Saturday, 10 May 2014

My Writing Process

Lovely Lesley Cookman tagged me to carry on with the 'My Writing Process' blog hop. Lesley writes enjoyable murder-mystery novels published by Accent Press featuring her splendid amateur sleuth Libby Sarjeant.

There are only four questions, so here goes:

What am I working on?

In theory, I am working my way through editing and extending all my magazine serials, and then publishing them on Amazon Kindle. However, having just vastly expanded my romantic suspense Fairlights to the length it always should have been, a couple of spinoffs are waving at me, begging to be written. This happens to me A LOT. A secondary character in one book becomes so interesting, with such a lot of hidden backstory, that they turn into the subject of the next book. Generally this happens in sequence, but one of the Fairlights spinoffs will be a little different. When I was originally describing the house, I wrote a throwaway line of explanation ... which has since become a fully fledged storyline! So I am currently revisiting a previous genre of mine and writing Ravell’s Luck: the Regency Fairlights story!

How do my stories differ from others in genre?

Everybody writes with their own voice. Every writer has an idea of what they want to include in their story. I write in several genres (contemporary, romantic suspense, Regency, cosy mysteries), but whichever one it is, I like to think that my stories are the sort of thing that could happen to anyone - even the slightly paranormal elements.

Why do I write?

That's simple. I write because I can. And because I can’t not.

Most people have some sort of creative urge. We need the satisfaction of making something that wasn’t there before. It could be growing plants, knitting or writing computer programs. It could be painting, playing music, inventing sudoko grids, doing cross stitch or even tackling double-entry bookkeeping and seeing all the numbers adding up the way they should at the end. I feel very strongly that not doing something you have a talent for is a waste. It frets us, niggles at our minds. People should play to their strengths because it’s why we have them. I can write, I can entertain, so I do. Also it significantly reduces the likelihood of my laying waste to a large swathe of my surroundings in frustration.

How does my writing process work?

 Each book starts with an idea. A phrase, perhaps, or a character. Maybe a line of dialogue or a setting. That idea rolls around gently in my head, gathering new bits and pieces. I often scribble it all down on paper, stream-of-consciousness style, over and over again before it begins to make sense and I have a story. By the time I actually start writing I will usually know the beginning and the end. I’ll also know my characters and a few hazy milestones along the way. The rest often surprises me - and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The hard part is writing the story. I write best at night in the early stages of a book, when everything is quiet and there are no distractions. I then go over it the next day, and add some more. I repeat the process until I’m only changing the odd word here and there,
then I move on to the next section. It really is two steps back and three steps forward the whole time, but hopefully the manuscript is getting smoother and more cohesive with every iteration.

After it is finished, of course, I have to let people read it - and then the editing starts all over again!

So, that's my writing process. Next, I am passing the baton to the very talented writer Beryl Kingston. Beryl doesn't have a blog of her own, so she is being hosted by the equally splendid Jenny Haddon.


Lesley Cookman said...

Good post, Jan. Don't know how many people read them - but it helps get the names out, doesn't it? (I hope!)

Jan Jones said...

Thanks, Lesley. I get quite a few people dropping in here - makes me ashamed that I don't post more often

Clare Wartnaby said...

I'm just reading Fairlights now, Jan, and loving it! Definitely like the sound of the related Regency story.

Jan Jones said...

Thank you, Clare!

Irene Hyland said...

Rather apt that I should happen on this. I often re-read books and I have just finished re-reading "Fair Deception".Once again, Thank you.
Lately your work has only been available to me through Peoples Friend. I have in the distant past typed out manuscripts but there is nothing like a book in hand.
I understand that some of your work is on Kindle but that is not available to me.

Jan Jones said...

Hello Betty! I wonder if you can download the Canadian Kindle application for your computer? I will emaIl you the link for Canadian kindle edition . Often a little messafge pops up in one corner with the method in.

J. Fishler said...

I always enjoy your blog posts. Always. Thanks for another good read. :))

Jan Jones said...

Thank you, Jen!