Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Blogger, Robin Wells


I’m pleased to introduce author Robin Wells as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress as she stops on her blog tour.

Robin’s current release is STILL THE ONE. Thanks to her, Anna and the Hachette Book Group, I have five copies to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines.

Robin has stopped by today to talk about what her writing process is like.

 
It all starts with an idea. Anything can spur it -- a newspaper article, a snippet of overhear conversation, a billboard, a place I drive past, a song on the radio, a Sunday sermon, a friend’s remark....

The idea for Still the One came to me as I was writing the book Between the Sheets. Katie was the best friend of the heroine in Between the Sheets, and she just grew on me. She owned the hair salon in Chartreuse, Louisiana, and her husband was in Iraq. It wasn’t a part of that story, but in the back of my mind, I knew that Katie’s husband wouldn’t make it back.  

Once an idea captures me, I start playing around with it, developing the character, asking myself what else could happen, how the character would react, what the character would feel and why. For me, it’s all about the characters.
 

The actual beginning-a-book process is messy and disorganized at first. I just sit down and write down ideas --- some of which I’ll keep, some of which I’ll throw out--- and play around with opening scenes. After a while, it starts to coalesce into a story.
 

I write the first three chapters, then stop and write a five-to-ten page synopsis of the book. The synopsis is my road map, although I’ve been known to take major detours from it.
 
I usually write in the mornings-- most often in my home office, but sometimes at coffee shops or the library. I usually write on my laptop, but sometimes I’ll write in longhand in bed or in the bathtub. There’s something freeing about that-- it seems like it’s not really writing, so it’s easier to play around with the story. 

During a first draft, I’ll sort of clean up the copy as I go--I start out each morning by re-reading and fixing what I wrote the day before-- but I try to save major changes for what I call my surgical draft. After I finish the book, I’ll go back through and do a big, bloody revision, where I cut things out and put new things in and move stuff around. After that, I’ll go through it maybe five or six more times before I show it to someone else.  If I have time, my husband reads it.  If I’m fighting a deadline, I send it right to my editor.

How do you research a story like this?
 

The internet is the most wonderful research tool  ever invented. You can find out anything you want to know on the internet--- or at least find the names of books and people that have the information you need. 

What do you hope readers take away from this book?
 

I hope they take away the importance of forgiveness-- of others, and of themselves. I also hope they take away an increased sensitivity to how everyone’s motivations and perceptions are colored by their personal histories. If we knew each other’s backstories, we would judge each other a lot less harshly.
  

Most of all, I hope this book gives readers a fresh appreciation for the relationships in their lives and leaves them with a renewed sense of hope. To read an excerpt or download a list of discussion questions, visit my website at robinwells.com. 

Robin, thanks so much for guest blogging today. It’s always interesting to find out an author’s writing process and how they go about researching for their writing.

Now for the giveaway, I have five copies of STILL THE ONE to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The deadline for entering the giveaway is Tuesday, May 18. To enter, send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com) with “WIN STILL THE ONE” in the subject line and include your name and address in the body of the e-mail.

Here’s a brief synopsis of STILL THE ONE: “After Katie Charmaine's husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she's always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows up in town . . . with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn't felt in years. But he's in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to each other?”



14 comments:

  1. I'm intrigued by this book. Thanks for hosting the interview.

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  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Robin.

    Robin - It sounds as though you and I have very similar writing habits. I'll have to learn from some of your strategies : ). I wish you the best with Still the One.

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  3. I like your idea of writing a 5-10 page synopsis early on in the story. I find that rough outlines, or extended notes always help to keep the story in focus and going in the right direction.

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  4. That sounds like an awesome book!


    And, Mason, there is something for you on my blog.

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  5. I always love hearing about other people's writing processes. I think it's really interesting that Robin writes a few chapters and then writes a detailed synopsis. So she has both the pantster approach *and* the outlining one! Very cool.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  6. Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by. Rayna, thanks for the award. Very sweet of you.

    Robin, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the writing process.

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  7. I love hearing how other writers write. I'm still finding my way in the fiction genre after writing nonfiction for 30+ years. It makes sense to write a synopsis after writing a bit first.
    Karen

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  8. I like how she talks about her writing process. I am always curious as to the method in writing a book.

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  9. I hate writing the synopsis, but at this stage of my career, I go to contract on a synopsis and sample chapters, so it's a necessity as well as writing tool. It can take me as long to write the first three chapters and the synopsis as it does to write the rest of the book because beginnings are so slow.

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  10. Forgiveness - that's a wonderful thing!

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  11. You're right, L. Diane-- forgiveness is a wonderful thing! It's very freeing. In this book, I wanted to write about how holding on to anger or hurt punishes the one who holds the grudge--- and I also wanted to write about the person we find the hardest to forgive is often ourselves.

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  12. I always love hearing other writers talk about their creative process. I'm intrigued with the idea of writing longhand sometimes.

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  13. I'm always fascinated by how other writers work, too. My writer friends and I talk about it all the time. It's funny, but every book seems to have its own rhythm.

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  14. thanks for the giveaway.
    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.