My Writing Process – A Blog Hop

This post is part of the My Writing Process blog hop. If you’ve never seen a blog hop before, it’s like a chain letter where you get to talk about yourself. Weeks ago, someone tagged my friend, Anna J. McIntyre. She tagged me and two other mutual friends, and then I went on a mad scramble to tag some authors who were willing to tag other authors.

Every Monday, a new and growing set of authors blogs about My Writing Process. You can follow the chain backwards or forwards. You can veer off onto new branches of the chain (do chains have branches?) It’s a great way to discover your favorite new read.

What am I working on?

I’m writing Sneak Thief, my fourth Lia Anderson Dog Park Mystery (due out this summer). The title dog is Julia, a perfectly adorable Beagle with big brown eyes and a penchant for stealing. Her owner is Desiree Willis.

Those who read my first book, A Shot in the Bark, will recognize Desiree and her special connection to Lia, a connection neither she nor Lia is aware of. Desiree has a stalker. And then there’s murder, and . . . well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Dog Park Mysteries focus on the community of oddball relationships established at the park, so they are primarily cozy mysteries. But they have more suspense, thrills and  heat than your typical cozy. While readers have classified my stories as clean romance, my characters do have sex. You might wind up inside a killer’s mind, or in a fight for your life. I’ll drop an F-bomb on rare occasions when it’s especially appropriate.

Lia is an ordinary person who starts the series well out of her depth. Murder changes her. You see her deal and you see her grow.  Peter is a great boyfriend, but he’s got a few faults. Their relationship is a work in progress. The dogs are clueless about murder though their doggie antics have been known to impact an investigation.

If a character uses an electronic gizmo, the gizmo exists and is readily available and affordable. DNA results take weeks to return. Peter may pay out-of-pocket for private lab results when an investigation isn’t official, but he’s not going to jet off to Central America before breakfast to follow a clue. He doesn’t have the vacation time, for one thing.

Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s fun and challenging to create entertaining stories that include relatable characters and plausible plots.

I want books that are warm and funny, sometimes sexy (but never graphic) and occasionally scary, with some smarts thrown in. I found bits in other authors but never the whole package, so that’s what I’m looking for when I write.

How does my writing process work?

I work best on my iMac desktop computer. I have an ancient, oak chair a friend rescued from somewhere, a stool with the legs removed for my feet, and a sliding keyboard tray.

I start with a premise and imagine how my characters will react to it. This stage also involves a lot of poking around on the internet. For my current story, that meant reviewing all kinds of surveillance gadgets and figuring out exactly how someone would use them.

A friend of mine has a shop where she overhauls flutes. I polish instruments for her. We’ll sit in the workroom and I’ll polish while she’s working on repairs and we pass the time discussing plot points.

When I have the initial scenes in mind, I sit down and start writing. I try to stay a few steps ahead of myself while I see where the story takes me. I have an idea where I want to end up, but I have to work out how to get there as I go along. I set up a calendar of events to ensure plot continuity.

I immerse in the story while I’m writing the first draft, neglecting friends, letting the laundry pile up and drinking lots of coffee. If I’m not sitting at my desk, I’m napping on the couch and letting the story percolate.

Once I finish the first draft, it sits for a few weeks before I do a read-through with a paper printout. I’ll scribble notes on it as I go through it. I stay off the computer at that point because I don’t want to be tempted to start re-writes before I’m done reading.

Once I’ve done the first set of revisions, I’ll hand it off to my first-stage beta readers. I’ll do the third draft using their feedback, then send it off to my second-stage betas. When I’ve incorporated the beta feedback, I’ll start chasing any remaining typos and tinkering. I’ll run it through a couple of editing programs. I’ll listen to it using text-to-speech while reviewing it word for word on the computer. I’ll read it again on my Kindle. Once I’ve done the best I can with it, I send it to my editor for the final polish. By the time I’m done, the book has had more than a dozen passes.

Keep on Hopping!

Be sure to check out author Anna J. McIntyre’s post from last week.

February 24th, look for new blog hop posts by authors Meghan Ciana Doidge, Jess Mountifield and Corrie Fischer

7 thoughts on “My Writing Process – A Blog Hop”

  1. Enjoyed reading your blog hop post (and what a great idea this is!)

    I particularly appreciated your explanation of how your work differs from others in the genre. I think there’s a lot of room in the cozy world for all sorts of mysteries, including ones that push the traditional boundaries a bit. We seem to have that in common.

    “A Shot in the Bark” is next on my TBR list, by the way.

    ~Susan

    Like

      1. At the moment we share our lives with one rescue kitty who has enough personality for an entire clowder! I think he’s part dog–he was fascinated by Westminster this year.

        In the slideshow on my site you’ll see a photo of my beloved spaniel Alix who was with me for nearly 18 years. They stay in your heart forever, don’t they?

        Reading “Shot” will be my reward this weekend for troubleshooting a plot issue that’s holding up book #2 in my series. I’ll holler when I’ve finished it. And I wonder: if you’d like to talk about your series on my site, send me a message and we can discuss!

        ~Susan

        Like

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