My Writing Process Blog Tour
What are you working on?
At the moment, a few things, it’s like juggling cats, or herding plates, or something... I’ve just sent back content edits to my editor at Love Lane Books on And Then That Happened. Just after that I sent Love Lane Books a revised manuscript for Guardian Angel after I’d given it a good self-edit. I’m over half way through the first draft of book 2 in the new Kev Friends Perfect series, which is a spin off from the Best Friends Perfect series, from Kev’s point of view. He’s a cross dressing teenager growing up in a small village outside Salisbury in the late nineties, so there’s plenty of things for him to work through.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I’m writing gay romance *as a gay man* - and I think I tend to inadvertently put more of an emphasis on the *gay* element, as in trying to show realistic, well rounded gay men characters, and their friends, based on knowing quite a few gay men in real life. Don’t get me wrong, I love a happily ever after as much as the next reader and author, and my stories are all romances, about men meeting men, keeping men, or being in a long term relationship. I also like a bit of camp and humour and I like to put that in my writing too, as that reflects my personality. I also don’t write explicit sex in my stories, as I don’t like to read it, and believe you can show love and romance in a romance story, in many other ways than only lots of bonking. I don’t quite fade to black, there’s more on this on this blog.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I do because I write what I know in terms of showing real gay men, their loves, their lives and their friends. I write what comes to me.
How does your writing process work?
It has been a bit of a work in progress, but since doing Nanowrimo in November 2013 and writing more stories in 2014 I think I’ve finessed it.
- Assuming I have an idea – and they’re never backward at coming forward. Talking about where I get my ideas is a whole post in itself.
- I will write (pencil and paper) some character biogs: age, physical appearance, job, where they live, what they like, they don’t like, any possessions that will tell me about that character, any back story that shows me why they’re like they are.
- Then I use post it notes to plan scene by scene 12 post it scenes to a piece of A4, what will happen. Sometimes the post it notes can have lines of dialogue I know the characters will say, other times it may only have a summary of what happens.
- I plot the novel from start to finish. If I have more than 4-5 characters I will do a separate character arc for each one, and check back with that as I’m post it note plotting. I’ve only had to do that for one story so far as it had 14 characters.
- I normally run out of steam approaching the end, so sometimes leave the complete ending a bit open, and will plot that again/in more detail once I’ve written up to that point.
- Then I turn on my laptop, have the character biogs on the left, have the post it notes to the right, and I write. Some post it note scenes end up as a few lines of dialogue, others are 400-1000 words on the typed page, it all depends on what’s on the post it note.
- I write from start to finish, without going back to tinker and edit. If I get stuck I write [this bit is rubbish/ they need to have an argument about x and y needs to win and do z] and I’ll come back and fill that in later in self-edits.
- I like to stay with the story while I’m writing, so I try to write every day, when real life permits, and write right through to the end.
- Once I have a first draft I’ll leave that untouched for at least a month.
- I then go through the document and using the comment boxes feature in Word, write notes to myself [this bit is rubbish/ x needs to be really happy here, not holding back/ this bit needs to be cut] whatever.
- I go through all these comments, and hand write an overall list of: themes broad issues I need to fix, and work through the manuscript fixing them one at a time.
- Then I send it to beta readers.
- Back from beta readers I make another load of amends, using the crowd sourcing method of beta readers’ comments.
- Then one read through for consistency issues that come up with other minor tinkering, and then it’s submitted to a publisher.
So that's my quite processey writing process!
How was that for you? Authors, does this differ wildly from what you do? Readers, are you surprised at the process part?
I’d love to hear from you.
Liam Livings xx