Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Eighth Deadly Sin - Dawn McClure

Posted without comment since my only comments would be "wow" and "amen." Please welcome Dawn McClure, author of Azazel, Asmodeus, Heaven Sent, and Samael.

During an interview I had a while back I was asked what my writing process was like. Of course I couldn't put LOL as my response, but that's exactly what I did...I laughed out loud. Then I explained that I don't have a writing process, which, when admitted, reads like the eighth deadly sin. For my novella Azazel, the story hit me like a brick thrown from a cannon. WHAM! I knew the story, I knew the characters, and I simply sat down and wrote it. For my novel Asmodeus, I wrote a chapter a day and stumbled my way through the first draft. It wasn't until my second round of edits that it resembled an actual story. Heaven Sent was much like Asmodeus, and Samael...don't get me started. It only took me a month to write the first draft...and then two months to revise it.

With my next book I plan on doing a little research first. I’ve decided to go the 'worksheet' route. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, I have a worksheet for character development, scene descriptions, GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), a conflict grid (can't have too much conflict), a relationship toolbox (that just helps you figure out why the two main characters should fall in love), and my Fast Draft and Revision Hell worksheets. Yes, I'm still trying to find my process, but I'm afraid I've already found it - every book is different. I've listened to other writers talk about their process, and each and every one has a different way of completing their book (though most seem to have a handle on their own individual process). Through the grapevine I've heard that Nora (who doesn't need a last name) writes only dialogue in her first draft, which she so sweetly calls her POS (piece of shit, for you innocents out there). It (supposedly) takes her three drafts and then she has a completed novel. I wish. Sometimes I only need two drafts, maybe three. Other times...I actually lose count. I’ve begun to wonder, are there other authors out there like me?

Am I actually committing the eighth deadly sin?

But even if I do come up with my own handy-dandy process, would it be a perfect fit for another writer? Probably not. If I thought there was a perfect writing process out there, I'd try out Nora's, since she is the most prolific romance author to date. But writing only dialogue for the first draft wouldn't suit me. I already know this, so why waste my time? There is no magic pill...quite unfortunate...so I'll just muddle along until I find my own brand of genius when it comes to the writing process.

What I can do is give you a few ideas for reading material that may help you find your own process. Stephen King wrote a wonderful book, ON WRITING, that chronicles his writing endeavors. He talks about rejection and how he remained motivated through those hard times. In JR Ward’s book, THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE, she talks about her own writing process (which is incredible, by the way). My personal favorite craft book is Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This book takes you by the hand and guides you through the process of coming up with a solid plot, creating engaging characters and writing scenes that will keep your story flowing.

I’ll leave you with a quote. Knowing is not enough; you must apply. Willing is not enough; you must do. ~Goethe

Thanks to Dawn for blogging with us at Five Scribes today. Leave a comment with your process (if you have one!), and we'll draw two lucky winners - one will get a copy of Asmodeus in print and another will get a wallop of new and gently used books I'm culling from my bookshelf (book-a-palooza!).

20 comments:

Margay said...

Thanks for the book suggestions to motivate us writers. I have the Stephen King book (I might have to read it again), but will have to check out the others.
Margay

Ann said...

Thank you Dawn and KL for a wonderful post!

I actually blogged about my writing process earlier this month:

http://tiny.cc/SvlLG

I *just* bought GMC a week ago, since I'd been hearing wonderful things about it for ages. It occurred to me that I really ought to own it.

I think process is such an interesting thing because it can be so different for writers. The mind works in so many wonderful ways!

Boone Brux said...

Ah, that crazy process question. It plagues me every step of the way. I stay awake at night wondering what would more productive and what I would actually do. Kind of like an exercise program. Will I use an expensive membership to the gym, or would I be more apt to just run up and down my steps 75 times. I've yet to find the answer, for me, to this question. *heavy sigh*

Love the blog. I've got a thing for Asmodeus. I used him in a novella that I wrote. I need to read your ;)

Boone Brux

Beth Caudill said...

My process is to write the story from start to finish. Go back and revise everything (usually means I'm rewriting whole paragraphs and pages.)

Read it again and then send to a friend. Read my friends comments and fix or not as I feel it affects the story. Then I'm done and submit. I get bored if I do too much with a story.

If it gets accepted, by the time edits come back...it feels fresh. So I don't mind another round or two of edits.

beth@bethcaudill.net

Angelia Almos said...

I'm not sure if I have a process. Much like you, I think I am trying to find my process. I hadn't heard that about Ms. Nora - interesting. Almost like she writes a script first and then goes from there. I do know I am a pantser for the most part, but I like and need character worksheets so I can remember all that background stuff. LOL I also will write out small synopsis or outlines if I get a flash of the overall plot or sections and I'm worried about losing it before I get to it. In my first draft I do a lot of interior monologue (that often gets cut out in following drafts) which is often me telling myself what they are thinking, feeling, and remembering. The high action scenes tend to be written much more like a script with just basic action and dialogue.

I figure I'll just keep writing and will try this process or that process here and there to see what works best for me as I go. It would be nice if we all knew our exact process from the get go. But I figure it is a learning process much the same as craft.

Donnell said...

Fantastic post, Dawn and KL. Wow, I love that your learning and renewing your processes with every post, and I love the quote by Goethe! As I Scribe, I'm disqualifying myself from the drawing, but I'll make a note to pick up your books. They certainly look intriguing.

Lisa Kessler said...

Great book suggestions! Love them! :)

As for my writing process, it usually starts with an idea, then a playlist of inspiration music germinates, and then I just sit and write. I'm a total pantser so I can't use worksheets and plotting guides. I just let the characters take off and I'm often surprised where we end up! LOL

I do usually know the ending before I start. How I get there is always the mystery... :)

Great Blog Dawn!

Lisa :)

Dawn McClure said...

Margay ~ You're welcome! I read King's book a while ago. I need to read it again as well. GMC is a great book.

Ann ~ You'll love the book!

Boone ~ Productive. The word can mean so many things to each individual. Some authors write a book a year and call it good, others drive out 3 or 5. I think as long as you're writing, you're being productive. Everyone has their own pace. :)

Beth ~ Sounds like you have your process down! Sweet!

Angelia ~ I'm a pantser, too. A pantser without a process...but somehow it works. :)

Donnell ~ I adore quotes. I have them on my writing desk, on my website...keeps me motivated!

Lisa ~ Thanks! I think it's great that you know the ending before you start. That surely has to make it easier. :)

katsrus said...

I don't write. I am a reader. I think it is interesting to listen to differant author writing process. Love differant quotes too. Happy New Year everyone.
Sue Brandes

Dawn McClure said...

Happy New Year, Sue. :)

Mary Marvella said...

I'm with Dawn, each book is different! I don't do a lot of plotting ahead ever!

Leslie Ann said...

Dawn,
Way too funny. Thanks KL for bringing to us.

I don't have a set method either and I'm still trying. Character charts, which I like, but can be too restricting if you let them. GMC charts, all the ones you mentioned.

I think I just have to write, puke out that first draft, look at it warily and revise, send to critique group with questions, and revise again.

Some method, huh?

Happy New Year to all,
~LA

Kimberley said...

I am not blessed with the writing gene but I was overly endowed with the reading gene. I've never met a book I didn't like! LOL

I love to hear about the process an author goes thru to capture these magical things we call books. I am in awe of anyone who can do this. I am eternally grateful for those who write because they bring so much entertainment and joy to my life.

I am a bookaholic with no plans to enter rehab!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Dawn McClure said...

Mary ~ It's good to know there are other pantsers out there. lol

Leslie ~ I think you just described my writing process. I always seem to puke out that first draft. Check out Candace Haven's Fast Draft method. You can just go to her website to find out about it. She's great motivation, and in fact I wrote my first book while taking her workshop.

Kimberely ~ Happy New Year! I just finished reading Strike Zone by Kate Angell. If you like bad boys and a fun, sexy read, check her series out. You can't go wrong with Kate. :)

SiNn said...

im not a writer as far as published or anything if i get an idea i write and write and write till its on paper or untill a new one forms ty for the tips and how to be better at the craft will deff be taking it all in to consideration

Laurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurelwanrow said...

Thanks, Dawn. I like hearing how others do it and have listened eagerly to Nora and other writers on the RWA CD chats. From there I've heard repeatedly Dixon's GMC is the book to have - You've prompted me to put it on my to-do list.

My process is loose, but I have finished a number of mss, so it works for me. The ideas stew, I make notes in my moleskin until I pick one and write. Somewhere a few chapters in, I realize I need more direction and stop to document the turning points, arcs and plot. I have attended, listened to or read workshops and books by Michael Hauge and Christopher Vogler and use them for my plans. Then I write some more.
Laurel

Donna said...

I am a reader and a lucky one in that I can read the first drafts of my favorite paranormal author. She allows me to give my opinion and at times has used it. :o)

I enjoy seeing the progress as she sends me another chapter of her book and then to see it all come together as she edits.

Great post Dawn!

Audra Harders said...

Chiming in way late, but welcome to the Scribes, Dawn! Great post making me think. How do I write a book?

I hate to say it, but I do a lot of dialogue when I"m stuck. It's easy for me to a create conversation and go back to fill in the gaps. If I try doing description or narrative first, I lose all focus of speaking.

I truly bow to those who can produce how-to books which other writers can use. I'm with you, Dawn. My process is different for each book.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Bonnie Jean said...

Hi Dawn! *waves* Thanks for sharing your process and let me just say, however you do it - it WORKS. You are one of my fav paranormal authors (I know I say that all the time LOL)
I love both the books you mention, my process is very goofy - my stories come in bits and pieces of description, dialog etc. and I write as I get them. Its very disorganized and this year I plan on working on my methods :D
You inspire me!!