Or more to the point, this marks the final stop on my blog tour by The Bookish Snob. I don’t have enough thanks for all the great people who’ve hosted me over the past several weeks, it’s been a lot of fun posting all over the internet, answering interview questions and meeting some new folks (virtually). Hopefully some of you will make it out to a signing or a con someday and we’ll be able to meet face to face.
I know, destroys the whole concept of the internet, this real life meeting thing. But since I moved out of my mom’s basement last week I’m feeling much more confident about myself. 🙂
For this last post let’s talk briefly about process. My process is constantly evolving, as I read more books and blogs by other writers, go to more workshops and talk with other writers and generally try to grow my craft. So don’t hold me to any of this, because I may not do it this way six months from now.
I try to write every workday, and my goal is at least 1,000 words each night. I have a day job, so I have to write in the evenings. Typically I’ll come home, eat dinner with my wife, we’ll watch an episode of something on Netflix (currently Trauma, but almost done with that), then once we’ve spent a couple hours together I’ll retire to the office to write. This is usually around 9:30-10PM. That leaves me with an hour or two to write each night, and I can easily crank out 1,000 words in an hour.
But of course there’s more to it than that. I write using a program called Scrivener, which has been Mac only up til now, but the Windows version is in beta for the rest of you. I like the way it lays out chapters for me, plus it exports directly to ebooks, which saves me $150 per book on formatting. That can be substantial over time, and since I have a lot of stories to tell, those savings will add up quickly.
I always write to music, and I tailor the music to fit what I’m writing. I usually go with singer/songwriter stuff when I’m writing normal scenes, but go heavier when I get to a fight scene. If you hear Rage Against the Machine or Rob Zombie coming from the office, you know I’m working on a fight scene. If you hear instrumental, please stay out – that’s what I use to work on problem scenes. Last night was a lot of Joe Satriani, because I needed to work out a few things plot-wise that were hanging up the continuity of the book, and I had to find a place to put another break in the action, no matter how much I hated it.
That’s one tough thing about writing vampires – there’s only so much dark time. At least in the spring and summer you’ve got to cram a lot of action into not a ton of hours. So I had to rewrite a few things, move a building across town and put in another daytime break because I just had too much going on in one night.And since my vampires can’t stand the touch of sunlight, I can’t cheat.
So I write to music, and I outline to music. I started outlining with Back in Black, and I find that it really does help me stay on track and write faster. Yeah, I know, it’s faster to get somewhere when you know where you’re going, right? And yes, that does mean that I wrote my first two novels completely by the seat of my pants, counting on my witty dialogue to cover any huge plot holes. Not the best strategy, but those books turned into The Chosen and Hard Day’s Knight, which are pretty good in my opinion. So now I outline religiously, and refer back to it all the time. I’m starting to put more detail in my outlines, too, in an effort to boost my word count. Rachel Aaron had a great blog post about this earlier this week, so I’m trying out her method to see if I can be more productive.
The goal is to generate 3-4 novels each year, so that I can keep more than one series going at a time. Maybe if I someday land a fat publishing contract (or two) I can cut that down to 1-2 novels per year, but that seems unlikely, since I’m not actively chasing traditional contracts right now. For now I’m pretty happy with the way things are going, and if the traditional publishing world wants to find me, I’m pretty easy to locate. I wouldn’t turn down a traditional contract if a good one dropped in my lap, but I’m focusing on writing for now and letting everything else sort itself out.
So thanks for stopping by, and thanks for hanging out on the tour with me! It’s been a lot of fun, but now you want to know how to win the contest!That’s right, all you have to do to get your name used for one of the villains in Knight Moves (and there are male and female villains, so you can win either way) is to comment on this blog post. Just leave a comment, make sure to fill out the email address field, and I’ll notify the winner next week. The contest will run until June 17th, so go ahead and drop your name in the hat now!