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Writers World- Q&A session

I’ve been getting a few questions via email, twitter and IM about my writing process and thought I’d hit them here on the blog.

How do you come up with ideas and transfer them to the page?

Coming up with ideas- there’s a million different ways people find ideas. For me, a lot of my stories start with a location/setting. Or a single scene. Or a single question. Wolf Signs started from me reading paranormal books where people could talk through their ‘mate’ connnection. And I wondered what that would be like for a person who had been deaf for a long time? Add in a trip to Granite Lake cabin, and the book setting and plot was nearly there.

Turn It On started from a single scene–a woman walking up a set of stairs in a huge old house, a man watching her. The two of them laughing from the top and bottom when the phone rings and the woman panics.

Tidal Wave was the location (Maritime trip with the family) and a picture of a woman wading in magical looking cave. Falling Freestyle was a local town and the fact I love to ski. The cowboy stories– setting is a beautiful part of Alberta that I’ve visited often camping and otherwise.

Find a setting. Or find a set of characters, and see where they want to be set!

I haven’t found yet that I’m ever lacking for ideas. Partly because I’ve done a lot of cool stuff over the years, traveled to neat places, and I’ve read a ton. Sets up lots of ideas to be played with.

…and transfer them to the page?

There are a million methods to do this as well. The one I’ve found that works works best for ME? I think of the three main things I see happening in the story. Something in the beginning, the middle and the end. And then, I write.

Now some people plot more, and I’ve done that. Some people don’t plot at all. I like to have SOME kind of target to aim at. But, I discard targets as soon as they aren’t working and move to the new one that IS working. Example? My first stab for Wolf Flight included an idea about Missy being a Russian wolf Princess. Ummm, no…

When I’m writing, I write–and this is MY thing–I write in bursts of 20 to 30 minutes. I can go all out, ignoring spelling errors, typos, whatever. Just keep going. This tricks me into ignoring the enticing but non-productive internet toys like Twitter, and Spider on my iPad. I often sprint with friends, either on twitter or on IM. That keeps me accountable and makes me less likely to ‘stop and check my email’.

I find writing for an hour straight is too much. I can clean up, and add in layers for an hour, but new writing? Like shorter times.


What do I think about as I write? Here’s what would be printed above my writers desk, if I HAD a desk instead of being a gyspy. ;)

#1- Just tell the story

Can also be phrased as “…and then? And then what happens?” I’m a storyteller. The fact the story is on paper, still means the adventure has to progress. When i get ‘stuck’, I write down what happens next.

#2- Action or Dialogue

While I’m writing what comes next? I try to use either dialogue or action. Yes, there’s internal dialogue that occurs. There are times I describe the scenery…but its the action and the dialogue that…yup. Tell the story.


Little dip into how I go about it. I’ll cover other areas other times. Oh, and for any of you aspiring authors, did you know that I started blogging right around the time I got my first contract? A lot of those early blog posts have description of what I was experiencing of the first time (edits, cover art forms). Try the archives here on the blog, but they don’t work, you can read things at the original blogger site :


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