First, a huge thank you to Savvy Authors for letting me join them today to talk turkey about books and writing. It’s actually pretty easy to do, considering we’re talking about two of my favorite things, but still, thanksfor having me on.
Several weekends ago I did something I’d never done – I took a girlfriends’ weekend get-a-way with my high school friends whom I rarely see unless it’s a funeral or a class reunion. But since we were all turning the big 4-oh!this year, we thought it timely and appropriate to ditch our husbands, children and ridiculous stacks of laundry and go to Dallas to shop, eat and reminisce. We were SOOOOO right. It was perfect, but over the course of the weekend, the comment “you’re so weird” came up. Or so-and-so is “kooky” – all in a loving way, of course. Okay, well there was one time itwas not so loving, but there were seven ladies in two rooms with very verbal opinions. Still, it struck me that being kooky is okay. In fact, being different is preferable for balance…and for all us “old” friends to actually enjoy new experiences, new foods, and styles of clothing (we did shop a lot).
Such is the writing process.
You don’t have to write like XX to be successful…even if she’s a NY Times bestseller. And you don’t have to write like XY even if he gives lectures telling people how to write and makes lots of money doing it. See, writing is deeply personal and thus the process can also be deeply personal. I probably have a different process than you. So? Big deal. Does it make me better or less of a writer? Nope. So here’s the point of this whole post – it’s okay if you don’t write like everyone else. In fact, it’s probably best you don’t.
Some writers plot with colored tabs and sticky notes, some make photo collages and still others open a blank page with a prayer and not much else. I’ve often listened to other writers talk about their process and wondered, “Am I doing it wrong?” “Should I be ______ing?” Or “Maybe I should make sure I have a plot turn on page 82, too.” But ultimately, I’ve found my process makes sense and works best for me. Does that mean I value the information, workshop or informal chat any less? No. Because you never know when a suggestion by another writer might break down the wall you’ve been banging your head against for weeks. For example, I’m not a plotter who uses maps, charts and pages upon pages of structure…in other words, I’m not crazy. Ha. Just kidding. But I love to attend workshops by serious plotters because their approach fascinates me, and it makes me more aware of the way I address my own writing. What’s my process? Well, I like to loosely plot, do a small GMC for the entire story, and then see what happens. I also write one draft, polishing for about thirty minutes each time I start a new scene, then when I’m about 75% complete, I stop, go back to the beginning and edit until I’m satisfied the story can sail. That’s it. My process. Not wrong. Not right. Just mine.
So as we begin the “conference season,” remember to embrace what works for you. It’s your process. Own it. When I was fresh out of the gate, I attended every workshop hoping the “pros” could teach me how to write a book that would sell. In each one, I copiously scribbled notes and applied it to my work when I returned home, but until I stepped back and owned what worked for Liz Talley, I couldn’t advance past gobbledy gook…and no one wants to buy or read goobledy gook. My efforts to do what so-and-so does was like decorating a room with minimalist art, Rococo furniture, and an heirloom hooked rug. Just wasn’t going to work. Or maybe it’s like over accessorizing with big earrings, big necklaces and forty bangle bracelets. Hmmm…maybe some people can pull that off, but most can’t. Borrowing everyone and his brother’s process can make your work weighty, boring and not “you.”
So what is your process? Have you embraced it? Or are you still discovering what works? Or have I just confused the devil out of you? J Share how you approach writing, and one lucky commenter will win his or her choice of one of my Oak Stand, Texas series books.
Waters Run Deep
Getting attached to someone nearly sidelined agent Annie Perez's career. So she's not about to make the same mistake twice. This latest undercover assignment in Louisiana—acting as nanny for a famous couple under threat—suits her perfectly. She can investigate quietly and under the radar. That is, provided she can stay clear of way-too-suspicious detective Nate Dufrene.
Easier said than done when Nate seems to be around every corner. And with each encounter, Annie is tempted a little more by this son of Bayou Bridge. Yet regardless of their chemistry, they are worlds apart, and she's not willing to compromise for love again. But when she needs an ally, Nate has her back. And that could convince her to get veryattached!
A former English teacher and mother of two, Liz Talley spends much of her time writing sassy Southern stories for Harlequin Superromance. Her book Vegas Two Step debuted in June 2010 and since, she’s sold fifteen more books to Harlequin Superromance. Her three book series “The Boys of Bayou Bridge” releases this summer followed by The Spirit of Christmas, a December release. A 2009 Golden Heart finalist in Regency romance, Liz serves as the president of NOLA STARS and blogs regularly with The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, Everybody Needs a Little Romance, and Superromance authors. When not writing, Liz cheers for her boys on the baseball field, balances the dreaded checkbook and avoids growing piles of laundry. You can visit Liz at www.liztalleybooks.com to learn more about her and her upcoming books.