Do you have a writing routine?
My routine is random as I find time. I read Stephen King’s On Writing when it was first published and my big take away is that there’s no magic talent or power that makes you a great writer or gets you published. It takes effort and work. Most importantly, it takes AIS (ass in seat), putting in the time and work it takes to learn your craft and finish what you start. Every book, by every author is written one word at a time. If I can do it, so can anyone:)
The short answer is 3 years. No, I wasn’t writing and re-writing continuously, but rather exploring the story in spurts. Originally, the main character was male with the setting in London, but something about it didn’t feel right. I then took a friend’s advice and created a strong female character, Brina, to be the care giver.
Anyone familiar with the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smokey Mountain National Park area knows there are thousands of nooks with houses tucked away and miles distant gaps between neighbors. After a weekend hiking trip among those trails, I decided it would be a great place for my story.
Once the manuscript was complete, I began a long process of edits and rewrites adding in subplots and making sure there were subtle clues in Edward’s behavior as to his true nature. I also read through the novel multiple times from each character’s POV to make sure their inner motivations were laced through their actions and dialogue.
I had always wanted to write a novel, completing Perfect Copy was my exercise to prove I had the staying power to do it.
Just before I began writing Perfect Copy, I worked with a local broadcast station and had produced numerous feature stories on medical research, specifically gene replacement therapy. I was able to tour labs with researchers at UNC Medical Center and talk with them about how the science worked and what they were trying to accomplish.
About that same time, the National Institutes of Health National Human Genome Research Institute announced the mapping of the human genome. This opened up controversy as to what people and institutions would do if they could map each person’s genome and know with certainty if they had markers for particular diseases. Duke University also held several public seminars on the Human Genome Project and what it meant for our future.
As a writer, this was all I needed to play the “what if” game. What if we could re-map the human genome and take away the markers for cancer, diabetes and the thousands of other fatal diseases that have no cure? Of course, I had to add a self-centric millionaire and a researcher willing to break the law in order to build a reality where such mapping is illegal and people can be “ordered” from a menu of traits.
I’ve tried working with outlines, but found it took the fun out of writing. Rather, I play out scenes in my mind and then commit them to paper. Often, before I leave off writing for the day, I’ll write a note as to where the characters and story should continue, but not much further than that.
For me, I also have to kill my inner critic so that I can write without distraction. I prefer to do my creative right-brain writing early mornings. My inner critic is still sleeping and by the time he wakes up, I’m already in a zone and not listening:)
I love writing the first draft. It could be a short story, a novel or a script. I love projects when they’re new and fresh with potential. I get lost in the story and at times it feels as though one side of my brain is reading the novel the other side of my brain is writing. It’s hard to explain, but I think writing uses so much of our senses, emotions and logic, that it exercises the whole brain. I find the process energizing.
As I write, I like to place myself in my character’s lives and imagine the actions and reactions that make sense. It’s like method acting, but playing it out on paper.
I always begin with the first page and write to the last. Although I know what the ending will be, I don’t always know how I’ll get there. I like having freedom to explore subplots and character depth as I’m writing.
About Judie Gaines:
Judith Gaines writes suspense fiction, with debut novel Perfect
Copy recently holding the #1 Best Seller position on Smashwords
Suspense/Thriller list and as high as #16 in Best Selling Fiction.
Two new novels are due to release in 2011 focused on the
underworld commodity of priceless stolen art. Anatomy of a Lie
features a rather lucky, unlucky reporter investigating an
international art scandal. WIRED jets from Paris to snow-bound
Chicago in search of a priceless Van Gogh which suddenly
surfaces after more than 35 years.