On Writing Slowly

If you’re a new fan, you picked a great time to discover me. I have seven novels in the can and one that’s nearly finished. Can I ask you a favor? Please read the books that have already been published intentionally and sloooowly.

Because I’m a sloooow writer.

It takes me about a year and a half to finish a novel. I once had a publisher ask me if I could write two or three books in a year.

No, I cannot.

It’s no use telling me to hurry.

Writing is hard work for me. I spend a great deal of time getting to know my characters before I write one word. I know their histories, what they carry in their purses, backpacks, and/or wallets, and their scars—the kind that show and the kind that make it hard for them to succeed.

I have to know what they want so badly that they would be willing to do anything I tell them to do. If my hero isn’t driven, she’ll be boring. She’ll be like me, and no one has asked me to write my autobiography.

Once I know their histories and what they want, I create their antagonist, the character with the power to foil my hero.

An antagonist must be as strong or stronger than my hero and s/he must want the very same thing as my hero, only be willing to go after that desire quite differently. My antagonists are the heroes of their own stories. They see themselves as a power for good, especially their good. An antagonist that isn’t all good or all bad is much more interesting and relatable.

Once I’ve rounded out my characters, I plot the story, writing a sentence or two for each scene. Every scene must be a stepping stone toward the resolution of the story, so I do have a resolution in mind. Sometimes the resolution changes in the telling, but I’m headed in the right direction from the start.

Now, I’m finally ready to write the story.

Phew!

My job is to write stories that are worth waiting for, so make yourselves comfortable. If you haven’t read all of my earlier books, you can find them here. By the time you finish The San Clemente Bait Shop and Telephony, there should be a new story ready for your nightstand.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Help me load up my nightstand with great to-be-read novels. Tell me the authors you’re waiting on for their next wonderful story. Feel free to share a great story you’ve recently read, too.

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