Welcome to Romance Weekly! If you’ve come from JJ Devine, then welcome. If you’re starting here with me, howdy! Let’s get to this!
1.) Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?
The short answer is no. I never knew I would become a writer. I’d wanted it since I was in the sixth grade, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get published. I don’t think it was until I actually was published that I figured out I was going to become a writer. And even then, because I suffer from imposter syndrome, sometimes I still wonder if I’m going to become a writer, and that’s after four published books.
The long answer is that there was a moment when I decided I wanted to try. My son was two, and my husband decided he was going to start writing apps. And I remember looking at him and saying, out loud even, “I think I can write a romance novel.” I surprised even myself that day, because I never thought I would admit that out loud. That i wanted to be a writer, that I thought I could be a writer, and that I was actually going to try, despite my insane fear of rejection. It’s funny, because after I said the words out loud, I set out to doing just that: writing a romance novel.
2.) When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?
I layer in subsequent drafts. I’ve been known to change a story 70,000 words in, which is crazy, and don’t do that. I usually know where I’m going to end up, but how I get there changes with each draft.
3.) How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?
Heh. It depends on the book. I usually edit as I go, and rewrite chapters as I write them (finish a chapter, then go back and re-read, edit a little, fix some more, etc). The bare minimum is three. The first one to get the story down, the second complete re-write to make sure that I don’t have any issues with continuity (though that happens anyway, when, in subsequent drafts, I change something and forget to fix a word. I’m still kicking myself over that one). The third draft is where I run the entire document through autocrit to catch over used words, make sure I’m not using too much passive voice (actually, my major failing is “it/there” and “that”.), and cut out all the damn sighing. Once I start looking for it, I start thinking, “OMG, my characters all have asthma or COPD!” It’s ridiculous.
Typically, the work you are reading is a third completed draft, followed by two rounds of edits, and another read through. And even then, errors get in. By that last round of edits, I don’t see them anymore. That’s what beta readers are for, I suppose, though it’s hard to ask when you’re on a deadline and you know you’ll have to tell someone, “Oh, hey, I need this back in four days. Can you do that kind of turn-around?”
Why not go see what the lovely Leslie Hachtel has to say on the subject?