A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Creative Process

Many artists would consider it heaven to practice their particular talent and have an outlet waiting to take their product off their hands and sell it for them. The money they’d receive would make it possible to live a comfortable life. They would be able to purchase more material or equipment to continue their art. No one would pressure them to work faster than they desired and they had no responsibility to market and promote. Heavenly, for sure.

As an author for more years than I care to admit, the reality—from a writer’s perspective—is really more like this:

 –     Get a super idea for a book with the perfect hero(ine) and unique setting.
 –     Tell your friends/co-authors you are going to write said book. They ask you for the working title.
 –      You sit down and create a list with the perfect key words for your title (you do know about meta data right?).
 –      Take your title and go to Zon to research how often it’s been used in your particular genre. Find it 46 times and discover the latest title was a bestseller last month. Protecting your creative spirit, you look for less overused titles and keep researching. Two pages of scratched out titles later, you decide the heck with it and go back to the first title, figuring your publisher/agent will change it anyway.
 –      Sit down to write the book and research a lot as you go. Part of the art you thrive on is discovering everything is not smooth sailing, and your characters or research take the story in unexpected directions (ie. dead ends). You throw out a few chapters, add a new secondary character or antagonist, make some plot notes to take you to the end, and march on.
 –      If you are already a published author, this is where distractions will come into play. Your publisher wants revisions on the last book you submitted or has asked that you update your website, Facebook header, Twitter header, and/or blog to reflect the upcoming book. Oh, and have you submitted the necessary things for your blog tour/book signing/interview?
 –      During a writing break, you check on your books that you put up on retail sites after getting backlist rights reverted and creating a company to handle the process. Darn, still not enough sales to worry about having to pay quarterly taxes.
 –      You discover the indie books, though, have actually sold more copies than you imagined. Is a book/series ready to take off? Should you write more in that series and hold off on the next book to your agent/publisher? Can you?
 –      Ads…should I be doing ads to keep the momentum rolling on Facebook, Twitter, Bookbub (who won’t take your ad without a gazillion reviews), or the dozens of sites that advertise they will help market your book? Oh, yeah, about getting more reviews….
 –      Indecisive, so go back to writing. Critique partner calls and asks what $wag are you taking to the next convention (bookmarks, trinkets with your logo, goodies attached to business cards, cups, mugs, screen cleaners, nail files). You set out to order some and go through the process of wondering if any of it does any good. Your sales don’t seem to skyrocket after the piles of expensive items disappear into conference bags and goody rooms. Your friends claim it is helping in name recognition. Sure. Right.
 –      You continue the process above until the current book is done. You send it off to your agent, while guiltily thinking you should be putting it out via your indie company.
 –      Agent suggests you change the title and asks for revisions before she/he sends it off.
 –      Sigh. The cycle goes on with unexpected variations every day.

What part of the creative process do you find rewarding, or fun, or a pain in the backside?

Sandy loves the creative process with all its quirks. Her current books are action-adventure, suspense, with humor, sexy characters, and team work. She has a new book at her agents, and is managing backlist titles, in particular a historical paranormal romance series (written with her sister) which takes place in Salem, the perfect read to get ready for Halloween.


Elise Warner said...

Loved the blog, Sandy. Your opening "dream sequence," in particular. And the list of hazards we encounter made me smile--I have a weird sense of humor. My top problem right now is many publishers seemed to have upped the word count they want and I have to decide if I can add another 4,000 words without messing up the book.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Perfect description of a day in the life of a writer! :) And no wonder I feel so tired at the end of the day. My favorite part is usually writing the first few chapters of a new project. Anything is possible, and I'm getting to know my characters. I also enjoy setting up my writing schedule for a project (yeah, I'm a nerd that way). But organizing the swag/promo/submissions? Not my favorites. ;)

Sandy Parks said...

Elise- Funny that we went through a time when everything was too long and we had to make it shorter. Now that we're trained to write shorter, they want things longer. Not a huge problem for me as I usually write longer, but going shorter is a killer.

Sandy Parks said...

Yep Ann Marie, I could do without a lot of the promo stuff. Not my favorite thing and also not my forte.

jean harrington said...

Sandy to answer your question, what do I find rewarding, fun and a pain about writing: rewarding--that I can actually pull off . . . well something creative; fun--writing sassy dialogue (read heroine says stuff I'm too chicken to voice in real life); pain in the backside--the promotional side of the business.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Great post, Sandy. Most of my novels are now independently published -- I really like the control. That means I get to fool around with the covers. That's turning into one of my favourite creative outlets. You know, when it doesn't drive me to distraction.

Rita said...

Wonderful post! I am ever sooo happy when I can get the words on the page the way I want them. I hate when it takes me three hours to figure out how to do something on the computer. I'm a slow learner. Sigh.

Sandy Parks said...

RIta- The computer eats up more of my time than I care to admit. If I did the same thing on it everyday, perhaps it would be easier, but some days I'm a designer, other days a publisher, then others simply pecking away using Word.

Sandy Parks said...

Marcelle- I do love the control that goes with being your own boss. However, I'm a slow writer and it means spreading yourself into more jobs necessary to maintain your presence. Distractions kill me. Can we just get another 8 hours in the day. lol

Julie Moffett said...

Great post! I love it. It is totally my life. :)

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