My Writing Process

My Writing Process


Hello blog-o-sphere peeps! So the lovely, bookish and sports enthusiast, Julie (twitter pal & freelance editor) tagged me for this blog tour, My Writing ProcessSince I just spent the last year writing my book and the last 14 days writing straight, I figured, “why not?” It’s all fresh in my mind. Let’s get started! <~~~ I feel like a YouTuber all of a sudden. They all pretty much say that before…right. Off topic.

What am I working on?

I could reference my last post for this but I’ll just reiterate here. Since July 2013, after much contemplation, an idea for a book baby sparked after watching the movie, The Host. I say baby sparked because, though it fueled a few days of research, I placed it aside for a couple weeks. A conversation with one of my closest friends–Vane–implanted a new idea that challenged me. She said something, to which I replied,

“OoOo, that would make for a cool book concept.” She then said, “Yeah. You should write it.”

I just–literally a day ago–finished writing the draft for book one. It’s a YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic that will be told in two books. (Duology <~~~book community’s made up words/concepts. Gotta love em’) I’m still working on how to pitch it.

Side note: I just spent spontaneously 45 minutes doing premise pitching research after the above sentence. Ha!

As we were…On to the next question!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not going to lie. I didn’t set out to find that one special element that would floor in originality. I thought about it. Especially when I was discouraged to write a Dystopian by a well known author I had the privilege to meet for coffee. I understood why she did. The reality is, since The Hunger Games, then came Divergent, Dystopian stories are flooding the market right now and if yours doesn’t have SOMETHING that makes it special and unique from ALL the other Dystopians being written and queried, well…fat chance, right?

I tried to write something else. I did. But that same author said, (paraphrasing) “But if that’s the story you just HAVE to write, then write it.”

And it was. It is. Ugh. I cringe thinking about the HORRIBLE first three chapter I gave her to read. They weren’t even formatted professionally and they were the FIRST words I wrote from this story back when it was a completely different concept. Oh boy. I look back and thank her for her kindness. She could’ve given me a harsh dose of reality right then and there but spared my fragile, insecure heart.

There is one element in my story, which was THE thing my friend, Vane mentioned that started this whole thing. I think it’s unique to the genre (and because so, sorry, but I won’t specify what it is *cheesy grin*). One beta reader recently told me something that floored me and warmed my heart.

She mentioned that so far, it reminded her of nothing she’s read. She usually gets a feel within the first few pages if a book is going to remind her too much of something else.

Well, that was pretty freaking awesome to hear! *grins like a fool*

Why do I write what I do?

*adjusts, tucking legs under me on sofa chair*

Oh boy. How to start this. You asked a lofty question there, my friend. I’m here chewing the corner of my lip, determined to give you the short version instead of my signature long winded answer.

Growing up (Ha! I know. Already off to a promisingly short start 0_o) I always lived in the realm of stories, outside of my own reality. I was always a closet lover of all things nerdy and YA (young adult) even beyond my own YA years. I wrote and directed plays for teenagers for years. I fangirled alone before I knew the term. I wrote screenplays (movie scripts) that premised around a teenager who usually started off in high school and then moved on or teenagers in late 1800’s period dramas because on of my first literary love which was and has remained to be all things Jane Austen era. The classic, period dramas are my other love.

I contemplated writing a book for years but never thought myself qualified or literary enough to pull it off. I thought of myself as a “creative” writer not a literary one. Yeah, I realize now the ridiculousness and inaccuracy of that statement. So I wrote scripts, poems, songs, all my life. My few secret attempts at books remained secret and unfinished. One common denominator stood out. Everything I wrote appealed to either the Young Adult or PG New Adult genre/audience. I used to feel ashamed of it, placing a stigma against it. So, I kept them in a secret chamber, never sharing them other than with the bestie who was sworn to secrecy.

My fifteen year old bookish, gamer niece introduced me to a few YA books that I happily devoured one, to connect with her on it and two, because I was genuinely intrigued by them. The Floodgates Opened! Interesting things is, I had read a few YA novels before, I just didn’t know YA was even a term, let alone a genre.

She lent me her copy of Divergent after I saw Insurgent at a Ross for $8. I have a thing about book covers. They speak to me and when they do, without knowing anything about them, I’m usually sold. The cover of Insurgent spoke to me and it was hard cover and only $8. I had to buy it. She insisted that I had to first read book one of that series. Divergent shifted something for me. I was introduced to the YA community and the genre term Dystopian because of it.

I’ve never been a fantasy or intergalactic sci-fi or paranormal type person. I can appreciate them, enjoy them even, but they haven’t been big themes in my book or movie preferences. Of course, other than your everyday contemporaries, and my forever love for period dramas, there was something that just stuck when it came to this genre. I would say more Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic. They’ve always fascinated me. I think I like the real aspect of these possible futures–both the characters and the decaying possibilities of humanity along with all that comes in it’s wake. I love kick ass movies. I love action and a good romance in the midst of it all.

I love YA. I love the community of YA. I love the journey and themes YA explores. They’re endless. And there’s still apart of me that has a few NA, and Adult contemporary ideas on the writing shelf but I think YA will be by permanent home, while the other genres, I’ll visit.

Sorry, guys. I tried making that short. Apologies if it’s a jumbled mess of thoughts.

How does my writing process work?

Here’s what happens. When I get a story in my head and dare give it life on ‘paper’ or Word document, I’m a goner. Why? Because I’m an extremist. I’m either all in or nothing. It’s good and bad but we won’t get into that.

Once I begin writing, I give myself fully to it. I lock myself away and forget the world because all I want is to be in my new world, getting to know my new characters, and I’m usually desperately eager to see them fall in love already.

What happened with…let’s call it #DYSTOPIANProject, was that in the beginning, I brainstormed in a notebook some worldbuilding and plot and knew it would take three books to tell the story. At that time, it was also a dual-perspective (which it no longer is). I began drafting for months getting up to 67,ooo words. Then the bomb.

November 2013. I couldn’t see the ending. I stopped and worked it out in my brain over and over. I called the bestie and she asked the hard questions. No matter how I twisted it, the ending–or lack there of–didn’t work. It wouldn’t work. The world and it’s problems were SO massive, I couldn’t reel it in to a satisfactory conclusion after a trilogy.

I attempted being a pantser, writing and letting the story unfold as it may and well…yeah, that failed. I had to chuck the entire draft and start over. I had a mild heart attack about that. It was time to change tactics. My writing process was going to get a make over. I spent a couple months in front of the new draft document like this:


Since nothing was happening–No Spark–I researched other author’s process from Premise to Drafting. Before starting chucked Draft one, Veronica Roth had a lot of great writing tips on her blog that inspired me to dive in and attempt a literary manuscript for real this time. After chucking it and before starting the new one, Jodi Meadows’ blog was like scavenger hunting and finding GOLD! It was actually a wonderfully beautiful season of Writing tips. I wrote all about it here: Back in the Game: Writing

In short, I went to Miami Book Fair and attended Lauren Oliver’s writing workshop which was Ha-Mazing! She’s an excellent teacher. Then Jodi Meadows–author of the INCARNATE series–had blog posts on Worldbuilding, Premise, Outline, Plot, Character development…I mean, peoples, it was a PLETHORA of wonderful information. I spent days taking notes, reviewing each post, then applying it. It was the best thing for my story. Luckily, once the new concept came to mind, though MANY things changed, much of the worldbuilding had already been done through the first concept draft.

1. Premise. Circle. Snap.

Link to Jodi’s From Idea to First Draft series

I REFUSED to let myself write one word of official drafting until I had all my eggs in their basket. Granted, I wasn’t SO anal to the point of trying to figure out EVERY. SINGLE. SCENE. AND DETAIL before writing it. I left room for creative freedom, allowing the story and characters to do that freaky little thing they do when they take a life of their own during writing. You think,

How the hell? I’m their God! I …nope. You have a different plan it seems. Um, and who the hell is that? I never planned on this character. Hey! What are you doing back here after I chucked your character in concept one draft?

It’s INSANE and wonderful. Oh, the wonders of being a writer.

I spent months plotting, worldbuilding, character developing, and researching before drafting.

2. Plot Board

I set up a plot board, a la Lauren Oliver who posted a picture of hers a while ago which inspired me. I’m a VERY visual person. I’ve always been a visual and hands-on learner as well. I need to see, interact with things I’m working with. It does not all stay in my head. I’m Dori. I will strike genius and forget it two point five seconds later.

I take the plot board project very seriously, because I’m a nerd like that. I’m that girl who gets perhaps a tab bit TOO excited at office supply stores. Anyway, I go all out with coordinating index card colors and everything. For example: My yellow cards indicate when we’re in my MC’s world. Red cards mean Inciting Incident and Major Plot Twist moments. Light teal cards are for when we’re in our male lead’s world. Lastly, I have blue cards keeping tabs of what and when my MC has specific plot aiding Dreams. She’s a dreamer.

writing process wed
1st Concept Board
writing space 2014
2nd Concept Board

Random Behind the Scene Fun Fact: The two images above show two different laptops. Shortly after starting the first concept draft, my freaking laptop decided TO. DIE. *cue expletives & rage* I didn’t get Black Stallion 2 up there (image 2) till SIX. MONTHS. LATER. I had to borrow on occasion my mother’s work office computer that too was dying slowly and of course, she would need for work. Those six months were pure agony. Good times…


*purses lips* good….times. And, BTS moment done!

3. Scribble. Doodle. Daydream. Repeat.

Once I have my main things in place and unlike the first time, I have a clear ending for the story, the drafting magic can begin.

For me, what works is to have a Writing Notebook as well. I take the mess of notes I’ve accumulated and organize them in legible form with sticky notes, highlights, etc. I ‘ll occasionally illustrate my main characters, wardrobe, seals or symbols represented within the world. Then, I’ll scribble-map-out a chapter in the notebook before attacking it on the draft document. I ask:

What needs to happen in this scene? 

I reference my Plot board index cards and go into more detail in my notes before typing out the chapter. It really helps to eliminate all the voices that won’t shut up and let you think because it’s asking all the questions on top of your creative thinking, layered on top of your dialogue and scene. It gets messy in there–your brain. By scribbling out key points in your chapter, then daydreaming about it for a bit, you leave room to just dive in and make that chapter your bitch. *wink*

And so the journey once again began…and I was all:


Some days, knee deep in chapters, I’d need to scoot my bearing into a neat little pile and refocus. Those days called for EXTRA COFFEE. Without coffee, well, let’s just say it is not a pretty sight, people. Not. At. All. I tend the get melodramatic…


Okay, Yes! I’m always dramatic, I know! But, without coffee. Believe it or not, it gets even more interesting.

4. Music

Oh! THIS. It’s like fuel and air to live! Along with coffee. Music is essential for me to write. I need to escape into ‘write-combination-of-scene-moments-inspiration’ and ‘kick-ass-motivation’ music selections. I create a playlist that inspires my creative juices as well as inspires portions of the story I’m writing. Here’s a link to my WRITING PLAYLIST on YouTube. Go knock yourself out. Take a gander, if you’d like.

I’m sure I’ll be back in the future with details on the rollercoaster adventure of REVISION *eerie drums escalate*. I will have my first pair of professional eyes reading my now done draft for Book One this coming week.

Next week on the blog tour:

Oof! Yeah, my bad. I have spent the last fourteen days writing straight. Like, sprint writing in the bat cave of my room coming up occasionally for air, food–rarely–and coffee–frequently. I forgot to recruit others and pass off the blog tour topic baton. Ugh. My apologies. BUT! Check out these two other blog tour: My Writing Process stops and keep up with their other tags.

Thanks for checking out my ramblings on writing. Till next time!

The Silent Pages – Writing Process Blog Tour Stop

How to Be a Poor College Student (Without Really Trying) – Writing Process Blog Tour Stop





Last night, it happened. It has NEVER in this entire year process, taken me SO long to write two damn chapters before. It’s weird because I’ve known how Book One was going to end for a while now. My little index cards for the ending have been pinned on my plot board, patiently waiting for me to get to them.

Then I got to that third to last chapter…*crickets*

I wrote it. Felt meh. Had that bestie I told you about who’s honest to a fault and that’s why I love her–she read it. She felt meh too, which wasn’t good. We brainstormed thoughts about my main character’s state of mind and possible physical reactions at this point in the story. I rewrote it. Then it was better…I think. There may have been another rewrite that night. Then the second to last chapter…*drumming fingers on desk* I spent three days trying to write TWO DAMN chapters to something I already knew was going to happen. It was the actually writing it out part, where there was still that open opportunity for creativity.

The inner dialogue, the actions. I had to delve into what my main characters were feeling as this point, that’s going to continue into the next book. I kept sharing on social media like three different times,

“Tonight, I’m finishing my book.” Then, “Nope, just kidding. TONIGHT, I’m finishing my book…”

Nope. Still, nada. After going through the same process with the bestie on the next chapter–write. meh. read it to her. discuss. rewrite. better–I was ready and this was it. The. Last. Chapter.

I wanted to make sure I left the appropriate questions in the air for the reader, setting them up for Book Two. I wanted to revisit some character ARC moments, bringing certain ideals full circle. And I wanted an Epic last monologue and final sentence.

INSTAGRAM Book one draft collage

Writing, “END OF BOOK ONE” set off the most bizarre series of emotions. I sat there and stared. Zombie. My best friend, Heather was almost getting off work so I was waiting for her to read it and approve but I was feeling REALLY good about that last chapter and how I ended it.

I almost didn’t know how to feel about this. I built up more the LONG and HARD journey after writing the draft that everyone has been advising me to prepare for that I almost let that overshadow the BIG moment of completing a first, full draft of a book. I mean…


And when I said that out loud, with the bestie driving home from work…I. Cried.

It hit me like a flood. *laughing at myself*

So it’s the day after and I’ve been…processing. It’s been such an emotional year, bringing this story to life. It’s seen it’s ups and downs. It started off as something entirely different and became this which I love so much more! It’s kismet because it’s literally A YEAR almost to the day since I started writing this story. #nostalgic

Earlier today, the thoughts of this actually happening one day–the possibility that an agent will love it, believe in it, then a publishing house will want it–I started freaking out in that teenage school girl flailing and screaming inside…Sort of like THIS:


Needless to say–though I keep saying it–I’ve been an emotional rollercoaster these last twenty four hours. Already, I have scene ideas filtering through my head for Book Two. The bestie provided an epic idea to incorporate in it that I’m really excited to explore, only, I’ve read from authors I admire that it’s frowned upon to start writing the next books in a series before getting picked up by an agent and editor. Makes sense. Once they get their hands on it, they may rip it to shreds, putting it back together in a different way, causing you to change your previous approach to Book Two. So if I start writing it now, and then need to chuck the entire thing and restart, I’m doing a disservice to my self-esteem and the story.

Of course, I have the bestie threatening my life for resolution and is demanding that by her birthday in September, I have to write and tie in a bow for HER alone, all of my main couples scenes in Book Two because she doesn’t want to wait.

Ha. We’ll see, Heather. No, don’t scowl at me!

I will however begin at least plotting the main points, get my story board slowly coming together so I can at least work out all these thoughts.

Welp, I just HAD to share that with you all! I have my Editing service appointment on Monday. *gulp* It gets placed in the hands of a professional eye. I have currently four additional beta readers reading the first hundred pages. I’ve had some overwhelmingly encouraging feedback so far. I nervously bite my nails hoping they fall in love with my MC and her dreamy Bo and their journey. Here’s to hoping. *crosses fingers, toes, hair, eyes* Don’t ask how…”special” I must look doing all that, right now.

No, *scoffs nervously* I wasn’t just contorting myself like…yeah, I’m gonna go!

I think I will try not to obsess over this all weekend and crack open books to dive into till Monday. Yeah, that sounds wonderful! ❤

Have a great weekend! I’ll have my tagged post: My Writing Process, hopefully up by tomorrow. You know, cause it’s due Sunday. Right. *opens new blank post page* 



Don’t Hate Me! I’m Still Here and I’m WRITING!

*waves hands frantically in the air*

Hey! Hi! Hola! Remember me? I’m that person who used to write on here all the time? No? Hm….

*scratches chin*


*runs to find memory boost-speration*



me redhair coffee

It’s all coming back to you know, isn’t it? Phew! *wipes brow* That was close, I know…Well, HELLO!!! Oh yes,  I have missed all of you awesome blogs-o-phere peeps. A couple months ago–was it a couple months ago?–I attempted leaving some form of update through a random, “If We Were Having Coffee” post. I had every intention to come back sooner and blog more frequently and well, clearly, that didn’t happen. What did happen?

Well LIFE, my friends! That happened. Ugh. It’s been a crazy, difficult, emotionally numbing year of unexpected staleness. Dramatic, I know. My time back home hit a wall a LONG time ago. I came back to help my family with their business as well as take care of some health issues that I couldn’t do financially or time wise if I were on my own. In that time, reading and writing became my solace.

My book was coming along slowly, with a few bumps on the road here and there. Finally, I determined myself that life wasn’t waiting around for me and so, in turn, I couldn’t sit around and wait for life. If I want change. If I want my life to look different, be different, I’d have to be the one to make it happen. I know, that sounds like self-explanatory common self but it only is in theory. Life, is far more gray and complicated than a simple, “Just Do It” campaign.

A few recent developments have come into play, hence, I’m back!

1. tumblr_mbue8uTmK31rdikavo1_400


I’m moving to California with my best friend! After…four years apart–living in separate states–we are finally going to be living in the same city! This was a crazy, spontaneous, rambunctious decision and I’ve never been more excited! I live in Florida. I’ve been an East Coast girl all my life. Even when I lived in the Midwest (Missouri), I still felt like an East Coast gal. This…well, this is definitely going to be a change. We’re aiming for March 2014, so until then, there is MUCH to plan and do.

This new venture has put some fire under my butt to get a few things done and taken cared of before the move. I could sit and wait around forever for things with my health to present itself, take it’s course and magically disappear but I’ve waited five years for that and life is slipping on by. Time to change course.


writing space 2014

I jumped back into writing! And I’m talking about full force, with vengeance! I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I connected months ago with Julie who is a part of True Blue Editorial. These awesome people offer Editing services that are, I believe a great investment before the querying process. What she’s going to do is an In-Depth critique of my entire manuscript. She’s going to help me clean it up and make it all shiny before I toss my baby (my manuscript) out to the wolves? Happy unicorned fairy godmothers?

Her and I have an appointment next week to begin the process, meaning, my draft for Book One needs to be completed. I hopped onto this writing sprint journey to finish the remaining 25% of the Book. It’s been a crazy two weeks.

plot board selfie 2014

writing abby and nate visuals

prepping ending selfie writing

So, guess what? I’m about two chapters away from finishing this Book One Draft…*gulps…then LOUDLY SQUEALS* This is SO surreal. Do you understand HOW surreal this is? I have been working to finish this official first draft for a year now. Technically, this is the third draft, second concept but officially, this will be the first completely draft of this book! I’m so nervous about that. Yes, I have a second book to write on for this duology, so the story isn’t over. I don’t have to say goodbye to my characters yet and then of course, there’s the longer journey of querying for an agent and publishing house, then the long journey of Revisions. The story is far from being sent on it’s happy trails. But still, it’s weird to think I’ll be finished writing out the story.

I’m nervous about handing my babies over for some professional to critique and tear apart. I want everyone to love this story and even more, love my characters who I have become so invested in. I know them now. I see them. I understand them in a new way I hadn’t in the beginning when we were all still acquaintances. When I wanted them to do one thing, sometimes, they chose to do another. It’s been such a cool journey to see a story take it’s own shape which may sound mad to non-writers but IT’S TRUE! Sure, you’re their “God” but these little suckers have a life of their own and they will surprise you.

I stumbled upon this tweet from author Trish Doller (“Where the Stars Still Shine”)

trish doller writers quote

The bestie read my recent chapters last night and encouraged my insecure heart. Gosh, I do NOT know what I would’ve done without her during this entire writing journey. She’s been available till the wee-hours, reading chapters out loud with me. She’s blunt to a fault and I’m so lucky to have her. She says, she’s brutally honest and picky because she doesn’t want to see me fail. She genuinely believes in my story and wants the world to have it one day soon. Last night, she complimented the growth of my writing. The writer I was first concept, first drat to the writer from the first half of this draft to the writer I am now in this last half of the draft are day and night. I too, have notice a shift in my writing.

It’s true what they all said. The way to become a better writer is to write. Write and Read. Write tons. Write often. Read tons. Read often. It marks you. It drives your pen differently with time. It took 29 years to come to terms with a desire, a home that was always there but I never had the confidence or courage to believe in myself enough to pursue it. Writing is my home. Reading is my solace.

Here are some twitter highlights in the last two weeks since I’ve been finishing my book: 

(WordPress is being a bung-hole. For some reason I can’t embed any tweets or instagram posts on here visually so I had to screenshot these suckers….and…ENJOY!)

writing tweets 1

writing tweets 2

writing tweets 3

writing tweets 4

writing tweets

So there it is folks! I was tagged to do a “My Writing Process” blog post. That will be going up before this Sunday, so stay tuned for that! I’ve been reading tons lately as well but haven’t kept up with sharing that on Goodreads or anywhere really. I’ll get back on that, soon…for real this time! I know, I said that last time and didn’t, Sheesh! DON’T MAKE ME FEEL MORE GUILTY THAT I ALREADY DO!!! *winks* 

Happy trails, my friends! Blog with ya soon. *tips hat*


11 Signs You’re Meant To Be A Writer

Love this! I got 8 out of 10! It’s reaffirming. 🙂


Yes, things have been a little quiet around here lately, but that’s only because, first of all, I was so busy there for a few weeks that I couldn’t even think straight and then, second of all, once the busyness was over, I awarded myself a whole day off—I didn’t even check my e-mails—and instead curled up with Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother, and that felt so good that I gave myself another day off, and then I started feeling light-headed and strange and had to come back here (here being The Desk), and get back to work. So while I play catch-up with the 391 e-mails from people who still don’t seem to understand that I don’t review books, my lovely blogging friend Laura Pepper Wu is going to entertain you with a guest post I’m sure we can all relate to: 11 Signs You’re Meant To Be A…

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11 Inspiring Quotes from the World’s Best Writers

Inspirational quotes for those bad writing days! This is a great post!


The last time we had a guest post from Laura Pepper Wu (11 Signs You’re Meant To Be A Writer), things went a bit nuts, with her post getting nearly 100 comments and being shared nearly 200 and over 400 times on Twitter and Facebook respectively. Today she’s back to share news of her new app, Write On! Daily Kick-Ass Writing Inspiration: 365 Tips & Quotes from the World’s Best Writers, and 11 of her favorite such quotes for those self-doubt-filled, motivation-lacking, no-amount-of-coffee-can-get-this-going bad writing days. Welcome back, Laura!

‘Having a bad writing day? Read (and bookmark!) these 11 quotes.

We all have ‘em once in while – awful, dragging, low writing-motivation days. The last thing you want to do is open up that folder on your computer, the one marked ‘WIP’.

You're a writer

Sometimes it helps to know you’re not alone (you’re definitely not), and that this too…

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