A Scene can be a Seed

Anne here, and today I’m musing about the process of writing. Several readers have indicated that they’re curious about how we wenches go about writing our books, and while I can’t speak for any of the others — all writers’ processes are unique — this is mine.  (Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash)

A wall is made of bricks and mortar;  a novel is made of scenes and the mortar is causality.

I once attended a talk by Queensland writer Kate Morton — read her, she’s fabulous — and in the question session at the end, someone in the audience asked how she decided what book to write next. I love knowing what sparks a story idea and why, out of the many story ideas you might have buzzing in your brain, one stands out.

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Ask A Wench—How Do You Begin Writing a New Book?

This month's Ask A Wench focuses on another craft question . . . and as you'll quickly see from our responses, the creative mind is rarely tidy! Z<G>

How do you begin writing a new book? Do you rely on outlines or charts, or do you wing it from notes?

Pat'sdeskPat: See me flying into the mist, crashing into mountains.??.??. At the start of a series, where I am now, I???ll have the kernel of the series idea and a couple of main characters. Ideas float around. I scribble notes like:

Gothic mansion hidden in cotswolds? Cornwall?
Picturesque Elizabethan village
Hero thinks he’s dying? Looking for relatives?
Hero lives alone except for wickedly interfering, annoying mother/housekeeper/nanny
Historian who has studied egalitarian societies and believes England should move that direction
They’re both not normal, not fit for others; O/C
He’s in search of something important; she was orphaned during a storm/shipwreck
He has enormous family tree of names pinned to fabric. Bottom of tree folds up and can be lifted to hang over top of tree. Hereditary short finger or toe proves lineage
House has no entail so it can be passed to female descendant or sold. People who want it sold at war with ones who want to keep it?

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Taking Description to Task

1024px-Fountain_pen_writing_(literacy)Pat here:

In response to reader requests that the Wenches occasionally talk about how we do what we do—I am taking a broad interpretation to include craft as well as how I come up with my stories and characters. Because, truth to tell, I haven’t a clue what crossed wires create insane scenarios in my brain, and craft is a lot easier to explain.

If there are writers reading this, please feel free to jump in, because—as we all know—THERE ARE NO RULES in writing. It’s a creative process requiring we pry the stories from our heads in whatever manner works for us.

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Sweet Inspiration: On Heroines, Plots . . . and Chocolate!

Chocolate-01Andrea here, I’m just putting the finishing touches a new Lady Arianna mystery, which got me to musing on how a series takes shape in an author’s head . . .

But first allow me set the scene: For those of you who follow the series, you may recall that the last Lady A book, SMOKE AND LIES, took place on Elba amidst international intrigue and deceptions as Napoleon plotted his escape from the tiny island off Italy in order to re-seize the French throne. In A QUESTION OF NUMBERS, Lady Arianna and Lord Saybrook’s latest adventure, (which will be released in early Spring) the action moves to Brussels, a city aswirl in rumors and treachery as all of Europe waits to see if Napoleon will once again march his army into battle against the rest of Europe. (Brussels, you might ask? But honestly, what Regency historical author could possibly resist the chance to feature the Duchess of Richmond’s ball—one of the most famous parties in history—in a scene!)

Smoke and LiesNow, if you had asked me when I first started to envision the first flutters of Lady Arianna if I ever imagined her matching wits with Napoleon, the answer would have been a resounding . . . Well, er, no. (You see, it’s a trick question—but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

So, that’s where Lady A and her friends are now . . . but how did they actually come to life? The process was a little different than the usual way ideas happen for me, so I thought it might be interesting to share, as readers often ask, “How do think up your ideas?” The answer is, sometimes creativity takes some twists and turns.

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So You Want to be a Writer?

Pat here:

I’ve been following a thread in a writer’s group about people who come into writing classes wanting to learn how to be a bestseller. They seem to think all they have to do is take the books Writer typewriterthat are out there, learn the formula, turn them around a little, polish them up, market them, and whammo, they’re millionaires.

Or they could buy a lottery ticket. The odds would be better.

To anyone out there who thinks writing a book is a ticket to fortune—I’ll tell you the secret formula.


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