My Writing Process

KJ Montgomery (http://kjmontgomery.com/), one of the authors I met at the first Romance Novel Convention and the author of Trove (The Katie Walsh Mysteries), invited me to participate in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour” several years ago. Here’s an update.

Question 1: What am I working on?

The Gaze of a Widow, another entry in “The Widows of the Aristocracy” series.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In most Regency romances, the story centers around one couple and follows how the they overcome some obstacles on their way to falling in love. My books all feature two couples. Sometimes their stories are parallel and sometimes they’re very interconnected. As a result, most of my books are considered epic Regencies (at least 100,000 words).

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?

I love the Regency era. I love the history, the fashion, the architecture, the emerging technologies – but it made for some interesting societal changes for Great Britain that were not always for the good. The era is a great backdrop for love stories.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?

I used to be a planner. If I didn’t have a complete outline written out, I at least had one in my head. That approach comes from the way I learned to do research in high school— using index cards, recording references, and ordering the information for writing the project. The process worked great for writing technical manuals (although by the time I was writing those, the index cards were virtual).

Now I’m more concerned about the interactions of my characters and the story arc. I like to start with a character sheet. I figure out who my characters are and search for images that represent them. Online searches (for say, “tall, dark and handsome”) and boards on Pinterest are gold mines for images. Once I have photos for my main characters, I arrange them on a virtual art board, label each character with a note about their relationship to someone else on the board, and print it. That character sheet hangs on a bulletin board next to my computer, and I reference it while I’m writing.

Next, I input the characters into a giant genealogical chart. Because so many of my characters are related to one another, I found it necessary to keep track of their familial relationships.

Although I work from an outline, I don’t write the book linearly. I sometimes start in the middle, or, if I start at the beginning, I’ll do some of the middle, maybe write the end or the second-to-the-last chapter and then write the pieces that tie them all together. I always let my characters have their say because they’re very good at surprising me along the way. And sometimes they have some great ideas!

For tools, I’ll use whatever is handy given the device I’m on. Sometimes that means I’m writing in the body of an email. I prefer Mellel on the iPad and iMac. What I use to write doesn’t matter since it all ends up in a bookfile in InDesign.

When I think I’m done, I’ll send a PDF to my beta readers and wait for their feedback. I’ve been lucky enough in the story creation that I’ve only had to do a massive rewrite for one of my books, but I did it as a result of the feedback I received. Once all the suggestions are incorporated, I send the book off to my editor. I’ll input the corrections and then send it off to my proofreader before I finish formatting the files for the print version. Because I use InDesign, I am able to do all my own file conversions for the Kindle version using the same source files. I use Vellum to generate all the e-Pub versions of the book—I really love how the books look on the various e-readers.

My plan going forward is to create a review team—a group of dedicated historical readers who like to be the first to read and review a book. If you’re interested, please contact me!

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3 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. Hi Linda, as tweeted to you I have only just discovered your fantastic historical romance books, in less than a week I’m on my fourth book. I love the way you write, and intertwine the characters in your books. I actually fall in love with the leading men in each book, even the Earl of Trenton once he learnt how to kiss properly!! Maybe I shouldn’t think that as a 50 year old married woman!! As a very avid Historical Romance reader I would love to become a part of any review team that you create. As I suffer from Agoraphobia and never leave the house, I constantly have my Kindle in hand. Thank you for your books.
    kind regards,
    Mrs. Adele Bibby

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  2. Thanks so much for the Tweet and for contacting me. Yes, I’m always on the hunt for reviewers! There are three free series starters to get you going, but for the rest of the books, please email me at lindarae@vcn.com, and we’ll get you set up (and fill up that Kindle while we’re at it).

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  3. Thank you for your reply, and I would definitely love to get my Kindle filled up with your books. I will contact you via email. Thank you for taking the time to reply. It’s very good of you x x

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