GUEST POST FROM R.L. GRIFFIN
Hi everyone. I am so honored to do this guest post, because like all of you I’m a reader. I love reading other author’s tidbits on writing, life or whatever. I’ve been busy for the past year writing By A Thread, Tension and Seamless and I was asked to write a post about writing. So here it goes.
How I get in the writing zone…
I work on my lap top while listening to Spotify, either one of my playlists or a particular artist that is speaking to me. I have my drink next to me, while I sit in a quiet room. I’m not picky about the drink, but it’s usually red wine or coffee if it’s early. The room is free from distractions and I can really focus on what my characters are telling me, where the story is going. I only take breaks to refill my cup or go to the bathroom. This is the perfect place to get my head in the right space to write, for hours…and this never fucking happens.
I rarely get a chance to sit down for hours and write. If I do it’s from 8:30 pm through 3:00 am after my son goes to sleep. Here is the reality of how I wrote the BaT series:
First, I drive around a lot for my job and I dictate ideas to myself while driving. I come up with some really good ideas while I’m on the road. I really let me mind free to think about everything. Then when I get near a computer and have time, it could be weeks later, I listen to the all the messages and type them in my notes section on my iPad or Mac. A story usually starts from just one idea, not necessary the end or the beginning, it varies, but the ideas pour out of me after I allow myself to indulge in their creation.
Second, I email myself “scenes.” The basic idea of a chapter. Once I have the basic idea of the book I put all the emails together into a first draft. It’s choppy and horrible, but the ideas are in there. I love the Ernest Hemingway quote that “The first draft of everything is shit.” This is accurate, if anyone tells you differently they lie.
Third, I stay up all night and link these ideas together and make the story complete. I either get really excited or throw it in the trash.
Fourth, I keep writing scenes on my iPad. I literally wrote BaT on my iPad when I travelled to Aspen last year and during the holidays. I also write when my kid is playing at Monkey Joes. I wrote a fantastic chapter in Seamless while I watched my son, niece and nephew play. What can I say? When inspiration strikes, go with it.
The test of whether an idea for a book is any good is having my parents read this horrid first draft. If they okay the idea of the story, I go back to work. This includes many sleepless nights and not watching the TV I want to or reading the books I want to. It also includes writing during my lunch break instead of going to the gym. I’ve gained 20 pounds since writing this fucking series. I had to buy new jeans, people. NEW JEANS!!! I try to keep working out, but when I’m in my zone, I just go with it.
Fifth, I print it out. There is something about seeing the words in print that helps you figure out what is missing. I fill in the funny parts of my books. This is typically the last thing I do, because the story is not funny, but the characters are so I add in the parts of the books that really allow the characters to laugh. If you can’t laugh, you are not living. Even when shit is hard, find something to laugh it. It makes things seem a little better. My characters always have that bit of humor in them.
Sixth, my parents re-read. My mom is my toughest critic, which is what you need. Someone who will read what you wrote and tell you honestly if its shit. If she says its shit, then it is. I go with that and make it better.
My kick ass editor, Erin Roth, makes my words better and clearer. She is really good at making me clarify words, that I understand, but my readers may not.
I read it again. Then I’m fucking tired of reading it and want someone else to read it, which usually ends in a release date. I give books away to my BaT ladies and feel good about myself for a little while and then I start emailing myself ideas for another book that is invading my brain. It’s kind of psychotic. Yep, I’m aware.
In closing, I’ll quote the late, great Mr. Hemingway again. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” This is one of my favorite quotes, because it truly is how I feel. I have all these voices in my head that I just have to let out, it can be in the car, in the shower or at an indoor playground. I just have to let myself bleed.
Guest Post Courtesy of InkSlinger PR