion, I love you, I really do, but I’m writing. I promise to come back to the land of the living and when I do I will be better than ever!











January SXSW Collaboration: Inspiration and Character Development



This month’s SXSW collaboration with my fabulous author in crime Valerie Day-Sanchez is about creating characters and finding inspiration before, during and after writing a novel. Let’s start with what inspires me as a writer.

I’m going to be honest with you. I find inspiration in the craziest and sometimes most mundane things in everyday life. I recently experienced a complete lack of direction after taking a few weeks off before starting my third book in The Fae Witch Series, The Cursed Dagger.

The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what direction my book was going to go because I always have a clear picture and general outline of what I want to convey in each story. Any author who has written a trilogy or series, can relate to the fact that you are essentially writing all the books in your head when you start the first one, but no my friends, the issue with me just a few short days ago was the dreaded first chapter.

You have to do some sort of recap because just in case there is that one reader (you know who I’m talking about) starts reading your book and has no clue there was a first or second book before that, you as the author, are obligated to go over every important piece of information to bring them up to speed, but you also don’t want your faithful readers to roll their eyes and shout, “I already know this crap, come on!”

I struggled with this, as I always do, and then one simple phrase from my teenage son had me scrambling to my laptop. He had to write an essay explaining the famous quote from the Charles Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities, and when he flung out, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ I suddenly had this flash of inspiration.



The third book in my series is a bit darker and my main character goes through a lot of emotional upheaval and self-discovery. The quote inspired me to firmly see that I needed to have, even with all the recapping, a faint premonition of what was to come and that is how the inspiration of setting an effect of the calm before the storm came about in my mind.

Character development to me is more organic. I always have a pretty good idea of who my characters are but until you really start writing their thoughts and words, I don’t think you can truly connect with them.

I have always been a big proponent of imagining and daydreaming about your story much like a mini movie before sitting down to write it out. I think it gives you a clearer vision of the path you are setting for yourself as a writer and for your potential readers. I like to write the characters names out in my outlines and give myself specific guidelines on who I want them to be, but eventually, in the end, I am always surprised at some of the quirks that seem to flow from my mind as their personalities begin to take shape the further I delve deeper into the story.

Any inspiration you have, whether it is, about your story or your characters can either be gradual or hit you like a freight train. Yes, sometimes you have to look for it, but in some cases it can just be one little phrase that you hear or a picture that you see on your Facebook news feed that can drag you out of the depressing writing doldrums and into the creative light.


So I guess my advice is to just wing it and see what happens… 😉


Val’s take:


Inspiration?  If you’re a writer or involved in any of the arts I’m sure people ask you, how did you come up with that?  I always think of what inspired me.  That is something that changes constantly.  Sometimes it is a song that I hear on my way to work.  Other times it’s an experience, not even anything profound but just a dinner with good friends, and one sentence from our conversation that evening will linger in my mind and evolve into a story.

Inspiration is different than ideas or focus it is the driving force that makes you feel like you are going to explode unless you get something written.  It is what pushes a story forward even when you’re tired or hungry or completely consumed with other things.  It is what makes you feel that you are creating something of importance.  It is reassurance.

More than anything inspiration is about being open, allowing your mind to wander; giving yourself permission to daydream.  Inspiration comes from anywhere and usually when you least expect it.  As a writer that’s why it is so important to always have something to write on.  For me, once I am knee deep into a story I will often get ideas or storylines out of nowhere.  But there are times when I am working on one project and something will come to my attention, sparking an idea for a whole different story.  I don’t discount whatever that new project may be, instead I write it down and save it for when I actually have time to fully flush it out and provide it the attention that it deserves.

This may sound maddening and counter-productive and believe me it can be, there are at least three different story ideas going on in my mind on any given day, not to mention the regular grocery lists, kid’s playdates, work, puppy appointments, and all the other stuff that is also floating around in there.  But my simple mandate of writing it all down, even when it doesn’t make sense seems to help.  This is why inspiration tome is a bit of sly devil.  It never seems to come when you need it.  It never appears when I have the house to myself and a blank document opened in MSword.  No instead it will rear its trixy head when I have two kids in the bath, and a stack of papers that I need to grade.  Oh the arts, no one ever said it’s easy.




Want more Valerie?