Wendy S. Marcus has taken time out from her hectic writing schedule to grace us with her presence today. So, I hand you over to her.
Hi Elaine! Thank you so much for having me here today to discuss my writing routine and plotting vs. pantsing. First off I’d like to introduce myself to anyone who doesn’t know me. My name is Wendy S. Marcus and I write medical romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. My third book, The Nurse’s Not-So-Secret Scandal, is out now, but more about that later.
The three best pieces of advice I received as a new writer were:
1) Don’t write the first thing that comes to mind. Or even the second. Those phrases are overused. Be original.
2) Do what works best for you.
3) A good book is written in revision.
I’m a pantser who, somewhere in the murky middle of a manuscript, wishes she was a plotter. I read about authors storyboarding and collaging, writing in depth outlines and synopses, planning their books down to the last detail from start to finish, or doing a quick and dirty first draft in two weeks so they can get to know their characters and flesh out their storylines.
For better or for worse, none of those things work for me.
My stories evolve as I write them, as my characters grow and develop and take on lives of their own. While I typically start off knowing the basic story I’d like to tell, how I get from page one to the happily ever after is a mystery until I actually get there. (As an example, I am presently 45,000 words into a 50,000 word book and I still have no idea how I’m going to end it! Yikes!) Being a panster is not for the faint of heart. Trust me. Because when you hit a snag and the story isn’t working and your deadline is fast approaching, there’s no detailed outline or comprehensive synopsis to refer to for guidance.
So what do I do?
Each day I start off by reviewing/editing/revising what I wrote the day before to get me back into the story and remind me where I was headed. Then I review any notes I left myself which might contain ideas/suggestions for upcoming scenes or information I need to add/address as the story progresses. Before I begin to type I spend some quiet time visualizing the scene before me as if I were watching it on television.
Warning: While the scene is usually amazing in my head, it rarely turns out amazing when I try to put my vision into words. Don’t fret! Get it into the computer as best you can. You can fix it later. My typical routine is: I write a scene. After I get the entire scene down I review it from start to finish and edit for clichés, mix of action/dialogue, and I make sure the reader can follow/picture what is happening. Then I take a break to walk my dog or have lunch. Afterwards I review it again and make more changes, layer in emotion and clarify GMC (goals/motivations/conflicts). Then I move on. Typically it takes me reviewing/editing/revising a chapter three times before I’m happy with it. And that doesn’t include the final review/edit/revision when I read the entire manuscript from start to finish in the computer and then print it out, punch holes in it and place it in a three-ring binder so I can read it like a book.
My method is time-consuming and I break the cardinal rules of “Don’t edit as you go or you could be wasting your time editing a scene you later wind up cutting from the book.” And “If you spend all your time perfecting chapter one, you’ll never move on to chapter two.” This is where the ‘Do what works best for you’ comes into play. This is the system that works for me. I can’t bring myself to move on until I’m comfortable that I’ve done the best job I can on what I’ve written.
That said I do need to limit the amount of time I spend on each chapter and on final revisions to make sure I finish each book in the time allotted.
And now for some information on my latest release, The Nurse’s Not-So-Secret Scandal, which is available now in the UK, Aus/NZ, U.S, and France.
The shocking secrets of nurse Roxie Morano!
Between family nightmares and a series of lousy men, nurse Roxie Morano’s life is a disaster zone. But enigmatic (and gorgeous!) new colleague Ryan ‘Fig’ Figelstein is ignoring her hazard warnings – instead, he’s signaling his attraction! Now Roxie’s bulletproof heart is at risk for the very first time…but dare she dream Fig will stick around when he discovers all her secrets?
To read an excerpt from The Nurse’s Not-So-Secret Scandal, or to learn more about me and/or my books visit my website: http://WendySMarcus.com
So what about you? Are you a writer? If so, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you edit as you go? If you’re a reader, have you ever read a medical romance?
One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of the 2in1 UK edition of The Nurse’s Not-So-Secret Scandal which includes a complete novel by Emily Forbes.
Thanks for stopping by!
About Wendy S. Marcus
Wendy S. Marcus lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, two of their three children, and a much loved Bichon Frise named Buddy. A nurse by trade, Wendy has her master’s degree in health care administration. After years of working in the medical profession, Wendy has taken a radical turn to writing hot contemporary romance with strong heroes, feisty heroines, and lots of laughs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting with her online friends. To learn more about Wendy visit her website, http://www.WendySMarcus.com.
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