Since I became a writer, I've always been curious about how other writers write: how much time do they put into each draft, whether they plot and plan or free write, how they approach revisions and editing, and of course, whether they are ever blocked and what they do about it. Therefore, when Natasha Brown, author of the Shapeshifter Chronicles, asked me to join the Writing Process Blog hop, I eagerly accepted.
1. What am I currently working on?
Whole Latte Love is my sixth novel. It is an opposites-attract romance: Wall Street meets Berkeley, between an uptight investment banking intern and a rebellious barista/guitarist. I'm in the final revision phase, but this book has taken me quite a while doing research in investment banking and finance, as well as walking around Berkeley to get a feel of that vibrant and quirky city.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm crazier than other romance and romantic suspense writers. I'm not afraid to tackle controversial topics such as abortion, racism, homelessness, disability, and mental illness. These themes are not the center point of my stories, but they give realism and provide situations for my characters to grow emotionally and make the changes needed for a happy, romantic ending.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I'm an ultimate romantic. I truly believe love can conquer all. I write for the feelings and emotions of falling in love, working through problems and difficulties, putting that love to a test, and the reward of the grand romantic moment with kisses and hearts and balloons and sweet desserts. I also write deep into my character and I won't hesitate to let the reader into the character's most private feelings and thoughts to expose their flaws and amplify their passions. Every character has his or her distinct and authentic voice. The best praise that I've received were from readers saying they "were" my character while reading the story, whether it was Princess Michal in the badlands of Israel to Vera on the beach with Zach to Evie hanging tight on the back of Romeo's motorcycle. That sense of being the character is what I strive for.
4. How does your writing process work?
Each story is an unique adventure and I have yet to settle on a repeatable process. Scary, huh? or exciting. Depending on perspective. I'll let the timelines speak for themselves.
first draft - Dec 2010 - Feb 2011
critiques and revision - Feb 2011 - Nov 2011
To Editor - Dec 2011
Published Feb 2012
first draft - Nov 15-30, 2011
critiques and revision - Dec 2011-June 2012
beta reading July 2012
To Editor - Aug 2012
Published - Sept 2012
first draft - Aug 7 - Oct 30, 2012
critiques and revision - Sept 2012 - Dec 2012
Editing - Dec 2012
beta reading - Jan 2013
published Jan 13, 2013
Feb 4 start - threw out 27,000 words
Restart March 12
First draft finished May 10, 2013
Critique and revision - March-August 2013
Beta Reading - June 2013
To Editor - July 6, 2013
Published Sept 6, 2013
Whole Latte Love
Started July 16, 2013
Restart First Draft Sept 11 - Nov 2, 2013
Second Draft - Nov 2 - Nov 29, 2013
To Developmental Editor - Dec 2013
Third draft finished Jan 20, 2014
Fourth draft still in progress
Critique/revision still in progress
First draft Jan 20-Feb 3, 2014
Beta Reading/Editing Feb 4-11
Published Feb 12, 2014
In general I can whip out a first draft pretty fast. However the bulk of my time is taken in critique and revision. I am an active member of CritiqueCircle.com, a free online workshop where writers exchange critiques and feedback on their work. I work with several free lance editors, depending on my need and so far, I've proofread everything myself, however that may change since I found a person who is incredible at spotting obscure things.
I don't plot and outline. The one novel I plotted and outlined, Kyra's Shield, is unpublished because after I finished the first draft, I felt that I had already done everything I could for the story and I was no longer interested in discovering anything else. Therefore, I like to reserve the spirit of discovery in my writing process, whether it is first draft or in revision. I love to surprise myself, even it it involves plot changes late in the game. It keeps my writing fresh and my interest level high enough to live my characters' lives by not knowing exactly what will happen next.
I hope you enjoyed my writing process, or lack thereof, and that something in here has inspired you.
Since I wrote and published Taming Romeo in 25 days, I am going to offer a free online writing class - "Romance in a Month" where the participants, YOU, will embark on a journey with me to write a romantic story in a month. Sound exciting???
The class will start May 15, but I will start taking signups now. I'll form a private Facebook group to post the lessons and hold the class discussions and schedule a few Google Hangouts for participants to ask questions.
Please email me at ayala (dot) rachelle (at) gmail (dot) com or contact me at my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RachelleAyalaWriter or the Romance In A Month Group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/romanceinamonth/ to sign up. The class is no pressure, fun only, and motivational. We will, as a group, inspire and support each other. There are no wordcount goals, nada. You may write a flash romance to an epic romance, or finish with an outline or synopsis. The important thing is to go through the experience together and know that you CAN do it!
Now, it's my turn to pass the Writing Process baton to the following author, Charity Parkerson, award winning erotic romance author! Check out her post next week. Also, look for romance author Christina Jean Michaels who also writes under the name Gemma James at her blog.