My Writing Process blog relay!

Thank you, super-nice and extremely talented Sonali Dev, for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process blog tour! I really enjoyed reading about Sonali’s simple chaos process, probably because I can relate so well! I will address why I relate so well when I get to Question 4, below…

What am I working on?

As is usual for me, I am working on a number of different projects at once. I am in the final stages of preparing to release my first novel, Hijacked, on June 2. It will be available on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats. (!!!) Meanwhile, I am doing a quick run-through of my third novel, Opal’s Jubilee, before I send it to my editor, Pam Berehulke of Bulletproof Editing. Then there will be the flurry of technical work to get both that and my second novel, Unholy Bonds, ready for release over the next few weeks.

In terms of new work, I’m working on a Christmas novella for late fall release—and then it’ll be time for a new novel. Ideas are still rolling around in my head for that one. Can’t wait. I love the writing; not quite so much the (very necessary) technical end, so it will be fun to get back to the creative process!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. My stories have suspense and romance and relationships and twists, and, like Sonali’s books, they tackle difficult issues. What makes mine different? I think it comes down to voice. Each author takes their characters on a unique journey; the unique journey is informed by who the author has become over their own lifetime. Therefore, my characters and their situations tend to be contemplatives thrown into dire situations which challenge everything they believe about themselves. While my books do not fall into the Inspirational genre, the characters do wrestle with their assumptions regarding God. You’ve probably figured out by now that you won’t be reading hot sex scenes in my books—but the stories are gripping and poignant, and don’t always go where you expect.

Why do I write what I do?

This is both the easiest and most difficult question to answer. Like Stephen King, I write to get the nightmares out of my head. Now, my nightmares are much different than his; ergo, my books are not horror novels! But the idea is the same. I can allow my characters to be what I am not, and am inspired by them. They surprise me when I put them into situations that would steal my breath. They display courage that I want to appropriate for myself. They struggle, make mistakes, and eventually earn a happy ending. Life doesn’t always provide those, so if I can write one, then maybe I can transform reality for both myself and the reader, if only for the moment. I’ve been touched and encouraged and uplifted by so many authors over the years, and in unexpected genres. I hope I can do the same for readers.

How does your writing process work?

This where I identify most with Sonali! Chaos! Yes. All of my books begin with a character who springs pretty much fully formed into my mind. Hijacked was born as I preflighted Cessnas for early morning traffic flights–and wondered what if…? For being in the middle of the city, the airport is a very lonely place at oh-dark-thirty. Once the notion took root, it wouldn’t let go. Unholy Bonds sprouted from articles I read about South Africa under Nelson Mandela and the process of Restorative Justice. I was fascinated. What if…? Opal’s Jubilee blossomed from the controversial pardons or paroles granted by then-Governor Ernie Fletcher of several women in Kentucky who had killed their abusers. But what if…?

From there, I begin writing and discover more about the characters and their circumstances. I write linearly, which means that while I often know where I’m going, I may not know how to get there. It would likely be a lot easier if I could write the scene where I intend to go, then fill in, but my brain balks at the notion. This is the source of whatever writer’s block I encounter. I am unable to create a detailed outline, but happened upon a class called The Hero’s Journey for Heroines, taught by Laurie Schnebly Campbell and based on The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock. This process has helped me create a loose outline that keeps me on track yet allows for creative freedom.

Mostly I sit at the computer and type, mutter under my breath, delete, then type something else until I get it sorta right. It looks boring from the outside, but I am so focused that I often zone out and notice very little about my surroundings. If I get stuck, the best thing for me is to go outside and do something physical. When do I write? Any time of the day or night in snatches of five minutes to hours (when I’m lucky). And where? Anywhere. Literally. Thank God I don’t need silence. I do, however, need to avoid conversation. I cannot switch those gears quickly, which drives my husband to distraction.

Since writing is solitary yet community-based, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my local writing cheerleaders: Louisville Romance Writers, and critique partners Sandy Loyd and Caroline Fyffe. They, along with many other writing friends, keep me going when I get discouraged.

Who’s up next week on the My Writing Process blog tour?

Contemporary romance writers Jacqueline Floyd and Nan Dixon, both of whom I met last year as co-finalists in Romance Writers of America’s® 2013 Golden Heart® contest. Both are wonderful people, close to publication, and great fun! Also, Erin McCole-Cupp, a fellow member of Catholic Writers Guild, who just released Don’t You Forget About Me, a cozy mystery featuring a tomato-pie-loving heroine. Please be sure to visit them next Monday, June 2!

Again, thanks, Sonali, for the chance to share in the My Writing Process blog tour!

About Leslie

Leslie gives voice to characters who struggle to find healing for their brokenness – and discover unconventional solutions to life’s twists. Her work includes novels Hijacked, Unholy Bonds, and Opal's Jubilee, and novellas Christmas Hope and Christmas Grace.
This entry was posted in Catholic Writers Guild, Creative Process, Creativity, Golden Heart, gratitude, Leslie Lynch, Romance Writers of America, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to My Writing Process blog relay!

  1. Jackie floyd says:

    Great job, Leslie! It makes me realize just how much the process differs for each writer. Your process sounds so much like you: thoughtful, focused, and interested in tackling complicated issues. Congratulations on the release of Hijacked!

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      It’s great fun to read about how we approach writing differently! Sonali and my friend, YA author Katie McGarry, both listen to specific songs as they write. I can’t do it. Some people churn out words; again, I can do it sometimes, and maybe just need to train myself to do it, but that’s a stretch for me. Not that it’s a bad stretch! I can’t wait to learn about your process next week! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Sonali Dev says:

    Hi Leslie! So wonderful to read your process. And I love that your characters question and define, refine their belief system. I cannot wait to read Hijacked *next week*! So exciting!! All the very best!

  3. piperhuguley says:

    A great post. All of your books sound wonderful and I can’t wait to read them. And you even named some craft books I didn’t know about–yippee!! Keep on going Leslie and best of luck to you, my fellow Lucky!

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      Thanks so much, Piper! When does The Preacher’s Promise come out??? I’m waiting with bated breath to read the REST of it, since it did so well on the Amazon breakout novel contest! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck to you, too, my fellow Lucky!

      Actually, Luckies! Sonali and Jackie are also members of the 2013 GH (R) finalists, The Lucky 13s!

      • piperhuguley says:

        Lol! It’s still in the contest for two more weeks. My PW review was decent, not necessarily glowing, but nothing like the poor folks that got ripped to shreds, yikes! It’s coming out on July 31 and I may have questions about your indie-pub process! Best of luck to you too! I’m sure I’m going to love Hijacked!

  4. Sharon Wray says:

    I just love learning about other writers’ processes (especially other Lucky 13s!) and this is a wonderful post. I admire writers who can actively work on more than one project at a time. I have so much chaos going on in my mind with one book, I can’t imagine handling two or three.
    I can’t wait to read Hijacked. 🙂

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      Sharon, I think that’s because my mind IS chaotic! Not necessarily a good thing! I typically read anywhere from two to six books at a time, often a mix of fiction and nonfiction, on top of the writing. Sometimes I do wish I could slow down a bit…! Thanks for stopping by, and for your good wishes!

  5. Sandra Owens says:

    I was fortunate enough to get to read the first few chapters of Hijacked, and I’m counting the days until it’s release so I can read it from beginning to end. So excited for you Leslie, and like Sharon said, especially because you’re a Lucky 13.

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      I’m waiting for your NEXT book, Sandra! I have thoroughly enjoyed the first ones! Thanks for being a fan before the book is out! I really appreciate your support. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by on a holiday!

  6. Kay Hudson says:

    I’ve read the beginning of Hijacked (twice!) and I’m looking forward to reading the whole book (wonderful cover, btw). Thanks for sharing your thoughts–it’s interesting to see how differently everyone arrives at the end result.

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      Thank you, Kay! Wow – twice! 😀 Glad you like the cover. Marion Sipe of Dreamspring Design has done all three covers, which I’m itching to reveal, but want to wait until closer to each book’s launch. When do we get to read your wonderful Jinn books? I’m looking forward to reading them! Thanks for stopping by, Lucky 13 sister!

  7. Leslie Lynch says:

    Kay, I was inching toward indie pubbing, too, but I must have slipped and fallen into the waterfall! There’s no turning back now! You might find yourself in the same place sooner than you think!

  8. Leslie, I can totally relate to muttering under my breath and pounding away at the keyboard 🙂 Loved this sneak peek into your writing life. Love you book cover as well!

  9. Talia Quinn says:

    This was fascinating, Leslie, and very thought provoking. This: “I think it comes down to voice. Each author takes their characters on a unique journey; the unique journey is informed by who the author has become over their own lifetime.” particularly resonated. It’s so exactly true. Voice is the choices we make in our stories, not just the words we choose to tell those stories, and it’s absolutely informed by our own experiences.

    Thank you for writing this post, and it sounds like you’re on a great track with your self publishing plans! (Love the cover, as I’ve said before.)

  10. Leslie Lynch says:

    Hi, Talia! Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed reading about YOUR process yesterday – and you put my mild multi-tasking to shame! You have a tremendous amount of creative energy! Thanks for your kind words about the cover of Hijacked, too!

  11. Hi Leslie,
    Fun learning about your process. Can’t wait for the release of Hijacked, coming right up! Very excited for you!

  12. Laurie says:

    Hi, Leslie. (I’m one of Luckies 13, only I came late to the party at nationals last year and didn’t really get to meet everyone.) My writing process is much like yours, but I usually know the ending when I begin and work toward that. Like you, I’m in the process of indie publishing. I’ve just received my cover proof. It’s exciting, isn’t it? I’d love to hear more about your experience with Bulletproof Editing as I’m currently looking for an editor. If you have time, please drop me a note and share your experience at Love your cover!! Let me know when it’s released.

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      Well, darn, Laurie! I wish I’d met you last year at nationals! I’m thrilled at the number of Lucky 13s who have chosen to indie publish. I am convinced there are reader out there who want to read our (usually) slightly out of the box stories. I’ll contact you so we can chat privately – and thanks so much for stopping by! Glad to meet you!

  13. Pingback: Nan Dixon » My Writing Process Blog Relay

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