Daily Joe, October 7
Good morning and welcome to Brynn Daily Joe, for Thursday, October 7th.
So yesterday, foolishly, I said I'd blog about my writing process today. That seems pretty monumental at the moment. Many of you might think it's just get an idea and sit down to write the book. And I'm sure that there are many authors who operate that way. There is no one right way to do things. This one is just mine. And it will probably change. It has morphed many times over the past 14+ years. Some things have changed and some things have stayed perennially the same.
Though it might seem strange, the first thing that usually comes to me in a title. A lot of 'teachers' advise to come up with the title late in the process, but a lot of times the title for me is the conception of my idea.
Building on that, I move to the idea and the concept. Sometimes, these roll around in my head for months or even years before I write down anything. This was the case with Knight Time Kiss, Weathering the Storm and the upcoming StepBeast. And sometimes, I get the full blown idea in a second, as with In the Dark, Revenge of the Curves and Belonging to Them.
Immediately, following that, I draft my cover. I'm a highly visual person. I need my cover in my mind. Is it my final cover for the project? No. Often it is, but sometimes, it's not. For example, this was my cover for StepBeast for years:
I still really like it, but it's not what I'm going with. The cover style was really on trend when I made the cover, but not so much now.
Once I've nailed down my concept, I start fleshing out things. Where and when does this book happen? Who is my lead character and what do they want? A note about that... Even though I write romance and both characters have weighty roles in the book, I always have one character who is my lead, even if you can't tell.
Thinking back over my past few books:
Enforcer: the lead is Yuri
Knight Time Kiss: the lead is Emma
In Plain Sight: the lead is Carter
Step Challenge: the lead is Barrett
Bridesmaid Again: the lead is Taya
Usually, my lead character is the one who opens the book. Once I figure out the scant basics about them (who they are, what they do, their general situation and what they want) I move on to what's their hang-up or problem.
For In the Dark, it was the heroine's birthmark and the fact it had basically marked her as a witch since birth. For Step Challenge, it was the hero's adversarial relationship with his father and his need to toe the line while covertly making the life he wanted. In Enforcer, it's Yuri's ambition warring against the Family's requirements and needs. While he doesn't necessarily feel stuck, he's stuck in a situation that both gives him freedom and requires his absolute devotion, even to the detriment of what he really wants.
This is a really important concept to nail down. I don't really follow the old goals, motivation and conflict (GMC). I go with what does the lead want for the book and what's their impediment. I find it easier to nail down than GMC, and it's very specific to the situation in which the characters find themselves.
Once I do that, I determine the book's theme. It's stated in the text of the early chapters. Note that I actually write these lines (then tweak them) BEFORE I ever start the book.
Step Challenge: Mars stared down at me. “Sometimes, you have to fight for what you want.” His brow raised. “Even if it’s…unconventional.” (Barrett has to fight for what he wants even though the cards are continually stacked against him)
Bridesmaid Again: Possibly my lack of boyfriend until now had a lot to do with my dedication to geekdom. (this was a short book and the theme was a little squishy in my statement, but it says a lot about the heroine and how she operates through the whole book. It explains why she thinks and behaves as she does--or at least is a precursor for what to expect from her. I mean she can speak Klingon. Need I say more?)
In Plain Sight: She bit her lip, studying at me. “My whole life, whenever I make a plan, it ends up going a different way. Change happens, even when you think you have everything mapped out. But sometimes, maybe you were going the wrong direction.”
Knight Time Kiss: “Don’t think about tomorrow,” she muttered. “Just focus on right now, and what you need to do this moment.” (This speaks deeply to who Emma is. While she has a big picture hope, she focuses on being in the moment and getting through what is happening now. It's what helps her to survive when she lands in the past with no idea how she got there and no idea if she'll ever go back.)
Then, once I figure out those things, I write up the character bios for the lead characters (hero and heroine). These are not as in depth as many people go. I find more than the basics to be a giant waste of time. Here's what I do figure out:
Full name and book title (ie Katiya Baranov - Enforcer)
A general description, including age and clothing style
Job (how they spend most of their time, ie student or secretary, etc.)
Personality type and the main traits (positive and negative). I take these types from this book. I have an original print copy from 2000 that's kind of falling apart. It's probably the one writing book I'd recommend most.
Baggage they're bringing into the book
This usually takes me two full-size notebook pages. I will write side by side not front and back of the sheet, so I can lay it out in front of me and have the whole picture.
That's about it for today. Tomorrow, I'll go more into the actual plotting process once all the above set-up is complete.
Today, October 7, 2021
Enforcer is due to Amazon today, so I'll finish any last little tweaks and editing that's required and get that uploaded. I'll also be writing several chapters of After Z and Wife Bait, and nailing down more of the story basics for Monster Bait using the technique laid out above today.
Have a great Thursday! Don't forget to preorder Enforcer if you haven't already!!