A few weeks ago I finished all my drafting on Tieryn’s Fury – the third book in the Shadowcat Nation series. Yesterday I got Wendy’s (my awesome beta reader) comments back which I’m applying. I plan to send the manuscript to my editor, Lill, at The Wild Rose Press early next week.
I took a different approach in writing this book, incorporating a lot of things that worked individually for the other books (as I’ve learned them from workshops and from trial and error) into a system that I think worked really well for me. I’m super pleased with the final book. I thought I’d share a bit and then an excerpt for you.
The first thing I do is define very specifically the theme, conflict (for my paranormal romances I define both the paranormal conflict and the romantic conflict), and the premise. This usually results in my first whack at the book blurb. It gives me a higher level concept to make sure I stick to as I write.
Character Definitions & Arc
I do a deep dive on my main characters (both heroes and villains). First I define them as characters. I’m particularly obsessed with the book The Complete Guide to Heroes & Heroines Archetypes for this. I also use techniques from Anna Stewart and Mel Curtis’s character development workshop. I then determine what each character arc will be – how do they develop and change as people as the book progresses.
Key Plot Points
I lay out a bulleted list of key plot points and about where I want them to fall in the book. I keep this very high level as I do better with the first draft when I’m pantsing it, rather than working off a detailed plot outline. I use several techniques from Larry Brooks’s crafting workshop.
Fast Draft First Draft
I do the first draft in 2-6 weeks (depending on how well it’s going and how busy I am with other things during that time period). I use techniques from Candace Haven’s Fast Draft workshop that have helped to do this.
Daily 10-Page Drafting/Self-Editing
First I determine what I need to beef up/expand on/fix. I spend the next weeks doing a detailed 2nd/3rd/4th draft working on ten pages a day only. For the ~260 pages of a book, this takes me about a month. For the 10 pages I’m concentrating on, I do one run through reading it aloud and marking areas that sound bad, need more detail, etc. I then go through and make all those changes. I fill in/expand on/fix anything I’d predetermined needed it. Then I do a third self-editing pass. I have a long and very detailed list of things I look for to fix – some of it grammar, some is hunting for words or phrases I know I use a lot. That kind of thing.
Once I’m done drafting it goes to Wendy, my trusted beta reader who’s been with me from the beginning. I then go through and apply her suggestions as needed. Depending on how detailed the changes are, I may do one more self-editing pass on the entire book. Then it goes to my editor at The Wild Rose Press, knowing that I’ve done everything I can to make the best book I can.
Excerpt – Tieryn’s Fury
“Are you coming?” Shane called through Tieryn’s locked bedroom door. He didn’t bother to disguise his annoyance.
He’d raised his hand to knock on the door when her voice stopped him. “Just a second.”
Right. Tieryn’s version of seconds translated to half-hours. “We’re late.”
“Not that late.”
Shane checked his watch and shook his head. “Late enough.”
“I can’t go naked, Callahan. You’ll just have to wait.”
Unwanted and unwelcomed, an image of Tieryn’s pale skin, without hindrance of clothing, entered his mind. He could picture her, dark hair spilling over those pert breasts. Would they be pink tipped or a darker hue? He’d bet pink.
Shane forced his mind back to the issue. His body was a different issue.
“Move it, or I’ll come in there and dress you myself.” Not that he would. His imagination was bad enough, had been from the moment he’d met her. He didn’t need to add reality to the mix.
He was about to pound on the door, when the lock clicked and she swung it open with a sharp movement. Once upon a time, he might’ve considered the scowl on her face cute, but not anymore. Now, he had zero patience for spoiled, inconsiderate brats.
“Do you ever get anywhere on time?” he accused.
Her scowl deepened until her eyebrows almost met in the middle. “Unlike some people, I didn’t have the luxury of bringing changes of clothes with me.”
Shane frowned. “So?”
She shifted her feet. “So I have to wait for my underwear to dry,” she mumbled.
Shane grunted, not about to touch that topic.
He led the way out of their room and down a series of hallways. Their polar bear allies had consented to allow the Kuharte conference to take place in their underground bunkers—the safest place Sarai could find. Cement walls curved up overhead like a tunnel. Fluorescent lights hung every twenty feet or so and cast a sickly greenish glow over everything. Being underground made Shane feel itchy. Cougar shifters didn’t like to be closed in or confined for long.
“Didn’t Sarai give you clothes?”
She shrugged a slim shoulder. “She let me borrow hers, but I can’t wear another woman’s underwear. Gross.”
“You could not wear underwear.” The words popped out before he could stop them.
He opened his mouth to tell her not to answer, but she beat him to it.
“I’m not,” she muttered.
Looking down, he caught a hint of panic in her eyes that told him she hadn’t meant to answer him. At least his wasn’t the only mouth out of control. Shane’s gaze dropped to her lips and her shock returned to her earlier scowl.
She whipped her head to face forward. “Tell anyone and I’ll—”
“What? Tell Daddy?” Hell. What was with him today? The sarcastic comments were dropping like bombs.
Instead of snapping at him, as any of his polar bear shifter friends would have, or Andie for that matter, her shoulders slumped. “Forget it.”