Amused Authors

How I Write by Christa Maurice
December 11, 2009, 2:51 pm
Filed under: fiction, publishing, romance, writing

My life is far too chaotic lately to manage any kind of fixed schedule. When I was first getting into the groove of this writing thing, I did benefit from one though. I worked from 9-6 every day, came home, had dinner, took a bath and was at my desk by 8, 8-12 I wrote. Just like Pavlov’s dog, the time would come and I’d be ready. Now, I have a musical cue. When I need to sit down and get to it right away I put on Def Leppard’s Slang album. Something about that album settles me right into work. I don’t ask why it works, I’m just glad that it does.

I prefer to write the whole first draft and then go back to do fixes. I’m a pantser so there are times when the story goes off track and I will go back and edit a bit trying to figure out where it when wrong. Other writers I know swear by editing what they did they day before as the best way to get started and still others edit as they write. To each his/her own. Results may vary.

I don’t study writing much because I’m too busy writing and researching. That said, I do hit the occasional workshop on Romance Divas and spontaneous threads develop about craft. There’s one book I would recommend, Leigh Michaels On Writing Romance. It is very clear and well put together from one of the true giants of the genre.

I don’t keep up with genre trends. There’s no point. Think of it this way. Someone announces that the next big thing is going to be Oriental time travel. I, being a fast writer decide I’m going to jump on that bandwagon. It takes me a month to research and brainstorm. If all things are working right and the wind blows northerly, I can write a 90K-100K novel in 3 months. I let it sit for a month before editing. Edit in 2 weeks and send it to the publisher. I’ll say I sent it to Lyrical because, based on my established relationship with them it will get read right away. We’ll say they take it right away and put it on the publishing schedule, for 11 months in the future, during which time we will do three rounds of editing. So from the time of the announcement to the time of publication of my book, 16 months have elapsed and that bandwagon has gone. The market is glutted with Oriental time travel romances because authors like Jeannie Lin, who already write Oriental, could get something together much more quickly. And for an unpublished author, add 3 or 4 months of getting through the slush pile. Write the story you want to write. It will become a trend soon enough.

Writing is my life and it’s part time. If I was trying to live on my royalties, I would be a lot skinnier than I am now. It’s that way for a lot of authors. Most of them in fact. Writing is not something you do because you’re going to get rich. You do it because you love it (and sometimes because if you didn’t, you’d have nightmares.) Over time I expect my royalties to accumulate into something that will amount to real money, but not soon. I expect to put in a full teaching career in the meantime.



2 Comments so far
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What? Oriental time travel? Oh darn…that was just a hypothetical. You’re right though. Trends are difficult to chase. Better to write what you love. I know it’s cliche, but I always reach a point where I hate each project. Better to start from a place of love. Nice post and thanks for the mention.

Comment by Jeannie Lin

Your ears were burning, weren’t they Jeannie?

Comment by Charlotte McClain

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