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Friday, January 27, 2023


Hey gang, good to see ya’all here.  I hope everyone is having a tremendous week so far.  We’ve almost made it to the weekend.  Oh yeah!

Okay, I sat down to write this blog and found my brain was totally blank—and so was my page.  I had no topic to write about. 

WTH?  Now what?

·       Bread

·       Milk

·       Eggs (in spite of the price tag)

·       Contemporary romance

·       Coffee

·       Creamer-caramel

·       Green eyes, brown hair that brushes top of collar

·       Yogurt – strawberry/banana

·       Canned corn (1)

·       6’3”, tall and slim…sort of a runner’s build

·       5’9, red hair, blue eyes, name is Tawnya Blackwell, veterinarian

·       Hero owns a chain of feed stores

·       Tawnya was caught in a fire and has scars on her face and on her heart

·       She is overly sensitive about the scarring; others don’t see them like she does

·       What are his internal challenges?

·       Cornbread

·       Milk – 2%

·       Novella, 40,000 words; part of Delta Jane Series; how does it tie into series?

Okay, I’m betting you got confused when I shifted gears into my grocery list.  Right?

Come on, be honest…you won’t hurt my feelings.  It threw you, didn’t it? You asked yourself what the hell does bread have to do with a blank page, didn’t you?

Yeah, I thought so. 

Why did I do that? 

Simple…I had no topic to write about. I had absolutely nothing. ask...why the hell did I think you would be interested in my shopping list?

I didn’t. Hell, I’m not even interested in my grocery list, so why would you be? 

But I did think you might be interested in my process. 

What process? 

I’m glad you asked.  

My writing process.  No, I don’t intend to put out a book with my grocery list incorporated into it. That would just be silly, wouldn’t it?! 

This technique is just my way of getting the car moving…sort of pushing it downhill until it picks up enough speed to actually travel on its own. 

I’ve always been a proponent of the belief that you can’t steer a parked car. So when there is a story to be written, but I’ve got nuthin’, I push the car downhill by just making my brain come up with something…anything…and my fingers will follow suit and type whatever is coming out of my brain. Starting with the grocery list works for me. 

Before you know it, I have some bullet points that I can extract from my grocery list, reorganize into groupings, and this is the beginning of my outline for the new story.  It will look something like this: 

·       Contemporary romance

·       Novella, 40,000 words; part of Delta Jane Series; how does it tie into series?

·       Hero description:

§  Green eyes, brown hair that brushes top of collar

§  6’3”, tall and slim…sort of a runner’s build

§  Hero owns a chain of feed stores

§  What are his internal challenges?

·       Heroine description:

§  5’9, red hair, blue eyes, name is Tawnya Blackwell, veterinarian

§  Tawnya was caught in a fire and has scars on her face and on her heart

§  She is overly sensitive about the scarring; others don’t see them like she does 

Voile…the car is moving and now I can actually steer that sucker. Once I am this far along, I can generally start filling in blanks, adding what the character of the hero is, what does his family look like, does he have kids, ever been married, does he hate broccoli, was he once dumped by a vicious redhead and is now wary of them? 

My stories almost always start with the characters, so that is generally the easiest place for me to begin. I build the character profile and as thoughts occur to me—like I want the hero and heroine to have a fist fight in the ladies room—I add those bullet points in a separate grouping titled “Chapter One,” which is the beginning of my “story” outline. 

I tend to use the term “outline” loosely. I found if I tried to do the traditionally formatted style of outline, I would get buried in the minutiae of formatting and I simply couldn’t put together anything that resembled a story.  So I just put bullet points down and when I start seeing a pattern or some sort of scene components emerging, I can then start sorting those bullets into groupings.

At this point, I will generally be into the story enough that I’m no longer overwhelmed by the blank page.  I can then begin identifying the character goals and motivations, what their conflicts are, and maybe what I want to accomplish in this story. 

Eventually, I begin to see chapters emerging that are just a collection of related bullet points. For instance, the first chapter might include all the character descriptions, opening story hook, and info on how they meet. 

By now, I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head that it’s hard to get them all down and I will be typing frantically until it’s all dumped out of the brain and onto the paper. 

At this point, if I don’t already have chapters identified with bullet points, I will begin the process of sorting bullets into chapters, identifying the chronological order, and filling in the gaps. 

Once everything is dumped into bullet points, grouped into chapters, and laid out in some logical timeline, the outline is done. I have the major points identified, I have a good idea of who the characters are, and I loosely understand where the story is going.

Now it’s time to write. 

Basically, I start with the opening hook and character descriptions outlined in Chapter One, and I develop the first draft of that chapter. As I go, I will delete bullet points as I work those items into the story. When that process is completed for each chapter, any bullets that have not been worked into the story will either be moved to the beginning of the next chapter, or they will be eliminated if I realize they are no longer required. 

As I work down through the outline, I will often find that I have gathered a significant number of bullet points that are being carried forward. This often results in me adding another chapter in the middle of the book. Sometimes the bullets relate to a great scene that really doesn’t fit in this book…those items might be copied into another file and saved for another story down the road. 

At the end, I ALWAYS have a lot of leftover bullet points. Again, I go back and incorporate them if they are needed, eliminate them if they are not, or save them for use in another story. 

Voile…a book that began with bread.  And while I’m at it…I must admit that the bread did double-duty today.  Because I had nothing when I sat down to write this blog, so this is the blog that started with bread. Just like baking a loaf of bread, you have to start somewhere by pulling out the mixing bowl (push the car downhill with your grocery list), mixing the ingredients (capture bullet points and apply some sort of order), letting it rise (expand into a story outline), and baking it (write the damn story). 

And you thought there couldn’t possibly be a connection between writing a book and a loaf of bread. 

Oh, silly you! 

Well, that’s my story, unexpected and unconventional, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!

Love ya,

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  1. I actually love that process and I'm still chuckling at "His internal conflict: cornbread" Because who can't have internal conflict over that...Snerk! As you know I start similar - brainstormer - but I get lost in the bullet points and end up as more of a pantser. I need to keep trying the bullet points. I'd end up with less editing in the end if I did!! But I'd love to read this story when you're done!!

    1. It's an ongoing process. Bulleting, organizing, writing, shifting. But we do have to allow for those times when our characters go hog-wild and do something we hadn't anticipated. I tend to have very badly behaved characters. :)

  2. Awesome blog, Kayce!

  3. Thank you. It sure didn't start out that way. LOL

  4. I love reading about other authors' processes, since each of us has a different technique. The important thing is that we find one that works for us -- and you have. Congratulations! I'm looking forward to reading the finished product.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda. Always great to hear from you! Hugs.