Monday, 16 December 2013

My Writing Process #mywritingprocess

Today is "My Writing Process" blog tour day, when writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, fellow author Beth Elliott posted hers. You can check it out at
Beth writes Regency stories – but with a difference, as they are set in exotic places.
Many thanks for the invitation, Beth.
So, what is my writing process? I’ve converted one of the bedrooms in my house to a study (or office, or whatever you want to call it!) and my desktop computer sits in one corner. I probably spend 80% of my time here, except for the days when I go out for pub lunches and other visits with various friends.
When I first started writing, back in the 1960s, I wrote longhand, and then typed my manuscripts. Now I type my stories straight into the computer –so much easier to delete, change words and phrases, and move paragraphs around!
What are you working on?
My current ‘work in progress’ is one I’ve been working on longer than any other previous novel. I started it about 2 years ago, got about half way through, and realised it wasn’t ‘right’ somehow, so I put it on the backburner while I wrote another novel. I came back to it last September, hoping a fresh look at it would help, but I am still struggling with it! The main theme is the ‘Different Worlds’ in which a successful actress and a Lakeland vet live. Despite being attracted to each other, they think their lives aren’t compatible, and there are other factors which make them both wary of embarking on any new relationship. I’ll get there eventually, but in the meantime, it’s like carving granite with a teaspoon!
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I like to think it’s because I write about real people with lives that the reader can relate to. I don’t go for billionaires, or landed gentry. My heroes and heroines all have their own careers, and live in the ‘real’ world. My heroes are definitely not alpha males, who might appeal to some readers, but who (in my opinion) would be a huge turn-off in real life. Mine are what I call alpha-minus, beta-plus heroes, combining the best aspects of both alpha and beta, and losing the more negative aspects of each. They’re confident and self-assured, but at the same time caring and considerate. My heroines are intelligent and independent, willing to give and receive love in equal measure. One of my Amazon reviewers, to my delight, said that I “created likeable, interesting characters who lead life like real people.”
Why do you write what you do?
The easy answer to that is because it’s what I’ve always written! As a child, I wrote school stories, but once I got to my teens, I was writing romances. Very cheesy romances, I readily admit, but when I was in my 20s, I turned one of those stories into a full-length romance which was accepted by Mills and Boon. Since then I’ve always written romances. Maybe one day I’ll stray out of my comfort zone, but at the moment I’m quite happy with it.
How does your writing process work?
The best way to describe it would probably be haphazardly! I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I get a basic idea (sometimes from what I've seen or read) and have a vague notion where the story will go. In that sense, I have the beginning and the end, but most of the time I rely on my characters – and my own sudden flashes of inspiration –to fill in the middle of the story.
I agonise over the first draft, which usually takes me about six months, but once that is done, I really enjoy revising, polishing, and detailed editing – which probably adds about another three months to my writing process.
Next week the following three authors will be telling you about their writing process:
Jennifer Wilck - contemporary romance writer of love, laughter and happily ever after.
Sherry Gloag - author of regency and contemporary romance - with a dash of suspense.
Viola Russell - author of contemporary and historical romance


  1. I enjoyed your post, Paula. Writing is hard, isn't it... but we have to do it. Those characters are so real to us, we have to give them their place in the world, by getting their story complete.

  2. So true, Beth. Non-writers have no idea just how much we struggle at times. Part of me wants to abandon this story I'm struggling with at present, but the other part wants to get everything sorted out for the characters who have become so real to me!

  3. Enjoyed that post, Paula - I like that type of hero!

  4. I think we both approach writing in similar ways, Paula. I'm looking forward to your completing your WIP--can't wait to read it!

  5. Thanks, Rosemary, I love my strong but sensitive heroes too :-)

  6. Jen, if I ever complete this WIP, I shall breathe the biggest sigh of relief ever!

  7. We are twins, Paula! The first draft - particularly the first few chapters - is a hard slog, interrupted by occasional runs of excited realisation. "Of course s/he does that, says the other, thinks x,y z...."
    The real pleasure comes in the editing and polishing.

  8. I love being able to move things around on the computer. Writing novels long hand must have been tough. These days, I haven't done much work on my WIP. In fact, I wonder if I can even call it a WIP. It's discouraging to keep completing manuscripts that no one will publish.