Monday, October 11, 2010

Janet's Writing Process, Warning: Not for the faint of heart




I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hear about how I write books. The process varies, is ugly and too often throws me into self-doubt and torment. But if you relate to that, perhaps it’ll help to know you’re not alone. Or, maybe reading my process will give you great satisfaction, knowing yours is neater and far more productive. In that case, grab this chance to feel smug. They don't come often.


What I write: Inspirational historical romances for my wonderful publisher Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical.




Where I write: I write at my computer, a desk top, in my office on a balcony overlooking our living room with a great view of the outside world. I used to write in a bedroom, staring at a blank wall. Both work. I often forget to look at much more than my screen anyhow. I even have a Post-It note on my monitor to remind me to blink. But when I get up to replenish my water or for a stretch, I may see a blue heron and stop and admire him. Now geese.... Well, I won't insult our Canadian friends. I don't write away from home. I can barely type on a laptop. To use one I have to attach a full-sized keyboard. I'm sure I'd be banned from coffee shops so I don't go there except to meet my critique partner.





I take hard copy and craft books to more comfortable spots in the house to read. This room right off my office is furnished with my great-grandparents' wicker furniture and my mother-in-law's two dolls and some ladyhead vases, all the girly stuff I love.

When I write: I write for the length of time it takes to reach my daily word count. If I don’t make my goal, I catch up on Saturday. Saturday is the day, if we're home, that I do writing-related jobs like promotion. I try to take Sundays off except when deadlines loom. I don’t write on vacations. Again that laptop thing. But I read and revise manuscripts when I'm away. I love doing this stuff in a car. Need I say I'm not driving? LOL

How I write: I get the germ of an idea for my story. Germs are catchy. I catch mine from historical nuggets. Well, usually. An article on the orphan train phenomenon was the germ for the first two books, Courting Miss Adelaide and Courting the Doctor’s Daughter. A curiosity about mail-order brides led to research that planted the seed for The Substitute Bride. A story idea may come from or be enriched by historic social issues like suffrage, as seen in Courting Miss Adelaide. Or as in my March 2011 novel, Wanted: A Family, an interest in how society viewed unwed mothers years ago as compared to today.
But just having a slice of history or a look at mores doesn’t get me far. Next I play the “What If?” game. I look for something big, something universal that readers care about and can identify with even today. What if...a single woman saw the orphan train as her only way to mother a child? What if...the father of an adopted child in your care showed up in town? Taking a slightly different angle: What circumstances would make a woman desperate enough to marry a stranger? What happens when Christians rank sin?
Once I’ve got a feel for the direction of my story, I decide on my setting, not difficult since I write small-town stories set in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Sounds easy and up till now it is.

The planning stage: After this, I name my characters and decide on their goals, their motivation and take a stab at their conflicts. I don’t have much success with character sheets. I can’t seem to think about my story or my characters in the early phase without writing. Internal conflicts are fun. I love making up all the experiences (back story) that would give a character a false sense of self or an inability to move on with their lives. External conflicts are hard for me, especially book-length conflicts. I often stumble at this point. When I do, I brainstorm with Seekers or my critique partners, or think about tried and true conflicts like two dogs with one bone that will make the characters change and grow. And that will impact the reader, perhaps even make her change and grow too.

Usually the inciting incident comes to me, kind of out of the blue. I have never been given a story as some authors state, but I do get a snippet of an incident that kick-starts the story and brings the hero and heroine together. Examples of the inciting incident that brought the hero and heroine together: In Courting Miss Adelaide, Adelaide asks for an orphan. The hero is on the selection committee. In Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, Mary distrusts patent medicines. The hero is peddling his remedy. I try to charge the inciting incident with emotion or conflict. The character's goal in the inciting incident is rarely the characters’ book-length goal but needs to hook the reader.
The book-length goal comes next or perhaps I have it all along. No absolutes in my process. Callie’s goal in my March 2011 release, Wanted: A Family is to make her house safe so she can house unwed mothers, but the goal expands to working to change community judgment of these young women.
At the point where I have a book-length goal and characters, I run a blurb of the story idea past my editor in an e-mail. I learned the value of doing this when I wrote a proposal that my editor rejected.

Once I get approval, usually in a day or two, I write or continue writing the first three chapters and synopsis. Getting the book into a synopsis before I write the story is really hard for me—deciding the turning points, setbacks, black moment and climax of the story, all the things I must give my editor before we go to contract. I’m not sure I fit into either a Seat of the Pants or plotter category.
During the synopsis phase, I feel like a wanderer lost in the wilderness without a compass. Yes, I have lots resources, craft books and techniques that help. One of my favorite craft tools is Alicia Rasley’s The Story Within Guidebook that’s interactive exercises help to trigger ideas. But I still flounder around until I get a sense of the book. I also do research to make sure what I want to have happen in my story is historically feasible. It's upsetting to find out it isn't, but far better now than later. I told you this was ugly.
Once the proposal is accepted and a deadline set, I divide the number of words I have to write by the time allotted me, writing five days a week. My goal is to have the story written with a month or maybe two to revise so I shorten my deadline to accomplish that. As the deadline approaches, I’m at my desk 24/7. I want to learn to write faster to avoid this pressure as its draining.

Writing the book: I have some scenes I know I want to write that involve major events, but I try to make sure that scenes spring from the characters. To do that, I give the point of view character a goal in the scene that stems from events in the previous scene and relates to the book-length goal. Boy that's a mouthful. I hope that makes sense. At the end of the scene, the character either fails to get the goal or getting it makes things worse in some way. Now this has again really hard for me. As the author, I’m tempted to have my own goal for the scene, but I’m learning that can make the writing episodic or if there's no goal, I can end up with a tea scene, which may show characterization, let’s say, but nothing happens to forward the plot. If you want to read more in Seekerville that I wrote about writing scenes based on the character’s goal, go here. When I get stuck, I reread the book from the beginning. I cannot write a rough draft all the way through to save me. I know I should, but I am too anal to ignore stuff that bothers me. This doesn’t mean that when I finish a manuscript that it's ready. It still needs loads of polishing.

Revising: After the bulk of the book is written, I read it all the way through and jot notes to myself on what to fix. If I’m pressed for time, I read on the computer though hard copy is the best way to catch errors. I look at word choice--try to use stronger words and get rid of repetitive words. I look for ways to up conflict, add emotion and sexual tension. I try to enrich senses/setting. I rewrite to get rid of passive voice and telling. I look to see if I can bring the beginning and the ending full circle--tie it together some way. The list is long.

The story rarely ends up as the synopsis promised. Thankfully it usually has more depth, more issues that arise and hopefully more surprises for the reader.
Did you notice I didn't once mention a spreadsheet, Pam and Myra? LOL Yep, we're all different. If you managed to hang in through all that, leave a comment for a chance to win a $20 Starbucks gift card. I’d love to hear how you write. Hey, I'm looking for tips to make my process easier. Bottom line, writing isn’t easy. But a book finished is oh, so satisfying.
I brought veggie omelets, hot coffee and Lady Gray tea. We're eating on the patio so pull up a chair and let's talk writing.

Happy writing!

169 comments :

  1. Oooo there's pictures this time! :-P Love your zebra top Janet!

    So do you have any idea what the cover for Wanted is going to look like? I'm telling you Steeple Hill is putting out some great books with beautiful covers!

    XOXO~ Renee
    steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. And here I thought I might be first!

    Thanks for sharing, Janet!! It sounds like you and I have a lot in common as I do most of the same things you do when I'm writing. I guess the big difference is I use character charts religiously--they're the only way I have a clear idea of exactly who my characters are. Not saying I don't learn more about them as I write, but it's a great jumping off point for me.

    And I do all my rough drafts longhanded. It gives me the freedom to just write--when it goes into the computer, it's almost ready to go.

    Again, thanks for sharing Janet!

    Patty Smith Hall
    pattywrites(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  3. Somehow I saw an earlier version of this where you said you wear the letters off laptop keyboards. I've done that. Twice. To my old laptop. My neighbor owned a computer store and said he'd never seen it happen before ;). I had to send it in for some other problem and they replaced the keyboard [he said that it wasn't warranteed but the techs probably couldn't use it - they likely don't type well enough!].

    Anyway - I find it quite interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    Carol at carolmoncado dot com

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  4. Thanks for sharing your process, Janet. I'm like you in that I write using my desktop computer. I can't imagine writing in a coffee shop with all the noise--and the people who would wonder why that weird woman over there was talking to herself, making faces, and otherwise carrying on. I'd have to put a sign on my table that says, "It haven't really lost it. I'm a writer." =)

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  5. I love reading about how other writers go through the process, and how each writer is unique.

    Thank you for sharing your methods, Janet! :)

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  6. All most interesting! As someone who knows she need to start writing it's great to read how authors do it!! I'm looking forward to finding what works for me.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Don't worry about the Starbucks voucher but please put me down for the Kindle draw. Thanking you!
    e[dot]johnsen[at]clear[dot]net[dot]nz

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  7. Janet:

    My process is much like yours.
    Desktop computer.
    Thinking stage, to outline stage, to fleshing out the story.

    As I work, I keep a list of things to check or change AND don't do them until I reach the end.

    I do a lot of writing in longhand in the living room, then type it into the computer, because I don't have a laptop and can't make myself stay at the stationery computer too long at a time.

    The one thing you do that I can't is work in the car. Can't do it. Reading while riding makes me CARSICK.

    Don't drink coffee and don't have a Starbucks closer than 60 miles.

    Helen

    Coffee pot's ready, even if I don't drink the stuff.

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  8. Wow! I obviously have a very lenient process compared to this. Glad to get some tips from more seasoned writers :)

    How I write is I jot down ideas every night before sleep and then over the weekend I outline them for that following week. The following weekend I write my first draft, edit it, and then work on the second draft the following weekend. Usually it takes me a good month or so for a chapter for anything I write creatively. Ahh! Like your process though - more thorough!

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

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  9. I, too, enjoy the pictures and reading more about how you create your books, Janet! Thanks for sharing all that! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  10. Janet, you are so much fun! You're writing process made great sense to me. I agreed with most of your points, of how your ideas come and your process. I am writing contemporary, so I've drawn many ideas out of my own life experiences. However, as I begin to write this new story, I had to figure out a conflict for this character and I did not use the same methods. I'm not sure if it's going to work or not. may be too over the top. But, I'm excited about the story and I'm trying to get a rough draft/synopsis down on paper so I can have a clue as to how the story looks. I'm currently following Michael Hauge's 6-stage story structure and always use Debra Dixon's GMC chart... though I continue to struggle with that early on.

    Speaking of book covers, I agree with Renee, SH is doing much better. Bravo to the Cover Art department!

    Patty, I can't imagine writing the whole thing long handed! Wow!

    christylashea(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. Enjoyed reading about your writing process Janet. Once again I found nuggets to utilize myself. Do you do most of your research on the internet or do you do book research too?

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  12. "The story rarely ends up as the synopsis promised."

    I sighed at this sentence. It was like I was being told I could color outside the lines!

    Thanks for this reminder and all your other insights.

    I have to use an ergonomic keyboard so I am stuck in my office/art studio. I have books and art all around me. I am such an early bird so my writing is normally in the morning.

    My inspiration usually nags at me to pound it out on the keyboard. I was going to say "down on paper" but I haven't done that in a long time.

    Lastly, March can't come quickly enough. Looking forward to your next book.

    Peace, Julie
    jhsteele(at)bellsouth(dot)com

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  13. The first thing I noticed is how tidy your office is...I'll be back later...I have to go clean my office.

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  14. Janet--I found my partner in crime. I'm not a chart person and I like The Story Within---reading your process proved I'm not alone in this crazy way I seem to craft a story. I also play the What If game. It's how I come up with what is going to happen after I first get that gem of an idea.
    Thanks for sharing!!
    belindapeterson@tds.net

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  15. Ok thats annoying wrote a whole post and lost it all.
    needless to say I agree with Tina the office is tooooooooooooo clean.

    As a reader I appreciate hearing how you go about writing a book. as a reader we can read books and love them but not really think about the hour, blood, sweat and tears that go into getting the book to the final stage which we read.

    writing a synopsis after 3 chapters would be hard. I am writing lots of reports for classes at the moment. and writing the synopsis so early would be like writing a summary when the report has only just started being written.

    Its hard to believe its just over 2 years since your first book came out. I remember buying it in Wallmart Port Orchard in Washington state 2 years ago when I was visiting.
    Cant wait for your new one.

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  16. Good morning, Seekerville! Thanks for the java, Helen. For a woman who doesn't drink the stuff, you make a great cup!

    Hi Renee,

    I haven't received a JPEG yet of the cover of Wanted: A Family. Thanks for asking. When I do, I'll share. I agree with you. Steeple Hill's art department is doing a fabulous job! The title is up on Amazon without a cover. Sometimes I see it online first.

    Janet

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  17. Patty, I'm so impressed you write the drafts of your books longhand. If I did, I'd probably never be able to read them. My cp and I struggle to read each other's comments. LOL

    I'll give character charts another look.

    Janet

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  18. Loved this glimpse into your writing process, Janet. How long does it take you to write a book? And how many hours a day do you write? (I know you said you write until you meet your word count, but how long does that take? And what is your usual word count goal?) Aren't I nosy?

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  19. LOL CarolM, you must've seen the version that posted Sunday before I was ready. I hit enter to add a space and somehow that downloaded my post over the Weekend Edition. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to delete it. If there's any way to mess this up, I'll find it!

    I was running long so deleted the key thing. I got a new computer a few weeks ago and within days had obliterated most of three keys: S, E and N. I have nails and hit the keys hard. It took ages for me to do that to the old keyboard. Can you buy new ones? I wonder if the position of my chair makes this worse. Anyone have a clue?

    Janet

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  20. LOL, Keli, you might scare the customers away! That would be fun to watch. :-)

    Don't forget to add your e-mail address for the Starbucks gift card and another chance at the Kindle!!!!!

    Janet

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  21. Good morning, Erica. I'd love to hear your process. Please share! And don't forget that e-mail address!!!!

    Janet

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  22. Hi Elizabeth. No matter what process you use, you'll end up with words on the page. The best part, we can fix those words, make them sing or at least hum. :-)

    No Starbucks? I'm in shock. LOL

    Janet

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  23. Good Morning, Janet,

    I love your 'reading' room! And it looks perfect for that task.

    I write on my PC-which isn't working right now-and my laptop. On occasion I will write long hand while traveling in the car but I'm with Helen it tends to make me car sick.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

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  24. Veggie omelets.

    Yum.

    I'm grabbing coffee instead of tea, but the Earl Gray fits that lovely setting, Janet! Oh my stars, girlfriend, I'm just in love with those pictures. Charm. Grace. Peace.

    Nails...

    Janet has nails.

    Janet is a key-killer with a neat office.

    And has an allergy to laptops.

    I thought I did too, until Zach bought me one. Now I'm addicted.

    But I must go clean my office before Thursday.

    Wait. That's only three days. There is no hope.

    Sigh.... Perhaps one more sigh....

    It's not like I didn't imagine Janet's wonderfulness from afar.

    Dagnabbit.

    Regardless of my ramblings, I'm loving this insight, this glimpse and enjoying kibbitzing with you. I'm tucked in the wicker chair to your left, sipping pumpkin spice latte.

    :)

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  25. Hi Helen,

    I'm grateful I don't get carsick! I know the feeling. I read while on a Grayhound bus years and years ago. Trying to read with fumes and motion made me feel terrible. Thank goodness working in a car in the front seat doesn't bother me. We are on the road a lot.

    Thanks for making coffee every morning!

    Janet

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  26. Good morning, Dee. Thanks for sharing your process! Jotting down ideas before bed really helps jumpstart you for the next day.

    Have you ever been awakened with an idea and had to get up and write it down? If I don't, I won't remember it in the morning. Sometimes the ideas are great. Other times I wonder where my head was. LOL

    Janet

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  27. I love the writing view. I don't write but I have read your books. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

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  28. Hi Renee Ann, Pictures are fun. I love to see where other writers write! I hope a Seeker will show their treadmill desk. Fun stuff. Thanks for stopping in.

    Janet

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  29. Christy, congratulations on the new story! I use Hauge's Six Stage Plot structure once I have the ideas, but his process doesn't foster my creativity. Share how you found your conflict. Pretty please!!! Love hearing how other writers do it.

    Janet

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  30. Janet, I so want your wicker chairs! Of course, I don't have a spare square inch in my office for them...I guess I'll just have to come over to your house and enjoy them there, LOL!

    Routinely, I can't survive without a desktop computer -- I have so many externals hooked up to mine you can barely see the back board. But when it comes to working on my books, I move across my office to my old laptop that DOES NOT have Internet hookup!

    OMG! I'd never get anything done with the lure of checking emails whenever the plotline stumped me! Hence, I devote writing time to writing...but I get soooooo far behind on emails and promotional stuff.

    Someday, there will be balance...

    Great process, Janet! And you do look great in zebra!!

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  31. Good morning, Cindy! I do most research online but I also have several research books here that I check like Timetables of American History, a book on houses in America, three Writers Guides to Everyday Life, a replica of a 1897 Sears Catalog, a book on Herbs. And books geared to one aspect of history like Wagon Wheel Kitchens. I don't go to the library like I used to for research books. Sometimes I order another book online. Love research books!

    Janet

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  32. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 11, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    As a reader who does want to start writing I loved hearing about how you go about creating your stories. I can't wait to read Wanted, I haven't read Courting Miss Adelaide. But I did get to read Courting the Doctor's Daughter and The Substitute Bride. If fact I won a signed copy of The Substitute Bride which I love. Thanks so much for sharing how you write!!

    fantum2004 AT sbcglobal DOT net

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  33. How fun to get to peek into your word, Janet! But I have to say, I'm sitting here laughing since Ruthy called you a keyboard killer with a neat office. :)

    I'm not due to post my writing process until the end of the month, and it may take me that long to get the nerve to share a photo of my messy work area! I may just have to clean it up instead. Then fool y'all with a nice, neat photo. :)

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  34. Janet, very intersting post, though I don't understand all this hesitation about coffees shops. I love coffee shops (though I did get 500+ words penned at home this morning).

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  35. Wow Janet, Why am I not surprised at how NEAT your office is. Oh my. I'm with Ruthy, I need, need, need to clean my office before my turn comes up.

    Beautiful spaces arranged by a beautiful lady. smile

    Love your view too. I do look out at my view often to give myself a break and for inspiration.

    Love that you can talk to the Great Blue Heron.

    And it doesn't really matter where you write because wherever it is you write beautiful stories. I can hardly wait for March.

    Thanks for the yummy breakfast. As soon as Ruthy leaves, I'm going to sit in that lovely wicker chair next to you.

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  36. Hey, Janet! You said, "The process varies, is ugly and too often throws me into self-doubt and torment."
    I was thinking that sounded like me, but then I read about how you write every day, have a certain day (Sat.) to do promotion stuff, have a certain word count to meet every day, etc. You sound so much more disciplined and organized than me!

    And I'm like you, I can't just write the rough draft all at once. I have to go back if something's not right and I know it's not. I started the book I'm working on now almost a year ago. In the meantime I did edits on two different books, and I changed my mind about a lot of things on the WIP I'd started. So now I'm going back to the beginning and changing it, and I only had about 65 pages. But in the last year, the story evolved in my head and now I can't stand to just keep going. I have to go back and fix the beginning before I can continue on.

    All my books are different--how I got the idea, how it developed, and how I wrote it. Some books only take me a few months, some well over a year. Why is that? I have no idea.

    It was fun hearing about your process, Janet! :-)

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  37. I also hate typing on a laptop, I just discovered, as I recently bought my first one. It makes my wrists ache. I'm going to have to buy a keyboard unless my hubby finds a job SOON and stops using my computer!

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  38. Hi Julie,

    I attended Sharon Sala's RWA workshop. She's a wonderful writer and encouraged us to color outside the lines. Glad you got that feeling from my post!

    Thanks for your sweet words about Wanted: A Family, my March book.

    Hugs, Janet

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  39. Lindi, partners in crime has a nice ring to it. :-) Though I couldn't write a suspense to save me...or my characters LOL Nice to know my method resonates with someone. I probably left out stuff but it's hard to define the process.

    Janet

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  40. Tina, I took a stack or two away for the picture, but if my area is too messy, I can't stand it.

    Janet

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  41. Gotta run to an appointment. Back later! Share your processes and don't forget your email addy.

    Hugs, Janet

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  42. Janet, Thanks for sharing your writing process. It obviously pays off, as your stories are wonderful!

    I relate to the frustration of looking up a something for history and find it wouldn’t or couldn’t have happened. My last couple of manuscripts have been suspense and I hate it when I ask about FBI or Marshal procedures and find I’m way off. I was thrilled with my latest ms when I came up with what I thought was a great idea and checked it out and found that the FBI had just arrested a couple men for doing the exact thing I wanted to write.

    Thanks for the peek into your world.

    --Kirsten

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  43. My comment was supposed to say thanks for a peek into your WORLD, not word. But I guess it it a world of words. :)

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  44. I like reading how others plan and write their novels and love that we're all different. I'm really happy that I use a laptop, though--then I can write anywhere :)

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  45. Janet, your writing process is so similar to mine, it's almost scary! LOL Not to mention that the bookshelves behind your desk look almost exaclty like mine do. :)
    Except that I do love writing on my laptop.
    All that said, I love your books and am so excited that I won one last week!

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  46. Good morning! Janet, this is great. Sometimes I wonder if I'm on the right track. It seems the more I see of how people write, the more tracks there are to choose from.

    I am trying to get the last part of my MS rough draft out. I keep sneaking back to rectify spots that I change slightly.

    But I use both my laptop and my desktop. I find it easier to use both when I research I have one screen up and the other I write with. And also I use the laptop to go back in my MS for details I haven't put into my character sketches. i.e. scenes and what I used for descriptions, how someone said a certain thing... You know. That pesky stuff you get called on.
    Put me in for the gift card. The more coffee, the merrier I am.
    dawnford001 at msn dot com

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  47. So interesting to hear how everyone's way of writing differs, but the result is always the same--a great book!

    Holly
    oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

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  48. Whew! Ran a marathon through reading your process of writing. :) Your books sound quite interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe

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  49. JANET!!! What a fun, fun, FUN blog today -- I LOVE it!! GREAT idea to give us a sneak peek at a day in the life ... :)

    And I laughed out loud at your comment that "during the synopsis phase, I feel like a wanderer lost in the wilderness without a compass." Oh, honey, I soooo relate!! But as long as we're not wandering in the wilderness 40 years, I guess we're okay! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  50. Once again, Seekerville comes thru with PhD level information.

    Thanks Janet - I appreciate the glimpse into your successful writing life. Great info!!!

    Read thru about 1/2 of the comments earlier but blogger wouldn't let me on. Will read thru the rest in a few! Want to post this before it's "eaten" or something! ACK!

    Have a splendid Columbus Day everyone!

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  51. Janet!!! Good grief, girl! Your office is as gorgeous and put together as YOU are, you chic thing, you! You put mine to shame!

    See, I took a bunch of "candid" photos last week and uploaded them with my post that will appear tomorrow. Now everyone will see the (almost) real me.

    One day after Classy Janet.

    And Classy Janet's to-die-for white wicker furniture.

    And Classy Janet's neatly organized bookshelves.

    We do have one thing in common, however. I have worn off the E, S, D, C, N, M, and , (and am getting close on the L) on my laptop keyboard.

    What is sad about this, however, is that I usually keep my nails trimmed fairly short. Maybe I just type weird.

    And, for the record, I can't write a synopsis before writing 3/4 of the book to save my neck!!!!

    Oops, hope no potential editors are reading this!

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  52. You get your inciting incident like I do. I never know the whole story, just what starts it.

    Loved reading this!

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  53. I love the pictures of your office and oh that view!! Simply beautiful. I have nothing to add, I just want to soak up and take away. And your writing style must be working for you, because I loved The Substitute Bride. :)

    And HEY, I want to know why RENEE (steelergirl) is always the FIRST one in Seekerville?? Re-n-ee?? What do you have to say for yourself??

    *wink*

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  54. I wondered why Renee was also first too--last night, I logged in at 12:07 and she had already been here!

    Janet, my longhand isn't great but for some reason, it gives me permission to just write. I don't have to go back and correct, I can scribble out stuff if I hate it but it just 'frees' me.

    And I'm with Walt--coffee shops and libraries are the best places to write. It gets me away from everything at home I will think I have to do and I get more done.

    Patty

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  55. Interesting process, Janet. Am I alone in that I write very well (honest!) but have trouble with plots? It seems my CPs need to read through the rough draft and tell me what my story is about, so I can prune out what doesn't belong and add in the parts that support it. Drives me crazy, but I can't seem to do it myself (even after eight full novel manuscripts).

    I guess that makes me somewhere between a plotter (I need direction, even if it's the wrong one!) and a pantser.

    Is there a support group for people like me?

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

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  56. I could use a caffeine jolt right now!!
    Good writing points. I think an outline is essential.
    csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

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  57. Casey, I think Renee has figured out that most posts go up at 12:01 am. ;)

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  58. it's time for lunch here in Eastern time! I'll share my pizza with anyone who's hungry. :) Of course, I hope you don't mind leftovers! Pizza Caprese from a nearby Italian restaurant--with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and green olives. Yum!

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  59. I have trouble getting plots down. I have sat down several times to write and just never get started. Maybe I am just lazy:) But when I get started, then I can write for a while. And I don't really have any tips, Janet. I have never been published and I should be getting tips from you:) Thanks for your post!

    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  60. Missy, sounds delicious:) But I am having a Grilled Cheese with Macaroni and Cheese. Love my cheese as you can tell.

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  61. Janet, do you often know you are going to do a series or do you write a book and then have other characters you would like to finish their story? Sorry if I am not being real clear here.

    esterried[at]yahoo.com

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  62. Enjoyed reading about your writing process.

    bc428(at)juno(dot)com

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  63. @ Missy, Patty and Casey- Heehee what can I say I'm a Seekerville stalker :-P

    XOXO~ Renee

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  64. I truly love Seekerville! It is so great to be connected to really great authors! I feel so blessed by this blog!!!!!
    God bless each and every one of you!

    Charsaltz (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  65. Hi Janet:

    It just occurred to me that your working area is just as clean and neat as your prose. I never have to read one of your sentences twice to know what meaning you intended. I bet you don’t spend much time looking for anything in your office because everything is in its place. Now me, I buy three of everything (scissors, staplers, Scotch tape) so I have a reasonable chance of finding at least one of them when I need it. : )

    BTW: If my theory is right, then Shirley Jump will also have a very neat working area. I’d love for her to be a guest blogger on this subject complete with photos.

    Vince

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  66. So wonderful to hear your routine! Thanks for all the detail!

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  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  68. Fabulous post, Janet! I'm certainly not an expert, so there's no smugness here!

    Your description reassures me that I'm not alone when it comes to plotting, revising, etc. I tend to braid together the plotting, writing, editing, and polishing process, and my head feels more jumbled than I'd prefer to admit. But that's just me, and I have to work with what I've got.

    That's why your writing expeirence gave me a sigh of relief, and I realized again that writing doesn't have to be regimented according to a pre-set outline. And that's an encouragement to me (and I'm sure many others out there) who struggle with rules, routines, and schedules, and would rather write outside the box as much as we like to think outside of it. So thanks again! :)

    childofprussia[at]gmail[dot]com

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  69. Wow, Janet! Loved hearing about your writing process!

    And your writing space. Writing on a balcony overlooking that arched window to the outside world! What a view!

    I'd be looking at cows, hay balers and tractors.... lol

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  70. Jenny, love your blood, sweat and tears comment. Writing kind of bleeding on the page, at least the emotional pages. One of the great things about these past two years since Courting Miss Adelaide released is getting to know wonderful readers like you!

    All the best with your classes!

    Hugs, Janet

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  71. So thankful you would share how you write with us. I am still learning how best to make it from start to finish, so I like to see how others make it work.

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  72. Yes - I saw the early version :). It showed up [twice!] in my Google Reader but the Author Cheat Sheet from Saturday... didn't show up at all :p.

    I forget what letters I'd worn off of my old keyboard - a bunch of them [13? half of the letters?] were at least partially worn to the point where you weren't sure if it was an L or an I [or worse!] unless you knew where the letters belonged ;).

    I had the new keyboard for about 3mos before my then 2 year old son spilled milk on the laptop [sippy cup led came off :(]. During NANO no less! While working on my first novel! It still works but the keyboard sticks and I got a new one for a fabulous deal a couple weeks later.

    Anyway - some of those keys were rubbing off too. My nails grow until they break so... Dunno if that has anything to do with it or not...

    Think I had a bad batch or something, not really sure. The keyboard on a laptop can be changed out but it's not nearly as easy as on a desktop! I've used an external many times [but right now can only find the ones that have the round plug and can't find my USB one :p - think I need a wireless one!]

    Regardless... my current laptop I bought last November, have written at least 200,000 words on it [probably more] and the keys still look just fine :).

    Thank you again for the insight!

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  73. @Vince - only three of everything?! I usually end up with at least 5 or 6 scotch tapes around Christmas and still can't find one! And forget trying to find one the rest of the year!

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  74. Hi Kav, it varies how long it takes me to get the word count I need. Last book I needed 1200 words five days a week to allow time to revise. I'm not at my desk all day everyday. I am in a Bible study and have other obligations, but on normal days, I write from 10:00-4:00 or 5:00, later if I was away from my desk. I get five months to write the book after the proposal is accepted.

    Janet

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  75. Hi Rose, my reading room used to be a spare bedroom we didn't need. It's a cheerful spot. I love being surrounded by mementos from my family.

    Wonderful that you can write using whatever tool is at hand!

    Janet

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  76. Charity, I am the same way. It usually takes me 30-40 minutes to really get into the 'zone'.

    First, I need to have a really good idea of the goal, conflict and disaster for the scene.

    Words come slowly the first 30 minutes, but faster after that.

    Go somewhere without distractions and dig in, determined to stick it out until you slog through the scene.

    And to keep from beating myself up, I allow times for plotting those scenes vs. writing a scene.

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  77. Ruthy, I love having you at my side, sipping lattes! Things don't show up in photos that much. Trust me, my desk is messy. I just pulled a pile or two off. :-) That's not cleaning. LOL

    How did you overcome those tiny keys on a laptop? Seriously want to be able to do it. Maybe your new one has a larger keyboard, but what about that dreadful mouse????

    Janet Keykiller Dean

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  78. Adge, we love, love, love readers in Seekerville! Thanks for reading my books!! Hope you enjoyed them. If not, don't tell. :-)

    Janet

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  79. Audra, come visit! Truth is the wicker chairs are actually paper wrapped wire. Something that was "hot" for a while. So we never wash them down. :-)

    Yeah, e-mail is tempting. If I'm doing as I should, I check e-mail in the mornings before ten, then at lunch and after my word count is in. But then I get way behind too.

    Janet

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  80. Hey Laura! Thanks for coming by. I'm delighted you enjoyed Courting the Doctor's Daughter and The Substitute Bride! Courting Miss Adelaide is hard to find. One day I saw it for a ridiculous price on Amazon. Not that I believe anyone paid it. LOL

    Janet

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  81. Missy, once a book is turned in, I clean my office. Get rid of all those little notes and pages of stuff I refer to or wrote to myself. I put away research books. Feels so good! But doesn't last long. When I'm printing to send hard copy, I use the balcony ledges to string out my pages.

    Janet

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  82. Walt, I love coffee shops. Just love them, but can't write on a laptop. Maybe one day I'll get more nimble fingers. Congrats on the 500 words! Did you write by longhand?

    Janet

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  83. Sandra, plenty of room on the sofa across the way. Join us!

    What do you see from your office? Mountains? Desert?

    Janet

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  84. I really enjoyed reading your post Janet! What a great view you have.

    I recently discovered that I like switching what I write on. So I write on anything, anywhere, at anytime, and I find that switching between paper and different computers really frees me up.


    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  85. Melanie, I do things besides write so have to push to get my word count in. And when the words don't flow, or I know the story isn't working and I get stuck, I have to spend weekends catching up. Read Mary's post for an example of discipline. She gets her words in no matter where she is or what's going on in her life. But I am more disciplined than I used to be before I sold. Deadlines prod us to produce.

    Janet

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  86. Kirsten, glad your book passed your search for truth! Research can be daunting. Even writers of contemporaries have to research. Someone who will know if we get it wrong. We may not hear from them, but if our mistake upset them, we may lose a reader.

    Thanks for your sweet words about my books.

    Janet

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  87. Missy. I love that. We work in a world of words! :-)

    Janet

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  88. Cindy, using a laptop opens you to all kinds of spaces to write. Besides coffee shops, where do you go?

    Janet

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  89. Janet, let's say that the similarities in our workspace and process are in the name we share. :-)

    Maybe if I practiced, I'd catch on to using a laptop, but it upsets me to feel inept. I get enough of that in front of my desk top monitor. LOL

    I'm mailing the book this week!

    Janet

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  90. eeks! I think I'll stick with reading - writing sounds too exhausting! I think a workout at the gym(which I DON"T do.,.yet..) would be easier LOL!
    Susanna
    quilt938(at)clear(dot)net

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  91. Wow, Dawn, I'm impressed that you use two computers at once!! And effectively too. Great job!

    The nice thing about showing different processes is it proves there's no one way to write. We have to find the way that works for us to get to the story and get it on the page.

    Janet

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  92. Great books are what we've after, Holly, which is probably why writing is hard. We could write a bad book far easier. LOL

    Janet

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  93. Hi Jodie, a marathon is a great comparison for writing a book! Not that I'm playing down the difficulty of running 26 miles! I can't run to the mailbox. LOL

    But writers learn craft like runners train to get ready. Both runners and writers keep going through their pain. There's enough carpel tunnel and bad backs to prove writers pay a price for those long hours at the keyboard. Crossing the finish line is somewhat comparable to writing The End. Both runners and writers are elated yet physically drained, having given it all they had.

    Janet

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  94. Julie, it only feels like we're wandering in the desert 40 years! LOL I'm sure many writers know their story, know where it's going, see it from start to finish. I'm planning on doing that for the next one. :-)

    Janet

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  95. Hi Janet,
    I'm enjoying a cup of tea on your patio. Peek out from your balcony loft and you'll see me waving. Love the water...a stream, perhaps? Or am I seeing things in the photo? Well, yes, I'm sitting in the sunshine, but the glare is too much on my eyes so I can't determine what type of waterway is running through your backyard. Lovely though!

    How fun to learn your process. I, like many of the others today, marvel at your tidy work area. I'll need to houseclean before posting photos of my office.

    Our hot water heater broke last night so hubby is studying the situation across the hall from my office. He thinks I'm working. :)

    I'm supposed to be focused on the Art Fact Sheet for the next book but had to stop by Seekerville. Glad I did. So nice to read your blog and everyone's comments.

    Hugs to all!!! Now back to work.

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  96. PHD level! KC, you've taken it up a notch. Love it!! Advice and tips are great and I've learned so much from others, craft books, online courses, the list is long, but there's no better way to learn to write than to just do it.

    Janet

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  97. Can't imagine anything but genteel and perfect with you or your office, Myra, no matter what those pictures show tomorrow!

    I think I hit the keys hard. Way harder than I need to. And I must not use the pads of my fingers. Is there a class for that? If so, I'd take it!

    Janet

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  98. Love that you get your inciting incidents, Meg. An opener does not a story make. Sadly. Please tell me how you dig out the rest.

    Janet

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  99. Thanks for your encouraging words, Casey! I'm not sure readers understand how much their input means to writers...unless they're a writer.

    Janet

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  100. Renee, everyone wants to know how you manage to be first. LOL So spill, girlfriend!

    Janet

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  101. Patty, I can sense that longhand would feel less final and that would give you permission to write more freely. Maybe I should try that but honestly doubt I could read a word I wrote.

    Janet

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  102. Valerie, I totally get what you're saying. I can write a nice sentence far easier than I can get a grip on the plot or find those conflicts that put the h/h at loggerheads. Have you studied Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure? Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation and Conflict?

    Janet

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  103. Hi Runner10. I might have difficulty outlining when I try to write the scene from what happens in the precious scene. But I love structure. Will look at that.

    Janet

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  104. Thanks for the pizza, Missy! Leftovers are delicous when re-heated in the oven. Not so great in the microwave.

    Janet

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  105. Thanks for suggesting Michael Hauge and Debra Dixon. They look good. :)

    - Dana (childofprussia[at]gmail[dot]com)

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  106. Thanks for the glimpse into your writing process, Janet.
    I'm going to go read about how you use hero/heroine goals from the previous scene to fuel the next scene.
    I'm plotting/outlining/daydreaming/writing a new novel right now and am trying to filter through the muck to get to the heart.
    I could relate to Julie's post in the fact that I have to write the first few chapters to really get an idea of where the story is going - THEN, if I don't do a little bit more plot-dreaming, I get stuck.

    (I call it plot-dreaming, because it's what I usually do on my drives from clinic to clinic, at stoplights, and in carpool line.)
    That's when I ask the 'what if' questions too.

    When you say you have the ideas for the BIG scenes in place, does that mean you've sort of plotted out the idea of the book - just not all the little elements.
    Because I kind of do that. I can write a synopsis without a chapter written, just because I already know the idea of the story - but glue that binds chapter to chapter isn't in place yet.

    Okay - I think I'm being confusing, so I'm going to stop now :-)

    so much for trying to write what's on my mind. It's a very scary place to go.

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  107. Charity, you said a mouthful! Getting started is the hard part!

    To be a storyteller we use our imaginations and create characters and an exciting plot with a strong premise that leaves the reader with something of value. Nothing easy about it. We have to dig in our heels.

    Janet

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  108. Charity, my stories always wrap up with each book. I may set another book in the same town with some of the same characters but all the books stand alone and can be read independently.

    Janet

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  109. Thanks Charlotte! You have certainly blessed the Seekers today with your encouraging words!

    Janet

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  110. Thanks Rebekah!

    And thanks, Renee, for getting here first.

    Huge thanks, Phyllis. for not being bored by the details!

    Janet

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  111. Janet, no it wasn't longhand. (Everyone, including me, finds reading my handwriting a challenge.)

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  112. Vince, I love that you find my prose clean and neat. Not sure that totally carries over to my work space. I straightened my desk before my d/h took the picture, but I do know where to find things. I'm blessed to have loads of file drawers, shelves for books and drawers for supplies. All that helps keep me organized.

    My weakness--I love hard copy. I have a need to print stiff I want to refer to again. Since I don't want to forget that I want to refer to them again, I have to keep them where I can see them. LOL Well, I try. :-)

    I'll pass your suggestion on to Shirley.

    Janet

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  113. Widsith, how lovely to be encouraged by a fellow writer who uses much the same process. Thanks! However we do it, if it works, why fix it?

    Janet

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  114. Janet, thanks for sharing! While I do use a laptop, my writing style is actually very much like yours. I muddle my way through. In my current novel, I wrote about fifteen chapters before I discovered the catalyst for why Beth got involved with the wrong in. I had to go back and do some rewriting once I thought out the background info.

    Like you, I cannot just sit and write the entire first draft and then go back to rewrite. I hate that. If you thing is wrong early on, it changes too many things in the rest of the book. I'd rather get each chapter down right and make sure it's what I want before I move on to the next. Then, I mainly have proofreading and polishing to deal with.

    I have trouble with synopsis, too. I've already deviated from the one I wrote. It's still basically the same, but somethings are out of sequence and other things are added or not used.

    I lose post its, so I usually open a new document for notes I want to make or I make a note within the manuscript so I don't forget where I was heading. I used to have post its on my computer, but I haven't downloaded it since my hard drive was replaced.

    I don't do much of the hard copy thing, though. Sometimes, I'll do it, but only if I'm at my computer where I can fix the mistakes as I find them. I hate double-work. I try to do things right the first time so there's LESS to redo.

    Loved your post. Thank you for sharing!

    ~Linnette

    lr. mullin at live .com

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  115. Nothing wrong with looking at cows, hay balers and tractors, Pam! I love getting out into the country. We walked along the river greenway yesterday, enjoying the turning leaves, the lazy river and just being alive on such a gorgeous day.

    Janet

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  116. Sherry, I'm excited to see how the other Seekers write too. Fun stuff. Writers love to talk writing!

    Janet

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  117. Great idea, Eva Marie, to write anywhere and everywhere! I do feel tethered. Somedays I don't get outside except for a walk at the end of the day.

    Janet

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  118. CarolM, I'm sorry. I'm sure my ineptness posting lost the Cheat Sheet for you. Surely it's still in Seekerville.

    I wonder if something is wrong with my keys that I'm losing the letters in less than two months.

    Janet

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  119. I don't write, but as a reader I would hope that all writers stay true to one's self. I see so many fomulas on blogs on how to write and i just hope that writers are writing what's in there heart. Great post though..lot of work.

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  120. Susanna, a workout at the gym is easier. At least mine are. I don't like to sweat. :-) We love readers! Thanks for stopping.

    Janet

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  121. Oops I should've said Eva Maria, not Eva Marie. I apologize for messing up your pretty name!

    Janet

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  122. Hi Debby, the water you're seeing is the pond on the golf course behind us. Lots of balls end up there. Golf can be a frustrating game.

    Sorry about the water heater!

    Hope the AFS goes well.

    Janet

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  123. Welcome Widsith. They both have excellent information.

    Janet

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  124. My computer guru neighbor thinks there was something wrong with the batch of keyboards my laptop had. That's entirely possible.

    Or it's possible that keyboards aren't meant for writers ;).

    Yes, the post is on Seekerville - I'm more likely to blame Google Reader for missing something :).

    Back to pounding out my word count for the day...

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  125. Hi Pepper,

    How much I know about the big scenes varies from book to book. If I have the h/h conflicts firmly in place I can usually know what has to cause the black moment, let's say. For example, in The Substitute Bride the heroine's father ruined his family with his gambling. The hero is an ex-gambler and keeps that from her. Of course that has to come out, at exactly the wrong time and ruin everything. But it's not always that neat and tidy.

    Janet

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  126. Linnette, you may think you muddle through, but you sound pretty efficient too.

    I never put hard copy changes into the computer at the time I find them. Interesting idea.

    I put notes to myself in the body of the manuscript in capital letters, as in CHECK EYE COLOR.

    Janet

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  127. Eek! Email address!


    ericavetsch at gmail cot com

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  128. Rain Maiden, you make an important point. Though I love a good book, for me a story needs to mean something, not just entertain. I think all writers bring their experiences to the process and have something important to say or work through. Jim Downs, the keynote speaker at the ACFW writer's conference reminded us that Jesus made his points with parables, stories, which is far more effective than a lecture. Stories travel from one heart to another, at least that's what I hope.

    Janet

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  129. CarolM, my keyboard was thrown in with my computer so it could be a cheap model. I may add my own letters. Wonder if permanent white ink will work.

    Janet

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  130. I haven't sold yet but I can imagine when I get to the point of submitting three chapters and a synopsis, I'll have the same problem. Because the synopsis that I use to guide me from start to finish always evolves along the way.

    I love hearing about writers' processes as much as their Call stories. When you mush them all together, whatever any aspiring author does sounds perfectly normal and productive.

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  131. Hi Erica, glad you remembered your e-mail address! Hope everyone does!

    Janet

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  132. Janet, like Missy said I kinda figured out that the new posts show up at 12:01am. I'm a night owl so I usually stay up late reading and then check Seekerville before I go to bed! :-) You can really tell that I'm dragging when I make those late night comments because I say things like "there's pictures" (see first comment) instead of "there are pictures" LOL!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  133. I agree, Patricia. It was easier to write the synopsis after the story was written, but fortunately editors allow some leeway.

    So glad we're sounding normal. :-)

    Janet

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  134. Renee, you sound very perky to me for that hour.

    Maybe we need to hire an editor for the late night comments. LOL

    Janet

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  135. Janet, I prefer to work on paper as well (while editing only). For those who may not know it, you can choose to print 2 pages per sheet. It prints out pretty much like a book--with large margins for making all the changes. I love it because it feels like reading a book! :)

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  136. Oh my goodness! Look at all the comments! Okay, Janet, is that a river outside your window??? (You may have answered that already, but I just couldn't get through all the comments...gotta make some supper here in a moment!)

    I love your writing process, because it looks a little like mine and makes me feel like I'm normal. :)

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  137. I do the NOTES IN TEXT thing too. Right now I have a couple of Ben LASTNAMEs in there. [I also realized that I never gave another character a last name. Not entirely certain she needs one but...]

    Yeah - the keyboard that came with your desktop could easily be a pretty cheap one. You can get new ones at Walmart for anywhere from 10-50 and probably more depending on what kind you want. They're very easy to replace - just plug the new one in =D. Or get a wireless one and kick back with your legs propped up on the desk ;).

    I have hit my 1000 word goal for this afternoon - if only all the procrastination stuff [emails, blog posts, blog comments, etc] counted... If I can get another 1000 in after I get home from Bible Study - I'll be a happy camper :).

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  138. Janet, you asked where else I write with my laptop. Oh, boy, just about everywhere! :) In the front yard, on my treadmill desk while I'm walking, in McDonald's, in Barnes and Noble, on the back deck in the sun or in the shade. Probably better stop before this starts to sound like a Dr. Seuss story. I love different settings when I write. Give me that, music and a diet Pepsi and I'm set! :)

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  139. Pepper, I do that plot-dreaming thing. After reading over the last couple of pages from the day before, I take a walk around a nearby lake and think it through. It works because I get my exercise and work through scenes at the same time.

    Patty

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  140. WOW!!!

    : O

    139 comments!? This place is hopping today *grin* So glad for the great turnout!

    Love, love, love the pics, Janet. It's always fun to see what you guys look like "in your habitat" bahahaah! You know though? We're not there and it's not a traditional work office or cubicle, classroom, or doctor's office.....for example : )

    I'm loving the zebra shirt, my aunt would want to steal it right off of you! She'd LOVE it!! LOL!

    Sorry I didn't get here until now...I didn't have class today because my professor is still in California for her sister's wedding. So I'm home and it means I'm not on the computer NEARLY as much! Probably a good thing, but sometimes it's annoying! So at least I got here : ) This week will be sporadic, I have a feeling. I'll leave in the morning, come back Wednesday afternoon, leave Thursday morning, friends coming to visit me at school Thursday afternoon, home Friday afternoon until next Wednesday morning because we have fall recess!! Life if good (cept on my gas : /, but it's soooo worth it!)!!

    Hope all is well with you! Thanks for the chance to win a Starbucks card. I probably shouldn't enter because the closest Starbucks to me is in Boston (2 hours away!!), but we do go there and it would be fun to treat my mom and sis to something when we go!! So thank you : )
    Talk to you soon!
    Hannah
    hccelie[at]gmail[dot]com

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  141. Janet, I am glad to see how much time you spend in research. I would never have know about orphan trains if I had not read about them in ahistorical novel.As a reader I tend to belive some of the historical events in a novel. I know the event probably did not happen in the exact way as described but who knowes it could have. Thank you for wonderful journeys into the past. please enter me in drawing teresarn2010(at)mediacombb(dot)net

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  142. Enjoyed looking at your pics, Janet. Thanks for a peek into your writing space. Oh, to be so organized as you. I can relate to your comment about discovering that the synopsis differs from the story. I love those detours in the plot and discovering characters along the way.
    patjeannedavis[at]verizon[dot]net

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  143. Your home looks beautiful. If I feel a lull in writing, music can energize me.

    Mary M

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  144. Missy, I've done that but isn't the font smaller?

    Janet

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  145. Hi Sherrinda, you're seeing a golf course pond. I don't know why but it does look like a river in the photo.

    We're both normal. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)

    Janet

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  146. CarolW, no doubt you're right. I hate replacing a keyboard that works fine just because it's got cheap paint. I usually type by touch but missing letters still bugs me.

    A 1000 words is great, but 2,000 rocks. Pulling for you!

    Janet

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  147. Writing in different settings sounds wonderful, Cindy! You like background music. I like quiet.

    Janet

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  148. Patty, I admire that you and Pepper can plot in your head. I can come up with ideas and snippets of dialogue, but to figure out a plot problem, I need to write or type. I think I get sidetracked by what's going on around me.

    Janet

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  149. Hi Hannah! Glad you made it! I've had the zebra T-shirt for ages. The nice thing is they're still in the stores.

    Take care on the road and enjoy your fall break!

    Janet

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  150. Hi Teresarn2010,

    I love research, especially when I'm learning about something that's fascinating and a big part of the book I'm writing like the orphan train or patent medicine. Research gets tedious when it involves specifics that are hard to nail down.

    Janet

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  151. Hi Pat, isn't it fun when things just flow out of you through what a character says and does and it's not what you planned at all? Just love that!

    Janet

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  152. Mary M, great idea! I tend to find music distracting but will try it the next time I get stuck.

    Don't forget your e-mail address for a chance to win.

    Janet

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  153. Great post, Janet! Thanks for sharing.
    violin_girl_2(at)yahoo(dot)com
    (please enter me in the Starbucks and Kindle drawings, Thanks!)

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  154. Okay, Missy. I'll root for the Giants in the next round.

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  155. Why thank you, Janet!! I'm still going to make sure to stop by, shouldn't be TOO difficult hopefully! My mom and sister don't have the same days off as me...so I'm home alone for two days : ( I'll have to stop by so I can have some company

    *wink*
    Hannah
    hccelie[at]gmail[dot]com

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  156. I understand what you're saying about the keyboard thing. I have like 4 sitting around here that you could have... ;) We are exclusively laptop now and none of the laptops have the little round connector doohickey spot so only the USB one works, but that's the one I can't find :p.

    And just over 3000 it is! Love it when it comes together like that! Now if I can get the muse working tomorrow when I'm kidlet free, I may hit my Novel Track month goal after all!

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  157. LOL! Thanks for the sneak peek, Janet! It's always fun to see what the writing life is like ;)

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  158. Thanks for all the great info! Excellent article!

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  159. Hi Tori! You're entered in both contests! Thanks for stopping.

    Janet

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  160. Hey, Hannah, Seekerville doesn't feel right without a visit from you.

    Janet

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  161. CarolM!!! Congratulations on that word count!! Wahoo!!!

    Janet

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  162. Fichen1, thanks for your interest!

    Janet

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  163. Linda, if you want in the contests, leave your email address please! We don't want to miss anyone.

    Janet

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  164. Hi Janet,
    I'm attempting to write for my first novel and found your words of your blog to be very helpful in the way I am writing my book. I've taken on a bit of a challenge for myself, where all my characters thus far are protagamists. I use only the office word documents to create my story but I have loose papers and a spiral notebook filled with ideas and research to make it seem real. I'm only in my fifth chapter and have already gone through and revised it several times, putting in more "powerful words" instead of the ordinary. I don't have a publisher, yet. I want to see if I can do this first. The story is in me, and I want to do all I can to breathe life into the characters I have chosen. the only time line I have given myself is to have it completed in one year. When inspiration strikes, I write; no matter what time a day it is. If I'm away from my laptop, I take out my little notebook from my purse and jot down an idea or I try to hang onto it until I have my laptop in front of me. May you have continued success with all your writings. Thanks for the helpful tips. Shawnie

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  165. Love the view from your window!

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  166. Janet, loved this glimpse into your writing project. Amazing! Makes me want to read the books all over again. Your characters are so very memorable.

    The view from your window is gorgeous!

    Hugs
    Cheryl

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  167. Shawnie, congratulations on working hard on your novel!!! That's awesome! I'm pleased my post gave you some tips. Studying craft is huge and keeps writers from going down dead-end paths.

    For a chance to win, leave your e-mail address.

    Janet

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  168. Thanks Patty! I'll be drawing for a winner of the Starbuck's card on Friday. If you and others want to be in the drawing, please leave your e-mail addresses!

    Janet

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  169. Thanks Cheryl. Wish I could write a rough draft in a matter of weeks like you do!

    Janet

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