Panic, Process & Preview…

Stacey KayneOkay, we’ll start with the Panic—book due in a month, partial of said book due to my editors today…well, okay, really the partial (outline and first few chapters) was due in January…which theoretically puts me waaay behind deadline (ack!).  Now, if I wrote a book in a linear fashion, (starting at chapter one, then two, then three and so on), whipping out a partial would likely be no problem…but I don’t.  I tend write the way I read, in a sort of scatter fashion.

Which leads me to Process. Writers and readers all have their own process when it comes to finishing a book.  I tend to write a story the same way I read a book–from the inside out.  When I pick up a new book I crack it open in the middle or the first quarter (no, I’m not just looking for love scenes–honest!). I can’t really explain why I start in the middle or first quarter of the book…an attention-span issue, part of my dyslexia…I dunno, it’s just my process.  A great story will hook me no matter where I open the book.  After I spot-read a few passages, if I’m hooked, I hunker down and devour the book in one sitting.  There will be no intermissions…I Western Cowboywant the whole picture all at once!  When approaching my writing, I tend to follow the same process.  My books never start with the first chapter (with the exception of BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON–that one started with a woman held captive in a saloon bedroom, but scattered from there *g*).  MUSTANG started in chapter three, MAVERICK chapter seventeen, and with GUNSLINGER I wrote the last chapter first–I knew how it would end, I just didn’t know who the characters were or how they’d get there!  Currently I’m writing the third book in my WILD series, and this one started in chapter six.  Until last week I had nearly two hundred pages, and NO beginning.  I had a vague idea of what needed to happen to get my characters to the places I’d already written, but after eight attempts to find the start, none of them really grabbed me and said “Yeah, that’s the perfect start for this story!” Meanwhile, my editors are just a tad anxious to see a glimpse of the book that’s now due in a month.  After a lot of panic and deleting, I found the start that FITS, and I finally have something I can turn in.  Cross your fingers it will sing to my editors!!  Sometimes my process is a major pain  😉

And now for the Preview!  Here’s  a little rundown on the book, the final book in my WILD Trilogy.  Garret and Maggie are in for quite the WILD ride.  We first meet Garret Daines in MUSTANG WILD at the tender age of thirteen, a hard-working teen doing his best to look out for his older sister Skylar.  In Garret DainesMAVERICK WILD Garret is on his way to becoming a man and suffers some heartache when Cora Mae overlooks him as she falls for Chance Morgan…a man who casts a broad shadow Garret can’t wait to outgrow. Six years later Garret’s all grown up and finds himself in a heap of trouble with a cattle barren who’s hellbent on driving Garret’s cattle ranch out of business.  An attempt to take Garret’s life in the dead of winter lands him in the healing hands of mountain recluse Maggie Slade…aka, Mad Mag.  Maggie made her first WILD appearance in MaggieMAVERICK WILD, saving Chance Morgan from a hangman’s noose, and revealing a secret or two about her past.  Maggie’s hiding a mess of secrets in her WILD mountain hideaway–none of which she’s willing to share with a handsome cowpuncher she believes has more charm than sense. Garret can hardly believe the youthful beauty he discovers hidden beneath Maggie’s trapper-woman persona.  Being raised by Skylar, Garret isn’t new to sharp-tongued WILD women…in fact, he finds himself quite enamored by Maggie’s attempts to put him in his place…and has quite a time convincing her that place is right beside her.  A common threat provides the common ground they need to stand on as they start to understand and appreciate each other’s “process”…making them vulneralbe to that wildly unpredictable emotion called LOVE.

So there you have it, my Panic, my Process, and a Preview!

What is YOUR process, be it reading or writing?  When you start a book, MAVERICK WILDcan you put it down in between chapters and come back to it later or do you have to finish the whole book in one sitting?  Do you cheat and spot read (like me) before settling in, or do you keep to the straight and narrow, starting on page one and reading to the end?

Whatever your process, I wish y’all a wonderful weekend & Happy Reading!

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52 thoughts on “Panic, Process & Preview…”

  1. It depends on the book, now doesn’t it? And the amount of time you have. Some books I just have to read in one sitting, considering I have the time to do that, of course. Then there are some you just can’t read on one sitting, because there is too much stuff in the book. You have to think for a while about the stuff you have read before you can continue reading the book.

  2. I always start a book at the front. However if it is a book that grabs me, I may read it in one sitting or two. I just finished a book by Amy Wallace that was hard to put down. I find reading excerpts though on Author’s websites may hook me having to have the book. God Bless.

  3. With kids, I’ve NEVER been able to read a book in one sitting. I usually stop between chapters. Oh, and I never ever read ahead. 😉

  4. I tend to read and write front to back, beginning to end, though when I’m writing, scenes that haven’t happened yet call to me, so it gives me a destination to reach that scene. Once it’s written, another generally comes to me as I go along, though sometimes scenes begin to take shape in ways I wasn’t expecting, but still work out in a way that just “feels” right.

  5. Interesting blog, Stacey, and it was fun reading about your books. I tend to be a plodder, in both reading and writing. Reading, I tend to have 3 or 4 books lying around the house and I pick up whatever’s handy when I light somewhere.
    Writing–I grind it out from beginning to end, polishing as it goes along. I know all the articles on writing tell you to bat the story out fast, then go back and revise. I’ve tried. Just doesn’t work for me. Thanks for a good beginning to my day.

  6. I’m guilty of being a spot reader..LOL! If I have a whole day to myself, I’ll be able to read the entire book. If not, then I read until I get to a certain part in the book and stop. It is a “treat” to myself then to find a few minutes to continue on with the story!

  7. Oh Wow, Stacey and I thought being a SOTP writer was wierd LOL!

    Writing…I just sit down and start where the characters are and we go from there. Luckily, I’ve managed (so far) to write each book and story from beginning to end.

    Reading…really depends on the book. Some I can put down and come back to. Other’s I can’t and I tend to devour them in one sitting too. Even some of my favorite books -y’know the ones you read over and over again- are devoured in one sitting. 🙂

    Great post!
    Pamt

  8. I read books front to back, but usually don’t have time to do it in one sitting. Some I read just at bedtime to savor the experience. When I write stories for myself I start with whatever scene is in my head which could be the beginning, middle, or end. I read linear but write scatter.

  9. I’ve had people tell me this before, that they write scenes in the book then shift them around to see what goes where. That is completely foreign to me.
    I start on page one and write straight through.
    I can do SOTP or Plotted, but usually I’m more SOTP. I’m just starting a new book now and I am 8,000 words into it. I type what I see happening next in italics at the end of the book, then push that along in front of me, cutting when I accomplish a scene.
    So I just finished the stage coach crash where the hero and heroine meet, the big high stakes, high action opening…this will need to be written a few times until I get the pacing right, and I usually start at the beginning every day, read what I’ve written, add, tweak, act on notes I’ve made…usually while lying awake at night trying to get to sleep…I’m a raving insomniac.

    Then I finally get to the ‘end’ and start adding. When I think of what I want to happen next, I type an italics addition to the slowly growing synopsis at the end of the book.

    I usually start a book with a story, a beginning and Happily Ever After as almost everything I have in mind. That’s it.

    An example: If anyone’s read Petticoat Ranch they’ll know the hero is a twin, the twin brother of the heroine’s husband. Her husband is dead before the book begins.

    This ends up being hugely important and fundamental to the story but this moment:
    (excerpt from Petticoat Ranch)

    >>>Sophie put her arm around her daughter, but saw where she was staring. She turned to see what her girls were seeing.
    “It can’t be.” Beth’s voice broke. “But it is.”
    It was.
    “It’s Pa.” Sally spoke shuddering tears.
    The husband Sophie had personally cut down out of a tree. Had personally released from the noose around his broken neck. Had personally buried on a rise overlooking the ranch they’d worked on so hard.
    The husband whose death had etched her heart with hate, and made her long, only moments ago, to commit cold-blooded murder. He was lying here unconscious, as men sought him to kill him all over again.”<<<<<< That moment came to me, AS Sophie was looking at him. No plan ahead of time. Of course I tweaked it and set it up better once I thought of it. But I had no notion to make the hero her brother-in-law until the moment she first sees his face. So my writing style is very SOTP and very linear.

  10. Also, I almost always read the end of a whodunit to find out who the murderer is…I know that’s TERRIBLE. But I can’t control myself. I fight it and sometimes I succeed…for a while.

  11. I start reading on page one and feel reading the last page or epilogue out of order is sacrilegious. 🙂 I too sometimes have two or three books in progress, same with wips. Once in a while, a good one (I loved De Vinci Code with all the historical tidbits) keeps me up all night, other times, I can’t get past Chapter Three.

    Thanks for the book blurbs. I enjoy your writing.

  12. Hi Stacey, Thanks for the preview. Can’t wait for this book to come out either. (Do you have a title yet or is it too soon?) I would love to finish every book I read in one sitting but time doesn’t always permit. (I also start at the beginning and just keep going.) I just know once my work is done that I will have that reward of finishing the book and sometimes rereading those rewarding parts that make it all come together.Thanks for your post. Have a great weekend.

  13. Hi Stacey! (I have not forgotten to mail you that book..I just have not had a chance yet!!!..but I will soon 😉 )

    Anyway….I always start at the beginning..no peaking around anywhere else in the book! I have been known to read 3 books in one day…of course this does NOT happen very often. If I am really into a book…I hate to put it down. I would rather read a good book than eat.. LOL SO..I prefer to read it from start to finish in one sitting, but with having a 2 year old right now..I never really get to do that, so I put it down and pick it up alot…to me it’s like hitting the pause button on a movie 😉

    Thanks for the preview…I am soooooo excited to read this last book in your WILD series!!!

  14. I start writing on page one and plod straight through like Mary.

    And Stacey, I can’t imagine reading parts of a book before I read the beginning. I think it would spoil it for me.

    My mom always reads THE END first!

    Isn’t it fun how we’e all so different?

  15. HI Minna! Oh so true. I read the Harry Potter books with my kids and while I oculdn’t read the whole book in a sitting–I did skim it *ggg* I must be ultra impatient—my mom says it was speed-reading classes she put me in as a kid *g* I never read the end…just enough to GET the scoope of the book, and then my mind can settle down enough to read every word 😉

    I have learned, if I don’t have a few hours to finish a book, not to open it *ggg*–I may miss my appointment or burn dinner ;-D

  16. I am a reader who only puts a book down for short breaks, or if I have no choice but to put the book down. I read read read!!! 🙂

  17. Hi Andrea!! The factor is a huge one. I didn’t read AT ALL when my kids were little…I remember passing by booksotres with a pout, because I know how obssessive I am. When they hit preschool was when I started reading again *LOL*. That was also when I discovered writing. My hubby used to groan when I came home with a book because he knew he’d lost me for a few hours. Now…he puts up with me rather well 😉

  18. Hi Stacey! Interesting subject. I always write from the beginning to the end and polish as I go like Elizabeth. I can’t envision doing it any other way. I’ve heard of authors though who skip around, writing chapters here and there. It would throw a big monkey wrench in writing a partial. I’m wondering how you sold it without submitting a synopsis and first three chapters? Tell me your secret.

    When I open up a book, I always read the last few pages first. I want to see how it ends. If I like the ending then I start from the beginning and read it through. But not in one sitting. Lord no, I can’t find that much time at once! I usually only read at night and stop when I can’t see the page anymore.

    Loved your preview of the last book in your Wild trilogy!! It sounds really great. I can’t wait to read it. Garret will make an awesome hero. 🙂

  19. I must be more organized than I thought because your method of skipping around boggles my mind. I used to check out the last scene of a book when I read, but I don’t do that anymore. Now it’s straight through from beginning to end.

    When I write I have to meet my characters first – know a little about them. Then after I chart their story, I write the detailed synopsis beginning with chapter one and going on through to the end, which is really the first draft. From those notes I begin to write the story again at chapter 1. My method is a lot like yours, Mary, with each synopsis chapter at the end of the chapter I’m writing only mine is fully prewritten. By the end of the chapter the synopsis is deleted.

    This may sound limiting, but really isn’t since so much creativity still comes in that second writing and again in the editing process. I’m glad there isn’t only one way to write a book. Our methods are a varied as our personalities.

  20. Hi Taryn and Elizabeth!! I envey your linear styles!! I wish I could write and read beginning to end. I wish I could think of complete sentences when I sit down to write *LOL* Nothing in my books comes to me as a complete sentence. I throw down a bunch of impact words to covey feelings and actions (what I call ‘the chunky stuff’)and start MOLDING from there. Oh how I wish I had a linear mind 😉

    Thank you for sharing!!

  21. Hi Pam! I thought I was a SOTPaster 😉 Maybe I’m an extreme SOTP’er *ggg* But somehow my ending always meets my middle which finds the beginning or vise versa and everything in between 😉

    Love those books you can’t help but read over and over 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  22. I never look ahead or “gasp” – at the end lol. I also tend to enjoy longer books so I’ve never read a book in one or two days. Usually I read for an hour or so at night but there are days I get to enjoy longer reading sessions.

  23. You know, as for READING books I have this whole collection that I read over and over, and I re-read scenes. I just have scenes I love in books.

    I’m currently re-reading White Lies by Linda Howard, love that book. One of her real old ones.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit. My favorite scene ever…and there’s a lot of fierce competition, Chapter Seven of Breathing Room, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

    I doubt it would stand on it’s own without reading the beginning, but that chapter has everything, humor, action, dialogue a great beginning and ending hook, advances the story.

    Love it.

  24. I always start at the beginning of a book. I can, but don’t like to, put a book down between chapters.

  25. Mary, the linear, SOTP’ster, who-done-it peaker *ggg* Love your style, and that excerpt!!! WOW, heart clenching!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us 😀

  26. Hi Tanya! I’m a naughty reader 😉 My mom is another who will read more than one book at a time–not THAT boggles my brain.

    While I can’t read more than one book at a time, I do write several at once. That’s actually been the hardest part of the past year and a half of becoming published and working on deadline…I really have to keep my scatter brain focused on the book that’s due NEXT 😉

    Thanks for your post, Tanya 🙂

  27. THANK YOU, Za! I know the title will have WILD in it *g*. As of right now my tentative working title is EMBRACE THE WILD. Here’s hoping that will make it past editorial and marketing 😉

    It is a treat to read a book in one sitting, isnn’t it? For me, it’s even better than watching a great movie 🙂

    Thank you for posting!!

  28. Melissa, another BOOK BINGER!! That’s me 😀 When I read, I go on a reading binge and READ! *ggg* I make it an event *lol* A couple months ago I read five anthologies in one day–that’s sixteen short stories (Linda’s antho had four stories in it *g*)–what fun!! I’d never read an antho before, and since I have one due in September, I figured I’d better have an Antho binge day *g*

    I will keep an eye out for that book and send it back with goodies *g* Thank you for stopping in to post!

  29. Hi Stacey – I’m write from Chapter one and don’t even move on to the next scene until the previous one is polished. I can’t do it any other way and often wonder how other authors write out of sequence. It’s an amazing process you have. But I say, I always know my ending scene. They percolate in my head, and I hardly ever deviate from it.
    I read a few books at a time lately, but there are authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Janet Evanovich when I can’t put the darn book down, so I don’t even start them unless I have 4 hours to spare, at least.
    I really miss reading like I used to, but when I read for a while, I feel guilty, like I should be writing – I gotta learn to surrender to that guilt and be happy!
    Crazy, aren’t we all?

  30. Hi Colleen! Same here 😉 The smoke detector going off is good for getting me to put a book down…a bleating kid takes a few tries *ggg*

    Thanks for your post!!

  31. Hi Linda! THANK YOU 🙂 It’s so interesting to me how we are all so engrained in our process, unable to fathom working in another fasion. Very neat 🙂 Not sure how I managed the four new books with no proposal thing…woke up and there it was!! I’m hoping my editors are still thinking it was a good plan 😉 I knew the partial thing would be tricky for me–and it has been. But it did make that moment of EUREKA! all the more special 🙂 I sure hope I can find it sooner for the next go-round *lol* Maybe this experience will expand my partial capabilities *g*

    You read the END? We are still reading the last Harry Potter have managed to not peak 😉

    Thank you for sharing!!

  32. I read a book from the beginning to the end. I do not skip anything unless it is a book that is not that good and I am just trying to finish it. This doesn’t happen much. I don’t have time to read the whole book at once so I stop at the end of chapters and start back the next night. The only time I stop in the middle of a chapter is if I am reading in the doctors office or sum place like that.

  33. Hi Mildred! I’m also glad there’s more than one way to write a book! I’ve been writing for seven years and am still trying to tweak and improve my process 😉

    Thanks for sharing your process with us!!

  34. Hi Jeanne! Thanks so much for sharing with us 🙂

    LOL Susan – Scandalous indeed 🙂 Perhaps that’s the draw….being a rule breaker 😉 Thank you for your post!!

  35. Same here, Mary 😀 There’s days when I feel I have no rhythm, and I’ll pull out one of prized keepers and read through my favorite scenes, remind myself what writing “spark” should feel like 😉

  36. Hi, Stacey!!

    OMG!!! I CANNOT wait to read about Garret and MAGGIE!?? (Sorry for all the caps–I’m a little excited!!!) When is this coming out??

    Sorry, and back to your topic, I’m with AndreaW–unless I start the book after the kids are in bed, reading straight through is a rare luxury (it’s happened occasionally with those “I can’t put it down” books). And I don’t tend to skip around or peek at the end unless I’m hating the book/characters and just want to see what happens at the end before I abandon ship entirely.

  37. Ahh…the guilty pleasure of reading…I know what you mean, Charlene 😀 Mine have become few and far between that they feel like decadent holidays 😉 But somtimes you just gotta refill the well…so really, it’s WORK *G*

    Thank you for sharing!!!

  38. Hi Fedora!! Thank you 😀 No official release date for WILD 3 as of yet…I’ll guestimate early ’09 😉 Thanks so much for sharing your process!!

  39. I start at the beginning and go straight through
    to the end. As mentioned by others, reading in
    one sitting does not happen often, for whatever
    reasons. Like getting some sleep, or eating a
    meal, or going to choir practice! There’s always
    something!!!

    Pat Cochran

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