I actually get a lot of messages about my writing process. I was surprised the first time but now I’m kind of used to it.
I think there’s an inherent curiosity regarding the writing process. Mine is not particularly illuminating (or even unique) but I promised to lay it out for those interested.
So, here we go:
1. I never work on one thing at a time. The reason I can publish things so fast is that I overlap. There are purists out there who believe it’s sacrilege to work on two things at once. That’s not me. Right now, for example, I have eleven things in various stages of completion. We’re talking shorts, omnibuses and novels here. Breaking that down, the omnibuses are completely ready to load up. Three novels are ready to load up (one for preorder, one for Tuesday, one for June). Two are with editors and the rest are ready to go to editors. All except for one … which is the book I’m writing now. I can only WRITE one book at a time. I don’t jump around from book-to-book while writing but I can overlap the various stages of editing (which actually take longer than the writing for me) and formatting.
2. I use an outline when I write. Each series has its own notebook and I outline the next book in the series as soon as I finish the previous book because it streamlines the process. For example, last week I finished the main writing on the next Avery Shaw book (to head off the inevitable questions, it’s for September release and has many rounds of edits to go through so it will not be out early. There is a schedule pinned to the top of the Facebook page that lists releases) and I immediately outlined the next one. That way, when I go back in five months and start writing it, I will already have the outline done and be able to hop right in.
3. When it comes to story ideas, they usually pop up when I’m doing other things … like laundry, dishes, walking or even driving to the store. I jot down the ideas in a notebook and when it comes time to outline I decide which outline I’m leaning toward and go. By that time I’ve had the story percolating in my head for a few days and it only takes me an hour or two to outline. I’m what’s considered a “beat” outliner. That means I write down the most important aspects to cover in that chapter and then let the chapter get to where it wants on its own. It works for me but I know other people who are horrified by my process. I’m also not afraid to break from an outline if I have a better idea as I’m writing.
4. Once I’m done with the main writing I walk away for a week or two and work on the main writing on something else. By the time I come back I have just a bit of distance which helps for editing purposes. I then edit the manuscript and get it off to the first editor as soon as possible. I have a line editor and two proofreaders I utilize (and, yes, typos still get through). Once I get it back I have to go through it one more time, format and then upload. Because the process is so long and overlapping, that’s why I can’t always do preorders even though people want them. Preorders are great when they work but I refuse to put anything up for preorder that’s not 100 percent complete (there have been horror stories about Amazon sending out the wrong file) so I can only do what I can do. I put what I can up for preorder and the rest doesn’t get preorders.
5. As for ideas, I have so many ideas that I can’t keep up with them. I know other authors who say they struggle for ideas but I have the opposite problem. I will never be able to write all of the ideas I have. In fact, sometimes I get taken over by an idea. That’s kind of happening now with a series that I had an idea for and it was kind of stalking me so I started working on it to get it out of the way. I like it because it has a lot of crossover capability with characters from other series. Despite that, though, if I don’t put some work into it I will become distracted while trying to write something else and it will actually slow me down over the long haul. I have a tendency to get obsessed with stuff.
So, that’s basically it. My process is relatively easy but it’s long and I have a lot to cover between stages.
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.