Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Writing Process: Total Immersion

The temperature in Georgia is in the 90s, which makes me long to dive into the cool waters of the local swimming pool. But that’s not the immersion I’m talking about today. Instead, this post focuses on the various techniques authors use to get “into” their stories.

Let’s begin at the beginning…

My story building process is fairly simple.

I spend quite a few days, if not weeks, brainstorming before I write the first three chapters and synopsis—that’s the proposal I submit to my editor for her approval. The story opens with an inciting incident and “The Meet,” when the hero and heroine come face-to-face on the page for the first time.  In those initial three chapters, I hint at the conflict—both internal and external—as well as the hero and heroine’s goals and motivation. The beginning reflects the tone of the story and serves as a hook to draw the reader into the adventure.

After completing the first three chapters, I grab my AlphaSmart and write the rest of the story as a rough draft. Once that framework is in place, I rewrite and revise.
Working with my AlphaSmart is part of my story building technique.
I recently emailed the completed manuscript for the first book in my new AMISH PROTECTORS series to my editor. For the two-weeks prior to submission, I spent long hours, usually from pre-dawn to midnight or later, at my computer. Yes, I took time to pray, cook, shower, attend church, and wash a few loads of laundry, but that was the extent of the outside activities or domestic chores I tackled. The rest of the time was spent totally immersed in the manuscript.

Looking back on the last few books I’ve written, I realized Total Immersion has become the final step in my writing process. Keeping my complete focus on the characters helps the story come alive and sinks me more deeply into the world I’m creating. Blocking out external distractions enables me to live in a fictional place that takes on a reality of its own. For this book, I became the heroine, a woman on the run who hides out with an Amish widower and his spinster sister.

Since this story is the first in my new suspense trilogy, I used other forms of immersion early in the writing process to better understand the Amish.  Some of you may recall the blog I wrote on my trip to Ethridge, Tennessee. The small rural community is home to a sect of Old Order Amish that plays a part in this story. Seeing their homes, workshops, buggies and schoolhouses firsthand helped me transition—at least mentally—from my ordinary life to the Amish world.

In years past, I lived near the Amish in Pennsylvania and Ohio and draw on those experiences as well. I also follow a number of Amish blogs, read articles and news reports on various aspects of Amish life and even correspond with one lovely Amish lady who invited me into her home during my visit to Ethridge. YouTube videos on the Amish and television programs, such as the PBS American Experience: The Amish, provide excellent visuals that also add authenticity.

Bottom line, total immersion puts an immediacy and edge to my writing. At the end of my two week marathons, I’m exhausted but happy. I usually have a bit of carpal tunnel and an aching back and derriere from too much time sitting at my computer, but seeing the final draft of a new story makes the push to completion worth the effort. 

An Amish schoolhouse in Ethridge, Tennessee.
I’m always eager to learn new tips so I asked other authors how they become immersed in their stories and received the following responses.

Janet Dean, author of "A Daddy for Christmas"  in Home for Christmas, writes:

“For me, the most important thing I can do to immerse myself in the story is research. Once I have a feel for the times I set the story in, the characters’ occupations and the events that shaped them, I am able to put myself in their shoes and write their stories.”  

Keli Gwyn, author of Make-Believe Beau, provided the following:

“I write historical romances set in California’s Gold Country where I live. To prepare to dive into my story world, I take advantage of my location in two ways. I go to our local library, where a file cabinet holds microfilm versions of our local newspaper (the state’s oldest, dating back to the 1850s). I pop the reel containing the year my work-in-progress takes place onto the vintage microfilm reader—which I know how to operate because I lived in the heyday of microfilm—and scroll through several issues of the paper. Seeing the actual advertisements and articles my characters would have read helps put me in their world.”

Placerville Hardware has been renovated on the outside, but on the inside 
you can see why this historic business is one way Keli Gwyn travels back in time. 
The wooden floors, rustic nail bins and glass front display cases date back to the 
earliest days of the Gold Rush.
Keli continues, “Another way I travel to the past is to walk there. To do that, I head to our historic downtown area on foot. Many of the buildings date back to the Gold Rush Era. Two of the businesses do, as well. Placerville News has been around since the 1850s, as has Placerville Hardware (the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi and the second oldest business in the state). Both have the old, uneven wooden floors and some display cabinets that are original. Just being inside those stores makes the years fall away. I can imagine my characters standing there by my side.”

Cate Nolan, author of Christmas in Hiding, shares the following:

“Music does it for me. For every book I write, I create a playlist as I am getting to know the characters. The length and number of songs vary, but for every book there ends up being one song that just absolutely puts me in the story. For Christmas in Hiding, it was "How Great Thou Art." For the book I'm currently writing, a song from the TV show Nashville - "I Know How to Love You Now" totally captures the reunion romance. For another one that I'm revising, it's Hillsong United's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)". Yesterday we were watching the Olympics, but I needed to get some writing done. I put my headphones in, put on Oceans, and I was instantly in my story world. It sometimes takes a while to find the right song for the story, but once I do, it's magic.”

Glynna Kaye, author of The Pastor’s Christmas Courtship, says:

“I sit down at my desk, open the document, and put my hands on the keyboard—and pray! Sometimes I’ll read portions of what I wrote the previous day or incorporate redlining I did the night before. I do, however, have a brief pre-writing task—something I learned from a workshop led by mystery author Sue Grafton many years ago. I take 5-10 minutes to journal in a Word Doc the challenges of the next scene, brainstorm solutions, .etc. Record prayers for my writing. That usually shakes any ‘block’ loose so I can get down to business.”

Jill Weatherholt, author of Second Chance Romance, shares this:

“One way that I truly get immersed in my story is by taking my Neo Alphasmart out on the back patio and spending time with my hummies.”
The setting is important to Jill Weatherholt when she writes.
Look who often stops by while she's working.
Missy Tippens, author of The Doctor’s Second Chance, writes:

“I used to use scents or particular music to immerse myself. But most recently, I answer the questions about my characters using James Scott Bell's software, Knockout Novel, based on his book Plot & Structure.  It really helps me learn more about the characters, which throws me into their story on a deeper level.”

Patricia Johns, author of  The Lawman’s Surprise Family , says:

“I keep myself immersed in a story by blocking out all other stories. I don't read romance or chick lit while I'm writing, because it's too close my own genre. I'll read something completely different, and that helps me to keep my story ‘pure’ in my head. 

“This might seem a little odd, but I also make a practice of thinking of my next chapter before I go to sleep at night. It helps to get the gears moving in the right direction, and maybe I even mull it over while I sleep! Anyway, it works, and I'm able to get writing first thing the next morning.”

Leann Harris, author of The Cowboy Meets His Match, adds the following:

“I did a police academy. The best thing about it was the relationships I developed with the cops who ran the academy. Afterward, I was able to ask them questions and float situations by them.”

Pam Hillman, author of “Love is a Puzzle,” in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection, provided the following information:

“I use photos of the hero and heroine in the Document Notes in Scrivener. Not the POV character, but the one that he/she can see. Occasionally, I’ll add a different character, or the location, or a ship, boat, pathway that sets the mood. And, I use an app called Relax Melodies, especially if it’s raining, or storming.

“I can see the pictures as I write, and I play the music as well. Mostly nature sounds. Wind blowing. Rain. Birds chirping. Thunderstorms. I crank it up for hurricane-like weather, and it really helps set the mood. I might listen to quiet ‘elevator’ music if there are distractions in the house while I’m writing and if there’s no specific sound in the scene I’m working on. I don’t always listen to music, but if I’m having trouble getting into the scene, I’ll see if that helps. But I always listen to the rain/wind/thunder clips when writing storms. With Relax Melodies, you can layer your sounds. So I can add birds chirping and soft wind and chimes, etc.”

 Here's a screenshot of the opening of  Pam Hillman's
"Love Is a Puzzle" and a pic of her hero, Nick.

Tina Radcliffe, author of Safe in the Fireman’s Arms, has a unique approach to story immersion:

“Since I work on multiple projects at once, I use sensory emotional triggers to switch back and forth. So for example when I work on a rom-com, I click a link that takes me to the movie ‘Failure to Launch.’ My funny trigger. When I have to move to something romantic, I watch PeriodDrama Kisses."

Tina continues, “I always assign either a movie or a television show to each book I write. I watch it over and over to stay in the book when writing. For Stranded with the Rancher it was ‘Doc Hollywood.’ I'm working on a rom-suspense now and I'm deep into season four of ‘Criminal Minds.’”

How do you immerse yourself in your stories? Share a tip or technique or comment to be entered in the drawing for a pre-release copy of PLAIN TRUTH and a surprise gift.

To celebrate my September release, PLAIN TRUTH and my new trilogy, I’m serving a typical Amish breakfast. I hope you’re hungry! Grab a plate and help yourself to the ham and sausage, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, cornmeal mush, cereal, fruit and juice. Since I live in the South, I’ve also included grits. The coffee’s hot. So is the tea. Enjoy!

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti
When widowed doctor Ella Jacobsen is attacked and left for dead in her children’s clinic, the peace she’s found in Georgia’s Amish country is shattered. Someone is after something in her clinic and wants her out of the way...but what are they looking for? Ella knows only that her life is in the hands of army special agent Zach Swain. Zach can’t resist the vulnerable but headstrong Ella, who stares down danger to care for the people she loves. With one look, the loner soldier goes from investigator to protector. To save Ella, he must uncover the secrets that swirl around the idyllic community. And he needs to do it fast, because Ella is running out of time.

Pre-Order HERE!


Trixi said...

How do I immerse myself in stories...well, I grab whatever book I happen to be reading at the time, grab my iced tea, curl up on my sofa with my feet up & open said book :-) I normally like to read when it's quiet in the house, otherwise there's too many distractions that will pull me out of the story. I can tune out some noise if it's a really good book that happens to capture my full attention. I'm in another world for a few hours :-)

I really like reading about how some of our authors immerse themselves in writing their stories! It's interesting how a particular song, sound or movie will immerse them, I'd find it too distracting. I think it's particularly neat that Keli can go to a historic site or walk around town to picture in her mind how that would look in her books. And standing next to a character in the hardware store brought a smile to my face! That's imagination at it's best :-)

Thanks everyone for sharing the different ways you immerse yourself, it's very eye-opening! Debby, I love all the pictures you've shared here, I'm sure living so close to the Amish would be rich fodder for your stories! Please add my name to the Amish straw hat for a chance to win your book too, thanks so much.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Interesting how everyone approaches their story.

I do admit to having a hummingbird feeder outside my office window. But I'm not facing it or I'd never get anything done.


Terri said...

I'm kind of like you, Debby. I work best when I totally focus on the book and write like a crazy woman. Music I can handle. Television and the outdoors pull me away from the story.

I am anxious to try the nature sounds. I think that could really help with certain scenes.

Terri said...

Tina - I used to love watching Criminal Minds. Just not while writing. Jason Gideon is my all time favorite character. I love the episode when he is visiting Sarah Jane in prison.

cathyann40 said...

Can't wait to read Plain Truth.

Cate Nolan said...

Terri, I love to put on YouTube nature sounds videos. Sometimes if my mind is too active, I'll put on one that is just 90 minutes of waves washing up on shore.

Thanks for including us in your post, Debby. I love learning how others work. I tend to have many many story ideas simmering. When one gels, that's when I know it's time to work on that book.

It's 1:30 here but I'm wide awake because of a crazy gorgeous storm. There has been really beautiful heat lightning for the past half hour. I should go to sleep, but you have me craving coffee!

Missy, I'd love to hear more about that program.

Mary Preston said...

Very interesting to note the different ways writers immerse themselves. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy W. said...

I loved this post Debby. It is always nice seeing how authors get involved with their WIP. So many different ways to make the magic happen for your readers! Thank you for sharing.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Great post, Debby! Thank you for introducing me to the AlphaSmart, it's been the best $26 investment I've ever made. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Trixi, I'm smiling at your mention of liking quiet when you read. I was finishing a book club selection recently that had hooked me on the first page and didn't let go. I was taking a moment in the afternoon to finish the story before our book club meeting that night. From out of the blue, hubby appeared and began to putter around the couch where I was sitting. He made so much noise and even started chatting about when I would be leaving the house, etc. Of course, he was clueless, but I lovingly mentioned that his actions were disrupting my last precious moments in the story. I had to leave the room, find a peaceful spot where I was totally alone so I could enjoy the ending. Funny, huh?

I can't read and have the TV on, as some do. I like to focus totally on the book...which is total immersion for a reader. :)

Thanks for sharing, Trixi! Always love to read your comments.


Debby Giusti said...

Tina, we've had a lot of hummingbird activity on our least earlier this summer when our petunias were a bit more vibrant. Now they've shriveled in the hot GA sun and aren't nearly as pretty. Nor do they seem to attract the hummingbirds.

We had a screened in porch on one of our houses and a hummingbird got it's beak stuck in the screen. Thankfully, he got free before I had to intervene.

Debby Giusti said...

Terri, I usually don't play music while I write. But there is a "Faith" CD by Jim Beckman that soothes my spirit. I sometimes use that if I'm tired and need to keep working.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, CathyAnn40! Did you get breakfast?

I'm ready for a second cup of coffee!

Debby Giusti said...

Cate Nolan, do you have the contact info for the 90 minutes of waves YouTube, which sounds delightful?

I should have given you credit for the tip about PBS's American Experience: The Amish production! You brought that to my attention recently! Thank you!!!

We had a huge storm yesterday in the early afternoon...could it have gotten to NYC that quickly? :)

Debby Giusti said...

HI Mary, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You're in the drawing!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Cindy, I enjoyed learning the techniques other writers use. Did you watch the kissing video Tina mentioned? Oh my! Quite romantic. It had me at hello, as the saying goes!


Debby Giusti said...

Jill, I didn't realize you first learned about AlphaSmarts from me! Now I'm smiling! Glad you enjoy yours. Mine is so old...probably 15 years old. I keep thinking I'll need to get a new one...but not until this one dies.

Did you get yours on eBay? Such a great buy!

AlphaSmart users of the world rock! :)

Love your hummingbird picture. That is your own picture, isn't it? Hard to capture all that movement.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Yes, I did purchase my AlphaSmart after you mentioned it here, Debby. At first I was disappointed to learn the company was no longer made them, but thankfully I found mine on Ebay.
Thanks! That is my hummingbird photo. :) I'm fascinated by these little guys. Once they stop fighting and settle down, it's easy to snap their picture. They seem to be comfortable with me sitting near them typing away. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

It's so fun to read everyone's different writing processes! Immersion happens for me in silence. :-) Otherwise things, even research, distract me from writing.

Debby Giusti said...

Jill, you're a great photographer!

My daughter's school uses AlphaSmarts for some of the kids. I keep telling her to let me know if they eventually decide to get rid of them...I'll buy one for sure!

Debby Giusti said...

Jessica, another silent writer! Join the group. I like quiet!

Although...sometimes I take my AlphaSmart and write in Starbucks. Guess it's like white noise. I don't focus on anything in particular and, thus, can work. But in my house, noise is distracting.

Jackie said...

Hi Debby,

Congratulations on your new book! I love your post today. So many great ideas.

I create secret Pinterest boards to help me get into my story. While researching I'll pin my characters and setting. It helps me keep the story straight in my mind.

I like that you are able to totally immerse yourself in your story. Do you limit social media during this time?

Leslie McKee said...

Hi, Debby! Thanks for sharing. It was interesting to read how different authors approach things.

I've heard a few authors mention using an AlphaSmart. I used one years ago when I taught, but I haven't seen one since.

When I'm working or reading, I enjoy having something going on in the drown out the quiet, I guess :) Music or an old TV show I know inside and out works well for me.

Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks!

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, Pinterest sounds like a great way to "see" your story. Some folks do storyboards, too!

For this immersion, I was having a FB malfunction and didn't have time to get to the AT&T store, so I wasn't on FB. I did keep up with email. Did you know the Seekers are very chatty? LOL!

Thanks again for the wonderful Amish news clipping you sent! I review them often! They give me such a good sense of the Amish life.


Debby Giusti said...

Hi Leslie,

Thanks for sharing your immersion process! White noise from music or old TV shows!

I haven't heard what you're doing now that RT is no longer reviewing LI stories. Are you still working with the magazine in some other capacity? I know you're a freelance editor and a writer. Are you wearing any other hats?

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, DEBBY! So interesting to see how you and other authors immerse themselves in their stories. Having a looming, contracted deadline is definitely motivating to do so, isn't I? :)

No one makes AlphaSmarts any more? Aaack! I hope mine never dies. I like to use it to brainstorm ideas when a story is formulating in my mind. Because it doesn't have a big screen, I don't bog myself down with "editing" my ideas (I'm sure that's why you like it for drafting your book). While I like handwriting ideas on a lineless newsprint pad, too, with the Alphasmart I just plug it into my computer and transfer everything to a Word doc -- don't have to take the time type it all in manually like I do when I've handwritten my brainstorming.

Debby Giusti said...

Glynna, I always think of you with your unlined notebook, jotting down story ideas. If I need to write a short blurb, I use pen and paper. But for longer drafts, I work on my Alpha for the reason you mentioned. It turns off my internal editor.

Have a wonderful day. Bet it's cool in your neck of the woods! :)

PS: I believe higher tech products, such as the Nao (?) and Dana, are still being produced. I'll google later. On my way to church now.


Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Debby Great ideas for getting into the story. I just daydream. I can do that anywhere but it is best when I'm outdoors and walking. The act of walking keeps the left brain busy enough that the right brain can go at it. smile

The southern breakfast sounds yummy. I'm in for that.

Can't picture you as Amish so I'm glad you have a good imagination. chuckle.

Glynna Kaye said...

DEBBY -- I have an Alphasmart Neo.

It's been down to 45 at night here in the mountains. 75-80 during the day, which quickly plummets into the 50's/lower 60's when a monsoon system moves in!

Wilani Wahl said...

How interesting to see all the different ways the authors immerse themselves in their stories.
Thank you for this post, I can't wait to read your book

Cate Nolan said...

Debby, here are the links. There are several that I may use depending on what mood I'm looking for.

This one is 11 hours of calming sea music. Confession - I've never played it all the way through.

This one is a stormy ocean and it has seagull sounds too so I use it when I'm writing one of my Maine books set near the ocean. It's a little louder so I tend to turn the volume very low.

I should explain about the music. I start out with a song that I've picked, but the music works in two ways so it doesn't distract me -

If I'm restless and wanting to jump up instead of writing (never happens, right?), then the music is an incentive to stick at it because I like the music I've chosen and listening to it is sort of a reward.

More often it works because it becomes a white noise. I start with the songs and they lull me into the story, but some part of my brain must respond to it because I only hear the repetitive music. It has drowned out all the other noise (which in this city and especially this summer, has been relentless). It lets me set aside anything I might be worrying about, anything else that's on my mind. It's like the music washes my mind clean of everything but my story. The ocean music is particularly good for that.

One last thing to add that I didn't think of earlier - You Tube has so many nature sounds videos that are perfect for getting into the mood of a story. The LIS I am currently working on begins with a thunderstorm. This video helps me feel what the heroine is experiencing.

Connie Queen said...

County me in for another silent writer.
The tv stays off all day and I only listen to music in the car. Everyone is welcome to make all the noise they want at night and on weekends.

Love reading everyone's process.

Sally Shupe said...

Great post! I loved reading the immersion strategies. I like the movie and song tips. For one story I wrote, a song played through my head the whole time: Stephen Curtis Chapman's Something Beautiful-God’s gonna turn it into something beautiful, and the other was Brad Paisley's He Didn't Have to Be-about a single mom who went on a date and for once her son got to go. Love these songs!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Great post, DEBBY! I love seeing how writers immerse themselves in their work. All the ideas sound intriguing, but I'm like SANDRA - daydreaming is where I'm most productive, as far as ideas. And like DEBBY and JESSICA, when I actually sit down to write, silence works best for me.

JACKIE, I started Pinterest boards for my characters/books as well - I got the idea here on Seekerville, and it has been so helpful. Of course, if I'm not careful, I could spend all day there :-)

JILL, love that hummingbird photo! You're so good at that!

TINA, I haven't watched Criminal Minds since the first season because it was giving me nightmares (so did the show Medium) but I thought it was one of the better written shows I'd seen at the time. Did you see in the news where the star was suspended for an altercation? When it was first reported, they said it was because he'd "kicked a writer." There's probably a lot of backstory there :-)

KELI, I LOVE that you can imagine your characters standing by your side - so cool to be able to visit a place like that. And microfilm reading is something I've done many times (working on historical features for local newspapers and now a book) but I have to time myself, or I would be there all day. I get totally lost in the "old days."

Deanna Stevens said...

As a reader it's easy to see which authors do their research and really know who their characters are... Enjoyed all the authors comments :)
toss me into the hat please..

Leslie McKee said...


I'm still reviewing for RT. I cover other books (inspirational, mystery, and mainstream), but I also review 1-2 LI books a month (as they fit into the publication schedule). Yes, I do work as a freelance editor, and I review for another publication, as well.

Sherida Stewart said...

Debby, your immersion for two weeks into your story world is a great idea for editing that final draft. Doing all possible to avoid being taken out of the book would keep me focused.

Like you and Keli, I like to visit places which immerse me in my setting. Currently, I'm writing historical. I'm fortunate to live in an area of old mining towns. Recently, I rode a steam train and stayed at a historic hotel...all helped to get the feel of living during that time period. I also like to visit recreated historic sites to walk with my imagined characters.

After enjoying Jill's hummingbird Facebook videos this summer, whenever I see a hummer, I think of Jill! :)

Thank you for all the other ideas for diving into my imaginary world! Blessings!

Nicky Chapelway said...

I use several of the methods that were mentioned in the post, especially the listening to music. The beat of the music really gets my writing groove on. It works best if I have a specific song for the story, but most of the time I cannot find the perfect match for the song and must listen to songs that don't particularly go with my story. Another method I use is to read books of the same genre as the one I am writing. I know that if doing this a person has to be careful not to copy off of the book they are reading, but I am very much a mood reader (and sometimes writer since I always want to write the same genre I'm reading!) and so that keeps me focused on that particular genre.

Please enter me for your book!

Myra Johnson said...

Love this glimpse into your writing process, DEBBY! And fun to read how other Seekers and Seekervillagers immerse themselves in their stories!

Especially with my historical novels, research has been an important step for me--becoming familiar with the "story behind the story," visiting locales when possible, reading personal accounts from real people who lived through the era I'm writing about.

In general, though, I think the need for total immersion is a big reason I find myself unable to write in short snippets of time. I need to know I have at least a couple of hours, if not the whole day, to sink into my story and let it flow. That's the pantser in me--I just don't know what's going to happen until my characters tell me!

Myra Johnson said...

And may I just say . . . I am totally ENVIOUS of JILL's hummingbirds!!!! Ours gets some action but NOTHING like Jill's!!!!!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Aw...thank you Laura and Sherida! Myra, I've tried to direct some up your way. :)

Janet Dean said...

DEBBY, thanks for the interesting post. I loved reading these writer's techniques for immersing themselves in their stories. I must try Cate and Pam's technique of using music/sounds.

The blurb of Plain Truth has really hooked me! Can't wait to read it!


Janet Dean said...

KELI, you're so blessed that your research site is in your backyard! Would love walking those streets with you!


Janet Dean said...

GLYNNA, I'm going to try your technique of brainstorming the next scene in an online journal. Just a great idea!


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Debby, I LOVE this post. So many fabulous ideas for immersing ourselves in our story! I love your way of doing this, but with two boys at home, I can't do that right now. :)

Some of the things I've done is create a playlist as I'm getting to know the characters. Depending on where I am writing, I'll listen to it as I'm getting ready to write, and even when I'm doing other things. These songs are usually ones that speak to my heart or are ones my characters might like, or are songs that contain truths my characters will learn in the story. I also like to think through my upcoming scene . . . what the stake and obstacles will be, the five senses of the scene, how the scene will end. This helps me to get deeper into the scenes and story.

Stephanie Sullivan said...

Great post! Like Patricia stated, I don't read novel genres similar to my own when I'm working on a new story because it's too distracting. And like Glynna mentioned, I do a lot of praying once my fingers hit the keyboard. I also need complete silence when I'm writing. I used to love listening to music, but I guess the older I get the harder it is to remain focused. LOL. Now if I can just get family members to stop calling me during the day while I'm trying to work. It's like they don't believe I'm actually working since I don't have a job outside my house. Does anyone else have this problem?

Debby Giusti said...

Back from church. Prayed for all who will visit this blog today...and for my wonderful readers.

Yes to walking freeing the brain! Although now I'm walking on a tread mill in an air conditioned gym most days due to the GA heat! Not as inspiring as Mother Nature!

Laughing at your comment about envisioning me Amish! Or not! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Glynna, 45 at night. Oh my! That's a cold wave in GA!

I need summer. That's probably why I live where I do. :)

Neo, that's it! Thanks for clarifying, Glynna!

Debby Giusti said...

Wilani, you're always so sweet! You're in the drawing.

Hugs and love and prayers. Hope you're still enjoying your new home! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Cate, thank you for sending the web info for the music...and for your explanation. I can see how the music would drown out the city noise.

And the sound of the ocean is so soothing. Must play that one first!

Thanks and hugs!

Debby Giusti said...


I'm sure quiet is sometimes hard to find with your wonderful family around! :)

Debby Giusti said...


Love how music can take me to another place. I can't sing. Always wished God had given me that gift, but he passed me over. Perhaps he knew I would have focused on music instead of writing, which is where he wanted me to labor. At least, that's the excuse I give for not having a voice. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Laura, our Quiet Writers Group is growing! :)

I need to watch Criminal Minds. I rarely watch TV except for the news. Must tune in!

I've used microfilm. Amazing the wealth of information those old newspapers provide. I remember one writer who had old magazines from the 1930s to 1940s or so. Can you imagine what a wonderful resource they would be! The ads alone would be so helpful when writing in that time period.

Debby Giusti said...

Deanna, AKA DeAnna!

You're in the drawing! I think we all do homework, although some of us are more vocal about the research! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Good to know, Leslie! My subscription lapsed so I haven't seen the new RT format. And I thought you were mainly an LI reviewer. You must be a speedy reader. I'm impressed. Wish I were. Of course, I usually only read at night before going to sleep. Usually I'm tired so I don't get far...

Debby Giusti said...

Sherida, how fun to experience those historical spots firsthand. I live near Warms Springs, GA, where Roosevelt often stayed. As you might remember, he bathed in the springs for his polio and a large rehab center was built there and is still in operation. Also, his Little White House is there, and that's where he died. I spent the night in the old Warm Springs hotel where the reporters stayed. They still have the phone booth where the writers called in their stories after his death. It's like stepping back in time.

I need to visit Warm Springs again. Haven't been there in a number of years. Thanks for reminding me!

Debby Giusti said...

Jill, do hummingbirds "appear" in your stories? How nice if they would.

Debby Giusti said...

Nicky, interesting that you read the genre you're writing as you write. Music seems to work for a lot of folks. Basically, we have the Music Group and the Quiet Group.

Perhaps we should take a poll!


Debby Giusti said...

Myra, thanks for providing that interesting insight. You're right. Sometimes we need a longer length of time to get "into" our stories. Seems I can write a first draft on the run, but I need an extended time frame to really live the story.

Thanks for encouraging me yesterday as I struggled with the graphics. I now see the wisdom of creating a special meme for Twitter. When I posted today, the entire graphic showed up! Made the work worthwhile!


Debby Giusti said...

Janet, I'm agreeing with you. So many good ideas for immersion! I'm still amazed at Tina's kissing video. You've got to watch it! Be ready to swoon!

Julie, check it out! You'll love it! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jeanne, another member for the Music Group. I'm wondering if the music folks are auditory learners? Are you? Perhaps music is key because of the way you relate to the world.

I'm visual. Any other visual learners out there? Are you part of the Music Group or the Quiet Group?

Jeanne, laughing at your mention of my two week immersion. So true that having youngsters in the house would preclude such longtime writing spurts. Hubby gets a bit lonely, but he survives. Doubt little ones would allow Mama that much peace and quiet.

Hugs to you and your sweet boys!

Sandy Smith said...

I also enjoy reading about how other writers work. I am writing a tornado novel and I have recorded Weather Channel programs about tornadoes. This helps me to see and feel the emotions involved. I have also saved newspaper articles from Nebraska tornadoes.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Debby Giusti said...

Stephanie, you're not alone! Seems most of us have struggled with folks not realizing we're really AT WORK!!!

My problem is....ME! I say "yes" to church needs and activities when my deadline is a long way off. Then I have to catch up. That's probably the reason I need the two-week immersion prior to submission.

I keep trying to be Ruthy and write every morning. But I remain Debby! :(

I should add that God always clears my schedule for the two-week writing spurts! He knows I need that time and provides it so beautifully. PTL!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, you're the first to mention the Weather Channel! I love some of their programs on spectacular weather events. Oh my! Such fury! Gotta love Mother Nature.

I'm sure the clippings are excellent. Pulling from those eyewitness accounts makes your writing even more authentic.

Thanks for sharing!

Cate Nolan said...

Debby, I'm laughing because as I read through the comments it occurred to me that I missed the most obvious way of getting that deep immersion - an approaching deadline!

Nothing but nothing gets me deep into the story faster than the impending deadline. I wonder if it's somewhat of a guilt thing - like writing is something I do for myself so the only time I allow myself to totally get into it to the exclusion of all else is when it's an obligation rather than a reward.

Does that make any sense?

Sandy Smith said...

That makes complete sense, Cate. That's what does it for me.

Sandy Smith said...

Debby, I also bought a book that was published about the Pilger, Nebraska tornadoes (several in the area)which is detailed with eye witness accounts and also includes details about the cleanup and the help given the people, which is something else I need. Also, when my son was in high school he went two years in a row to help in Joplin. The first year was only five weeks after the tornado, then he went back a year later. The interesting thing was, that second year they got to work on one of the same houses they had been at the previous year. It was just a coincidence--not planned that way--but it was a wonderful way for his group to see the progress that was made.

I still remember the impressions he texted me when they were first driving into the city after the first tornado. They entered by way of an area that had been untouched, and he said as they gradually entered the areas of destruction, it was beyond description. I'm trying to use that in my book. Anyway, he is helpful in telling me what someone does during tornado cleanup.

My husband and I recently drove through Pilger. It has now been two years since the tornado, but it was interesting how you can still see where the storm path was and how much has still not been rebuilt.

Debby Giusti said...

Cate...yes! Some years ago, I had to convince myself that I could take time from the family and write. That was in my pre-pubbed era when I struggled with putting my need to write least for a few hours a day.

Deadlines make me very focused! No doubt about it! :) It's a contract so I have to produce and have that manuscript ready on time!

I've always been a "just in time" person. My profession is medical technology in the clinical laboratory and my specialty was blood banking. I was in charge of the transfusion centers at Ireland Army Hospital and William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Lots of trauma patients in the ER who needed blood STAT. Typing and crossmatching as the ER folks are heading to the lab to pick up the blood isn't everyone's cup of tea. Especially in life and death situations. I thrived in that environment. So I guess that "just in time" method is...well, in my blood, so to speak. :)

CatMom said...

Wonderful post, Debby (and the others who shared what works for them).
Since I'm easily distracted, I write best when my house is quiet (and cats are napping, LOL) and I've re-read the previous paragraph/scene I've written at my last sitting. I don't usually play music, unless it's soft jazz. :)

I always enjoy reading how talented authors prepare to write their amazing stories, so thank you for sharing this post today.
Even though it's mid-day now, I'm glad there's still some of your delicious Amish breakfast left (biscuits and grits - YUM!!).

Since I didn't get to leave a peach dessert yesterday, I'm making up for it today, LOL. Please enjoy the Georgia peach cobbler and peach pound cake - - both warm from the oven!
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Valri said...

Looking forward to your next book, Debby, as I've read them all! I appreciate your total immersion process as your books show that! As a reader, I enjoy when writers put that effort into their books! I get TOTALLY immersed into the books and feel the "outside world" go away when I'm reading a book!

Thanks for your post and I'd love to be in the drawing!

Cate Nolan said...

Patti Jo, I was thinking of you. My post over at Yankee Belle today includes grilled peaches in my salad!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, thanks for sharing your resources, including your son's reaction to the devastation. It's hard to imagine the utter destruction of a tornado unless you see it firsthand. We've driven through areas that have small touch downs and everything is leveled and strewn, like the old game of pick-up sticks.

How wonderful that your son helped the folks in Joplin!

We lived in Kirksville, MO, for three years. It's part of that tornado alleyway. Many times, we'd stand on our back deck surveying the very green sky, watching for a funnel cloud. Thankfully, we were always spared.

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo...part of the Quiet Group! Except for jazz? Hmmm? Interesting! :)

Thanks for the peach cobbler and pound favorite!


Debby Giusti said...

Valri, thanks for your kind words.

We always hope our readers will become as immersed in the stories as we are when we write them!

Thank you for always being so sweet and encouraging!

You're in the drawing.

Hugs and love!

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Debby--we do what we can to stay current with technology, right? It's changing every day!

And I like to think challenging our brains this way is keeping us young!

kaybee said...

PATTI JO! Peach cobbler is one of my favorite things to make when they are in season here, New Hampshire, which is a very short window. My husband and I are both diabetic, so I make it with Splenda and it tastes just as good; cobblers also work well for us because there's only one crust, instead of with pie, so it's fewer carbs. At least that's what we tell ourselves.
DEBBY, a good post and good ideas. I immerse myself in my character on and off during the process, and I won't start a book until I'm fluent in Him, Her, the time and the place. Right now I'm entertaining the idea of a Revolutionary War story and I'm looking at clothes, watching "Legends and Lies" and reading "John Adams" which is a major undertaking. But I've got "Johnny Tremain" next on the pile, so I'll get a break. This goes along with the H and H, GMC, etc.
Thanks Debby,
Kathy Bailey
Trying to focus in NH

Vince said...

Hi Debby:

What an interesting post. Full immersion brings images of being baptized in a river with all your body under water! No sprinkling! It also brings a wish to be dropped in a family in Italy where one must live for a month with nothing ever spoken in English. Sink or swim!

Full immersion involves the full body, mind, and soul. While full immersion is hard to do in writing, a lot can still be done.

For writing a scene, like in the Grand Canyon, I like to walk a treadmill while watching an hour long Grand Canyon exercise video tape. This gets the body involved and builds muscle memory which is helpful in creating physical proxies.

As in all the above one should engage all senses as if one were in the police academy and were being tested on how good a witness you are.

If you have a party scene, watch a party clip from a movie on YouTube. Notice background. If you have guns in your story, arrange to fire those guns taking note about how they smell, sound, kick, and heat up. Does the odor of gunfire remain on your clothes for very long? Is it noticeable?

Idea: Do it before you show it! After you write a scene with dialogue, get up and perform it doing all parts yourself. Note what characters are doing and their body language. Can you use a physical proxy instead of naming an emotion?

Think of writing as a performance art. Imagine your readers as a live audience. Are you keeping them entertained? Do you really want them to wait a few more pages before the nest good stuff happens?

That's what I think of 'full immersion'. I'd really love to do it for a summer in Venice or Florence. I could even try writing, too. : )


Debby Giusti said...

Young, Myra? Hmmm. Not sure that's the way I feel. Confused is more like it! LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Kathy, how exciting to do a Revolutionary War story. Hubby and I enjoy "Legends and Lies." I find it interesting that many of the younger crowd (teen to mid-twenties) don't know some of the legends we grew up with. Seems life in my day was steeped with the Wild West and American History heroes! Now, not so much!

O'Reilly narrated an episode on the Swamp Fox and mentioned how so few folks knew his story. I recall watching a series on Francis Marion and his men when I was young. I was intrigued by his courage and loved the stories!

We need more historical fiction that showcases the exceptionalism of this country and its founders. So YAY, you, Kathy!!!

Debby Giusti said...

I'll go with you to Europe, Vince! Okay?

You talked about acting out a fight scene, which I had my son do once. Found out I had a number of movements wrong. :)

You mentioned the walking YouTube videos recently, and I've kept that in mind. Must see if there's one for Amish Country!

I do see my story as a movie, probably because I'm visual. Wondering if other writers see their work in that way, as well. I bet they do, especially in this age of videos and visual arts.

Debby Giusti said...

More for Vince...

When we lived in Germany, hubby was the Deputy Community Commander so we had a lot of functions with the Germans. I took German classes for the three years we lived there and was the family translator and linguist. Sometimes hubby and I would be at a social event when we were one of the few, if not the only, Americans. The Germans, especially the gentlemen, would speak rapidly, and I'd struggle to follow along. Hubby would always turn to me to translate as if I knew every word and nuance of what was being said. We were at a lovely dinner dance one evening and the subject of WWII came up. I kept praying that what I translated was accurate. I also worried about my responses. The couples were from the WWII era, and I knew we were on somewhat shaky ground. Thankfully, my replies always got smiles and nods and never raised eyebrows! LOL!

Tina Radcliffe said...

BTW, Debby, love your twitter memes.

I live in Germany two years and never managed to learn German, sigh. I lived on the economy and fortunately my landlord spoke fluent English.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Debby and gals, this is fascinating. When Debby asked for immersion ideas, I had to stop and think and realized I'm a head case. I envision, I don't use prompts, it's like a kaleidoscope of spinning things that come together and no help to normal people...

So I'm enjoying glimpsing this view of how folks see/do things. It's an eye-opener.

But it's cool to see how differently we all approach this process.

I will admit to having ideas stored in my head for years, and then applying them when a series comes along that fits.

Kind of like a walking/talking Dewey Decimal System without the card catalog.

Fascinating stuff, Debby and friends!!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Hey Debby, I'm actually a visual learner, but I love music. I forgot to add earlier, that with some scenes, I can't listen to music with lyrics. But I'll listen to instrumental music to help me feel what my POV character is feeling. When I'm listening to someone in a class or something instructional, I have to take notes like a madwoman so I can stay focused. That's where I bring in the visual, I think. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica, I'm with you. I like quiet as I develop plts and/or characters. I like to be uninterrupted. But then when I move on, I can block things out once I see the scene in my head. So I can work in a hotel lobby, or upstairs (if I can bribe someone to watch kids) or in an airport by just focusing on the scene.

But the scene has to be in my head first.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cornmeal mush?

Oh mylanta.

Julie Lessman said...

DEB, LOVE this post, girlfriend!! It's given me some great ideas to get "immersed" in my story for sure.

I had to laugh at your statement that said, "Looking back on the last few books I’ve written, I realized Total Immersion has become the final step in my writing process."

LOL ... my family calls this the "zombie state" when Mom goes into deaf-dumb-and-blind to everything around her except the final few chapters of the book. It was SO bad with my second book -- A Passion Redeemed, an almost 500-page book that I wrote in two months working a part-time job -- that I was literally up till 5:00 AM in the morning the last few nights, cranking like crazy.

You also asked: "How do you immerse yourself in your stories? Share a tip or technique.

Well, like Cate with her music and Tina with her movies, I do zero in on certain songs and movies. For instance, for A Passion Most Pure, the only song I listened to the entire time was "Glory to the King" by Hillsong because I took a line from it for APMP -- "He is a father to the fatherless" -- and to this day, when I hear that song, I get homesick for the O'Connors. :)

As far as movies, I try to watch ones in the era or setting of my novel, like The Last Song, which was partially filmed in Isle of Hope. And for my San Francisco series, my editor sent me a 10-minute video shot on the main street of San Fran a year or so before the earthquake, which is when the series took place, so THAT was a huge help, seeing actual footage of people, vehicles, and buildings of the day!

But my favorite way to get immersed in a novel is one nobody has mentioned yet, I don't believe, and that is -- I write a love-scene clip that I want to include in the book. Nothing gets me revved more or sucks me into a story quite like a heart-pounding love scene! ;)


Marianne Barkman said...

As a reader, I found it fascinating how authors immerse themselves in the stories they write. I'm thinking that the more they can truly become part of the story, the more we as readers do, too. If the story is really good, not much can pull me out of it.

Janet Dean said...

DEBBY, I'm so impressed that you created these terrific memes and they worked for Twitter. I'm going to try it. No telling what will happen but I'm guessing I'll be immersed for sure--as in drowning. I may need you and Myra to toss me a life preserver. :-)


Boo Smelser said...

I also listen to music to help me with my stories. I don't have a specific soundtrack for each book- though I wish I did- but I know my characters' songs and am always tickled pink to find a new one. Songs that go with the theme, the setting, what they have to deal with- and, of course, it is my solemn mission to find the perfect love song for each of my protagonist couples.

Please throw my name into the drawing. And stop making me hungry!

Mary Connealy said...

One of the things that really helps ground me in my historical cowboy world is Louis L'Amour. His accented dialogue, the terms he uses for saddles and campfires and hats and horses, on and one, the way he describes things, a hatful of fire...means a small fire. Light a shuck, means leave. Green broke horse 'crow hop' and it's no big deal, getting bucked around is just part of getting started on the day.

Just odd, funny twists of expressions that no one else really uses.
And I honestly don't use them much but they do set a mood.

Kav said...

Wow -- this is a treasure trove of information. Fascinating glimpse into the writing process. Loved Tina's romantic kisses link. I had to stop and watch that one right away. :-) And woot -- I hadn't heard of the PBS show on the Amish. I checked and my library has a copy so I put it on hold. What would we do without our libraries?

And I have a question about ordering Love Inspired books and since there are so many LI authors and readers here I thought y'all might be in the know. I place an order every month through the Harlequin website. I pick and choose between the three Love Inspired lines and because I'm ordering directly from them, I am getting the books a month before they are in the store. So -- here's the question. The last two months I haven't received my full order -- they've been short by two books because the books are out of stock. I find that really odd since the books aren't even in the bookstores yet, so how could they be out of stock? And how strange that both months the number of O/S books were exactly 2. I thought July might have been a computer glitch but the same thing happened this month. Has anyone had the same experience? Or any insights into what's happening? Sorry that's so long and rambling.

Mary Connealy said...


Mary Connealy said...

Ruthy, I was equally unhelpful for Debby's post.
I mean, sure, reading Louis L'Amour books, but I don't always do it.
And I listen to no music. I come and go as I like.

Maybe I should try and be MORE immersed.

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, you were too busy defending our nation to learn German. Hubby was the same way. No time.

I, on the other hand, was a stay-at-home mom of three. I had time...or made time. :)

I didn't write in those days, except thank you notes and invitations to tea, coffee, dinner, whatever. :)

Actually, I was volunteering big time, which is what Army wives do, especially when folks are far from home and in another country. So much to do to keep morale up and soldiers' families together.

Debby Giusti said...

Ruthy, you weave your own magic. I try to be I mentioned in an earlier comment, but I remain Debby.

Don't change a thing. Whatever you do works! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jeanne, I'm the same way with the notes. Just not with the music! :)

Debby Giusti said...

An aside, I just got back from the grocery store. Larissa Reinhart and her family are coming for lunch tomorrow. Remember she guest blogged about mysteries a few years ago. She and her family have been living in Japan, where hubby now works. They've been back to visit relatives for the last couple weeks and are flying to Japan on Friday. Can't wait to see her.

FYI, Larissa and family will be featured on HGTV'S House Hunters International on Aug 31. It runs at 10:30 PM EST and reruns at 2 AM or around there. Should be fun to watch. It was taped soon after they arrived, when they were looking for a house to rent for Larissa and the girls. Her hubby works 75 miles away, and they see each other on weekends.

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, I knew you'd have something to say about kissing! Thanks for sharing.

I'd love to see that SF earthquake video. My husband's father was born, in San Fran, the year of the quake. His family lived through it. So did he.

Don't know how you wrote 500 pages in two months while working. The hand of God, no doubt!


Debby Giusti said...

Marianne, we like readers to be sucked into the stories we write! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, good luck with the memes. I had a program on my phone that I loved, but when I upgraded, the app stopped working. GRRRR! So I went to a couple online SITES that had me pulling out my hair. My tip: watch YouTube tutorial videos before you strike out on your own. The programs are not necessarily user friendly. At least, they weren't user friendly to me.

Yes, I'll stand by as life guard in case you start to sink. Just call for HELP!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Boo, when you mentioned that special song for each of your hero/heroine couples...I thought the song could be played at their wedding reception for their first dance.

Then that got me thinking about the kissing video Tina shared and Julie's technique of writing the kissing scene first. :)

You're in the drawing!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, sounds as if Louis is the well you tap into before you start to write. You've mentioned him before. I've never read his books. Wonder if he has any Amish stories. LOL!

Debby Giusti said...

Kav, I'm so sorry the books were out of stock. That's terrible, especially since they haven't hit the shelves yet. I do know there have been some problems with distribution over the summer as Harper Collins moved into that aspect of the company.

Wondering if any of the other LI writers have information. I'm clueless...and sorry!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, what I told Ruthy goes for you as well. Your process works. Don't try to change anything! :)

Sorry you and Sandy couldn't get together. How fun would that have been!

Mary Connealy said...

Once in a while, when the h/h are being too FRIENDLY and not attracted enough, I write a kissing scene, just to wake up some heat. :)

Mary Connealy said...

I don't always use it, but I write and then delete it.

Kathryn Barker said...

Debby, such an intriguing post!

I love all the ideas. I think I'm more like Ruthy...I "see" things. I do like music now and then and movies are inspirational or YouTube videos. I LOVE research. Guess it all works together when writing!

Thanks again. Have a happy Wednesday!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Oh, Debby, you just helped me pinpoint why I've been floundering so much lately. We had way too much going on around here this visiting, a remodel/deck addition project, etc. I can only achieve total immersion when I am completely, one hundred percent, alone in the house. It's crazy, but I have to have total silence when I write.

Debby Giusti said...

True confessions from Mary!!! A kissing scene...just like Julie! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Kathryn, being like Ruthy is a very good thing! Good for you! Your future will be paved with gold...just like Ruthy's!


Debby Giusti said...

Rhonda, we are kindred spirits. Come back to Peachtree City! We can find quiet and write! :)


See you at ACFW!!!

Pepper Basham said...

What a great post, Debby! I'm always curious how people get 'into' their stories. Like Tina, I'm usually switching back and forth between two books at once.

bonton said...

Thank you for that interesting post, Debby!!

I enjoyed reading the techniques each author uses to become immersed in her work.

Looking forward to 'Plain Truth' - please enter my name in the drawing - and looking forward to meeting you next week, Debby!! Thank you so much!!

Julie Lessman said...

MARY SAID: "Once in a while, when the h/h are being too FRIENDLY and not attracted enough, I write a kissing scene, just to wake up some heat. :) I don't always use it, but I write and then delete it."

Nooooooooooooooooooo, Mary -- send it to me!! ;)


Debby Giusti said...

Pepper, good for you to make the switch. I have to stay in one story until it's finished.

Hope all is well. Will we see you at ACFW?

Debby Giusti said...

Bonton...can't wait! Next week will be wonderful. Thank YOU!!!

You're in the drawing! Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, you are too funny! What are you going to do with Mary's kissing scene?

Sandy Smith said...

Mary, I didn't realize you lived so close to Pilger. It was actually a quick drive through as we were on our way home from someplace. I might be back up that way this fall, though.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, I hope you and Mary can connect.

Keli Gwyn said...

This is such a great post, Debby! Thanks for inviting me to contribute to it.

My apologies for not being around today. I was helping our daughter get settled into her first apartment. I was sporting my mom hat while giving my writer hat a rest, but I'm here now.

Keli Gwyn said...

Trixi, I'm blessed to live in such a historic town. I do love walking around in those old businesses, but I have to be careful not to get so wrapped up in my trips back in time that I start carrying on conversations with my characters. The locals might think I'm loco.

Keli Gwyn said...

Laura, I could spend hours sitting at our library's microfilm reader scrolling through issues of our local newspaper from the period my stories take place. Actually, I've done just that a number of times. I'm glad microfilm readers are no longer in high demand. I can stay as long as I like, and there's no line, which there was back in my high school days when I was writing research papers for English class.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sherida, I didn't realize you lived near old mining towns. Which ones are they? Do you have a favorite?

Keli Gwyn said...

Janet, if you ever get out my way, I would love to stroll the streets of historic downtown Placerville with you.

Edwina said...


Thanks for a great article. I immerse myself by closing my office door and hanging a sign on it - "Writer at Work!" Sometimes that keeps a certain husband and dog out - and sometimes it doens't!

Please enter me in the drawing!

Josee Telfer said...

Oh man, I'm so green!

First of all, I had never heard of an Alphasmart. I just added one to my cart on Amazon.

Secondly, I don't have any techniques because I'm just wrapping up my first book here. I guess all I can say is I like quiet when I'm starting off but once the story gets going, I can write anywhere. I have 3 kids under the age of 12 and I've been writing like mad all summer.

The first scene I wrote for my book was the one where the h/h finally kiss. Like, really kiss. I like kissing scenes and Julie Lessman writes some of the best.

All you ladies ROCK.

Rebecca McLafferty said...

Hi Debby, I'm not familiar with AlphaSmart, so will be checking that out. I love getting into character and truly immersing myself in my story. When I can feel it and see it, I know my readers will be able to do the same. As my fingers first hit the keyboard, I am always in prayer. It is humbling to know that without God's loving guidance, there is nothing to write. Then reviewing research usually triggers the story line and puts me in the spot where I need to be. I usually read a wee bit of where I finished the previous day. I write 'country' the window and inhale!

Debby Giusti said...

Keli, thanks for sharing your immersion techniques! Loved your pic too!

Debby Giusti said...

Edwina, I have the same problem. Sometimes hubby doesn't realize I'm working...even when I'm at my computer! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Josee, good for you writing with your little ones around. A mom has to do what she has to do...right?

Check out Tina's kiss video! Oh my! It's delightful.


Debby Giusti said...

Rebecca, thanks for sharing your immersion techniques!

I pray as well throughout the writing process. Often God gives me the perfect plot point when I least expect it! He's so good!


Carroll Pellegrinelli said...

Debby you are my hero! Thank you all for sharing how you get-in-there and just do it!

I seem to write best listening to Latin Jazz. At first, it didn't have to be instrumental, but I've picked-up a lot of Spanish and Portuguese. I don't know what I'm singing, but it sounds like I do.

Thanks again!

Julie Lessman said...

JOSEE SAID: "The first scene I wrote for my book was the one where the h/h finally kiss. Like, really kiss. I like kissing scenes and Julie Lessman writes some of the best."

Aw, Josee, thank you SO much, you sweet thing, and if you have a H&H that "realllllly" kiss, I'm guessing I would like that scene a lot! ;)

And, Deb, sorry for the delay in getting the San Fran earthquake video to you, but here it is: