Monday, April 1, 2013

My Writing Process

So much for a final blog post! Ha! Not that any one is still following after such a long absence, but . . .

Outlines are not something I do. Okay, I sometimes do a conversational outline, as in a few sentences that I want to insert into the novel somewhere, somehow, or someway. I've also been known to jot down a few scenes I want to include as well, but . . .

. . . nothing in-depth. It's just not me.

Nope, not even with my current project, if you thought that's where this post is going.

I consider my current project the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis project because - like the caterpillar emerging from its egg, slowly eating and growing until it decides to spin its cocoon, then wait, wait, wait, and slowly emerge as a beautiful butterfly - that is how my current project has been proceeding.

It started, as most of my projects do, with a simple concept. I didn't have a beginning, middle, or end in mind, only the barest concept of what I wanted to do.

Oh, I had a main character and a peripheral character or two, well, seven or so, but the number doesn't really matter. Okay, I had way less than seven in the beginning, and probably have more than that by now. Ha!

The main concept was there, and that's all I needed. Then, like the caterpillar slowly eating and eating and eating, the concept grew and grew, the ideas expanded outward, more characters were added and the words flowed like liquid gold. Within two weeks, I had written over 20,000 words. That's a MAJOR record for me, btw. Now, about six weeks into the project, I'm at 70,000 + words, about 325 pages . . . and still going, though nearing the end.

The thing is, with my mind and how it works, the more I write, the more ideas come to mind, and, unfortunately, the more I have to go back and insert a chapter here, there, and everywhere.

First, the main character was just a main character. Her identity was set in stone. I knew where she had been, where she wanted to go, and I only had to get her there.

Well, something funny happened on the way to the forum (old joke, look it up, Google is your friend) . . . and this singular character suddenly had another identity. No, not a super hero concept. Still, the dual identity became important for her, and another character in the book as well. Then, it all spiraled out of control and . . .

. . . the words continued to flow.

Oh, then there were the Four Talismans, quite important to the overall story, three of which I identified early on, but the fourth seemed to elude me. Yes, yes, yes, just eliminate the fourth, but, the number four was integral to the tale, so, well, I needed a fourth. Yesterday, in a bit of inspired creativity on my part, perhaps genius, the fourth revealed itself to me while I was writing a chapter. Woo-hoo!

Thus has been this entire writing experience: revealments (nope, not a word, but using it) left, right, up, down, hither and thither, and even some yonder. With each word I write, each paragraph, and chapter, more and more comes together in my mind.

This is only the rough draft, so it's not a big deal to make a note such as "Change this to that since this happened before that happened". It's not a big deal to go back and insert chapters for a guiding force character that, originally, wasn't intended to be anything more than a casual reference throughout the book. Who knew that character decided she wanted more in this novel than a reference here and there? I sure as heck didn't, but . . . more often than not, my characters seem to have a mind of their own. LOL!

So, if outlining is not for you, and seat of the pants writing is, go for it! Don't worry if countless books out there tell you outlining is the only way to write. The only true way to right, is what works best for you!!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Best Bud: Procrastination

Sometimes, writing is easy. Other times, it's a slow and painful process that I equate with having a root canal . . . not that I've ever had a root canal. I've just heard the horror stories and . . .
. . . that's how the writing process has been for me over the course of the last few months. Okay, a wee bit longer than all that jazz.
I don't know why. I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV. Okay, I have somewhat of an idea, it's not pretty, and personally I don't want to go explore that dark and twisty path through the forest where fearsome beasts lurk, just waiting for me to stumble over some irreverent root and then fall, where they can pounce upon me and, well, take my humanity.
Okay, it's not been that bad. It's just been . . .
Some of my problem comes from rejection. Some comes from dark childhood memories better left in childhood. Some or all of the last two sentences are most likely fiction . . . or truth.
I've made some attempts at writing. Attempts. I have written some stuff, some pretty good stuff, but the desire to write day after day just hasn't grab ahold of me.
Again, don't know why.
For the last few days, the words, on a new project, have flowed fairly easily. That sound you're hearing is me knocking on every piece of wood within a 75 mile radius of my house. LOL!
So, I've been writing and yet, the project closest to my heart, ready to go out into the world to be rejected by agent after agent, sits untouched. The things I need to do to submit it - finish the latest version of the query, do a one page synopsis for the one publisher, among other things - for query or to an independent publisher, remain undone. Oh, I think about doing those things, but procrastination has become my best bud in the Universe over the course of the last few months. The only thing I seem to be sticking to is my determination to lose - which I did, btw - some weight I had gained and continue to eat as healthy as possible. Take that, procrastination.
But, I'm writing, and I take that as a good sign. The ideas for this particular project are following me around like my dogs. Trust me, I can't - TMI coming up, in case you want to skip forward a few sentences - go to the bathroom without them, or the cat, following me. I keep telling the Boyz - Jesse and James - that I'm perfectly capable of going to the bathroom without their assistance. They just don't seem to believe me for some reason. Oy!
Anyhow, back to those ideas that are following me around. I had the initial concept, and began to jot down notes about that concept - main characters, peripheral characters, etc. - and then suddenly I was writing the first chapter. I'm now on to chapter three. Woo-hoo. With each word/paragraph I write, more ideas flow, and the piece of paper next to my laptop fills up with more scribbles here, there, and everywhere. Again, woo-hoo! I have a general idea how my evil three, yes three, count 'em - one, two, three - are most likely going to escape from their banishment. Okay, a vague idea. I know how the three heroines are going to go off on their own to prevent this from happening. It's all in the little details that appear as I write, in the conversations that happen, which reveal more details about unrest about to happen that will force the menfolk to stay behind and deal with those issues, while the three heroines must do whatever they can to protect themselves and those they love.
So, the words flow for now, and since I needed to put pen to paper, so to speak, I decided to do a blog post about the whole dang thing . . . not that anyone still follows this blog so many months after I allegedly put up the final post and put the blog to rest. Ha!

Friday, July 29, 2011


This may or may not be a long post.

First - Farewell!

Most blogs have a three year life span. I think this blog reached the end of its lifespan quite a while ago, thus the lack of posts in recent months. So, for the most part, I've decided to bid farewell to this blog . . . but not the blogging community. I'll still be out here, reading, lurking, and commenting from time to time. I just don't - at this point - have plans to keep blogging about a writer's life.


Well, I think I've said what I wanted to say, and there are a ton of other blogs out there doing pretty much the same thing, so . . . I'm leaving writers, aspiring and otherwise, in the capable hands of other bloggers.

Second - What I've Been Doing!

In the last few months I've been doing . . .

Reading - I just finished reading Book 9 of the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle. Great Books! Book 10 release date is this coming Tuesday. Woo-hoo.

In reading these books, I've realized more and more that, well, I've been writing, well, right! Ha! Seriously, more so than anything else, reading all these books - started in June w/Book 1 - I've come to realize that some of my doubts about my own writing style were unfounded. The things I've been doing with my writing are, to use a British term, spot on! So, it's a good thing I bought that first book back in June to read on the plane while going to Key West, then directly to Boston, and back home. Geesh!

I just started Armistead Maupin's Mary Ann in Autumn, the latest in his Tales of the City series. Great series, btw, and some great movies out there as well with Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal. Great casting. Plus, I have another mystery book awaiting my attention, and my mother recommended Sarah's Key - which has been made into a movie. Mom says she couldn't put down the book.

Third - New Blog!

Yeah, I know, like I needed another blog, but, you can find it here!

There are times when I want to write beyond fiction, when life just makes me, well, mad. So, this blog - Scottford Speaks - is where I'll put those musings, those frustrations with this life, that go beyond fiction into, well, the realm of non-fiction . . . depending on your viewpoint. Ha!

Fourth - Life!

Life has been crazy, especially these last couple of months, with more loss, and crazy stuff than I really want to deal with in this life.

They - don't know who they are - say bad things happen in threes! Well, multiply that by two and you have the series of events that have thrown me for a loop, and had me struggling with my faith. Don't worry, still have that faith, but it was touch and go for just a wee bit.

Fifth - Revamps!

Revamps to my cozy mystery. I changed one little thing . . . and am in the process of going through the entire document to fix that one thing.

Oh, and then there was the making the prominence of one character, well, more prominent . . . which meant altering the location of various chapters from one place to the other, which meant if it was happening in the apartment, but now at the new place, the fact that a character was pacing didn't make sense any longer, or the fact that one character likes to walk around naked in the apartment. Yeah, doing that in a public place might be funny, but would also lead to an indecent exposure charge. Ha! So, slowly but surely, I've been doing those changes which means . . .

. . . I have to change the one page synopsis a bit and . . .

. . . the query a bit. Geesh.

Then, my friend Traci - English professor - has started her own proofreading business, and has agreed to proofread the document. Woo-hoo! Okay, normally she won't do manuscripts, but, if you know anyone who needs a cover letter, resume, dissertation, essay proofread, etc., give me a shout. I'll hook you up.

Fifth - Cooking!

Yes, cooking. You see, a character in my mystery runs a tea shop and has all these delectable concoctions she creates, which means . . . I have to have recipes for these delectable concoctions. So, I've been experimenting in the kitchen coming up with these recipes. So far, I haven't sent Frank to the ER. So far! LOL!

Seriously, I have begun compiling recipes for the books - cookies, muffins, some main dish stuff. I think I love cooking as much as I love writing, so a combination of those two passions is a very good thing.

Sixth - The End!

So, with all that going on in my life, plus my need to write more in the non-fiction realm, I just figured now was as good as time as any to say farewell to this blog.

I appreciate every single follower, and every friend I've made through this blog. I've learned a lot from your blogs as well. Hopefully, I've learned enough. Plus, I'm friends with a good many of you on Facebook, so it's not like I'm going to drop off the face of the Earth!

Good luck to every writer out there. Don't ever give up on your dream. Keep writing. Don't give up, don't falter, don't think the publishing world is changing forever. Just keep writing. A dream is always worth following. The publishing world may change - Borders closing - but the need for books, whether in e-format, or whatever, will always exist. The human mind craves adventure, and it is up to us, the writers of the world, to provide that adventure!


Friday, June 3, 2011


Okay, so everyone knows I've been doing family history stuff for the last few months . . . to the exclusion of just about everything else. Trust me on that one.

Well, last week I ordered the FamilyTree Maker software from Ancestry. Best $$ spent in a long time. The software is nifty beyond nifty and lets me create all sorts of reports - descendant reports, places reports (showing all the places my ancestors have lived - NEAT-O!), and, best of all, the Timeline Report.

The Timeline Report, for an individual, will show all the events that happened in the span of a person's lifetime.

Take my Great Grandmother Maggie Morris Sweat . . .

When I ran the report on her, I learned the following information . . .

1800 - 1900: US History - Western Expansion
1830 - 1930: World History - Mass immigration to US, Europe, and Canada
1869 - Birth of my great grandmother
1893 - World History: Women's Suffrage in New Zealand
1898 - Spanish American War
1901 - William McKinley Assassination - September 6, 1901, Buffalo, New York
1903 - Wright Brothers First Flight - September 17, 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
1903 - Ford Model T Manufactured
1912 - RMS Titanic Disaster
1920 - death of great grandmother

Here's the neat thing for writers: with a click of a few buttons, I'm able to get a sense of what was going on in America, and the World, for a specific time frame, and have it right at my fingertips as, say, I work on an historical mystery loosely based on a real life event, i.e., the disappearance of my great-grandfather.

So, as I write out the chapters, I can include some of these things in the book. Woo-hoo!

So, for anyone doing historical novels, you might want this software, perhaps solely for the timeline aspect, but perhaps more so to do your own family history research.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stink, Stank, Stunk

No, I'm not channeling the Grinch. Then again, maybe I am, because . . .

. . . my synopsis can best be described as . . .

. . . STINK!

. . . STANK!

. . .STUNK!

And . . . I wouldn't touch it with a thirty foot pole!! Ha!

Okay, it's not that bad.

Okay, I think it is that bad, though it has some promise . . .

. . . with a heck of a lot of tweaking.

Where in the heck is Cindy Lou Who when you need her?

Because, let me tell ya, my synopsis needs her . . . and a bunch of other stuff.

The problem: when I first worked on the synopsis for my cozy, I thought it was pretty dang good.

Yeah, I know, there I go thinking again. Never a good thing. It always gets me in trouble, like the time . . .

Well, no need to go there! Ha!

Suffice it to say, it needs work. I did some crossing out and red penning last night, and will do more work tonight to get this lovely stinky, stanky, stunky synopsis in tip-top shape!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The New Plan

So, I've been dancing with the ancestors a lot lately. Okay, more than a lot. It's been a mini-obsession of mine - almost - to the exclusion of all us.

So, tomorrow, June 1, 2011, I step back from my dance with the ancestors and step forward to work on my writing.

Perhaps I just needed a break. Perhaps I was wallowing in self-pity. Perhaps . . .

Well, I don't know why I stepped back from the writing. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV.

I think I just needed a break.

I think - see yesterday's post - I needed time to dwell on things and decided the best course of action for me, because, well . . .

. . . it's all about me. Ha!

Seriously, I needed a break, took one, and now I'm gearing back up to throw myself in the query trenches while . . .

. . . also researching some indie/small press publishers that deal with my niche (which, in my opinion, really shouldn't be a niche) market.

I've started the one page synopsis required by one of the indie publishers. It's gonna take a wee bit of work to finish. Okay, it's gonna take a lot of work.

Have I mentioned I hate doing the synopsis thing? Oh, yeah . . . hate, hate, hate.

Then again, I hated doing algebra. Boy, did I hate doing algebar (see I hated it so bad, I spelled the word wrong - LOL). Man, I hated algebra. In fact, I barely passed algebra in high school, and yet . . . "A" was the name of the game in college. Go figure. Ha!

So, I plod every forward, doing what I must in this crazy writing journey, to get my brilliance published.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Niche Writing

My name is Scott and . . .

. . . I'm a niche writer. Yes, I admit it! I'm not a mainstream writer. I don't write about vampires or mermaids or, well, whatever.

I write about the life I see around me, the life I want to read about.

I don't want the overt stereotypes constantly portrayed by the media.

I don't want the marginalization of a distinct group of people.

I want - some of the time, not all of the time - characters I can relate to on a deep level, rather than a peripheral level.

Yes, there are books there our there that deal with what I'm talking about. There are writers - agented, multiple published - who write what I write.

But . . .

. . . the market is still niche. The market is still . . .

. . . limited.

In all fairness, the market shouldn't be limited.

In all fairness, equality should exist for all people.

It doesn't.

So, in submitting my query for my cozy mystery, I've begun to wonder if . . .

. . . the main characters weren't gay, would it be more marketable?

If I made the characters heterosexual, would it have more marketability?

If I made the characters female, would it have more marketability?

Okay, perhaps marketable isn't the proper word for the first question. Perhaps the question should be . . .

If the main characters weren't gay, would it be less rejectable?

Yes . . . rejectable.

Is the fact that the characters are gay a deteriment to acceptance?

Then again, perhaps my query just sucks.


I don't know. The more I think about it, the more I talk about it with others, my instinct (normally right, not always right) is telling me that gay is too niche.

So, do I alter the first 20 pages so gay is not so evident, not obvious. Do I do a test and find out whether it's my query, or the gay aspect?

Do I want to know that truth?

I'm not sure.

I'm really not sure.

So, rather than submitting the query further, I've sat back and done, well, nothing. I haven't made the changes in the opening pages that would imply heterosexuality over homosexuality. I haven't researched more agents on the slim (maybe, maybe not) hope that someone will see beyond how the characters were born, to the actual story.

Yes, perhaps I'm being a bit too cynical. I don't know if I am or not. I just don't know.

I do know that one publisher pretty much said that gay is too niche. Go figure. So, scratched that potentiality off my list.

So, what would you do? Would you alter the first 20 pages to imply heterosexuality versus homosexuality? Would you query until you could query no longer?