Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, May 12, 2014

The Writing Process, What's Yours?

Today I'll focus on my writing process, part of a craft thread that the talented Donna Galanti invited me to be a part of. A bit about Donna:

She writes suspense, YA, and middle grade fiction and is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary. She's an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A HUMAN ELEMENT (Echelon). Watch for her suspense novel A HIDDEN ELEMENT, the sequel to A HUMAN ELEMENT, coming summer 2014 by Imajin. Her middle grade series, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, debuts in 2015 by Month9Books.

Her writing process question made me wonder what is my writing process exactly?

The Cape porch where I started to
write Fireseed One, Ruby's Fire
and Model Position
I tend to start projects in the beginning of the summer, often at the writing retreat I go to at the Cape, where I can get totally lost in daydreams. It takes me around six months to do a first draft, though I've done them faster: once for an American Girl project in a month (!!!) and another during Nanowrimo (61K words in a month). I'm trying to fast draft now, but it doesn't always work, because I'm the type of writer who needs to know where the plot is going first. Yes, I outline, but not in too much detail.
I work on one novel draft a time, though once in a while I'm revising one project, while drafting another. I get into my characters quite deeply, so it can get confusing to write two first drafts at once.
I've written middle grade lit, A Girl's Best Friend, a ghostwritten novel and a story called the Fashion Show for a Scholastic book club anthology. More recently, I've written YA: Refugees, Fireseed One, Ruby's Fire. And I'm continuing to write YA. I've also really gotten into writing new adult: Model Position, and the continuation of that storyline in my forthcoming novel, Private Internship. I love writing new adult, because the boundaries of what can be portrayed are pretty boundless. I like boundless.
And I like romance. We'll see where my journey takes me!

Taking a poll. What should I work on next? Book 3 of Sienna's artistic journey or
a historical romance set in the 30s?

And now, I'm happy to introduce the two writers who I've selected to talk about their writing journeys for their own posts on May 21.

The first author is Helen Mallon, who writes contemporary fiction that straddles the line between literary and women's fiction (if you had to categorize it, which she may give me a sharp elbow nudge for doing). Her writing truly impresses me: her wordcraft and character portrayals are masterful. And she's got a brand new bundle of stories coming out!

The second is Elizabeth Arroyo, a wonderful author of paranormal and romantic fiction. Her dark fantasy series The Second Sign and The Second Shadow are real rollercoaster rides.

So make sure to check out their posts on Wednesday, May 21!

What's one hallmark aspect of your writing process?


  1. Let the journey take you anywhere you want to go!

  2. How wonderful to be able to hide out and draft with only your dreams to keep you occupied!

  3. Your books are fantastic. I'm like you, I can only draft one book at a time. I get too much into the story! I would love to see a historical romance from you. :)

  4. Catherine, fun to see your writing process. You are a force! I don't know if I could fast draft two different novels at one - I can draft one and edit one. I adored Model Position - a fun, romantic read! Would love to join you on that porch at the Cape :)

  5. Christine, yay, the 1930s tale is definitely percolating in me. Lee, hiding out in the Cape has its benefits. After slaving away for hours on your draft you get to jump into the ocean and swim. Plus gab with writer friends at night and play eccentric literary parlour games.

  6. Isn't it fun to write for different age groups? I love it.

  7. Congratulations to each of these talented authors--they must be for you to feature them, Cat.

    I like that purple hair!

  8. I enjoy hearing about others' writing processes. Like you, I outline (but not with too much detail -- I like to fill that in later), and sometimes draft one project while revising another.

  9. I'm happy to see someone else takes as long to draft as I do! I enjoyed reading all about your writing process and how many categories you write in. My writing process is a bumpy road filled with frustration. I never think I can do it, but I plug onward and am shocked when it finally comes out good. Seriously. Shocked. :O

  10. Mmmm... I'm liking the 30's historical idea. :-D

  11. Lexa, I'm glad you're plugging away at it! Misha, thanks for the feedback. Shelley, yes, I like to leave room in my plotline for fun surprises.

  12. Like you, I have to know where the story is going before I can write. Of course, I usually fast draft once I know where I'm going.

    As for what to write next, hmm, I really did enjoy Model Position, so a third of that might be a good idea, but the historical novel sounds intriguing too.

  13. I'm right there with you, one project at a time--and if you're going to ask which project you should work on, I'll always lean toward the romance. My brain works in such away that the story is always growing, even when I'm not writing. I'll take a three hour break and come back to find my subconscious has already composed the next scene.

  14. Crystal, that's the truth: my subconscious is writing for me even when I am asleep or driving or vegging out in front of the TV!

  15. Cherie, ha! I guess your vote is for me doing both... thanks for the nice thoughts about Model Position.

  16. My writing is so slooow. I'm thinking about trying the Fast Draft approach. Must stop correcting punctuation and spelling as I go along. :)