by Sherri Hayes
I met a friend last week for lunch. She’s been trying to write a book of her own for the last two years and wanted to know about my writing process. “How do you know where to start, where to go, how it will end? These are very common questions and she’s not the first one to ask.
My writing process involves a lot of thinking. Before I even start writing, I’m thinking about my characters. For my newest book, Slave, I spent more than a month contemplating Stephan and Brianna before I ever put a word on paper. For me, it is very important to have that solid base. I need to know who my characters are in order to know how they will react to any given situation I place them in.
Once I have my main characters flushed out, I begin incorporating the plot. Again, I spend a lot of time thinking and often talking out plot points. It’s not uncommon to see me during my morning walk talking to myself. I like to talk out scenes, character backgrounds, motivations… It helps me to put things into perspective because how I would react is not necessarily how my character would.
A lot of writers use outlines. I’m not one of them. Everything about my books goes on in my head. I’ve tried outlines and they just don’t work for me. One time I spent an entire day on an outline and ended up using only pieces of it in the end and not even in the order I’d originally planned.
When I write, I am in the moment with my characters. Whether it is a love scene or an action sequence, I’m there. I consider myself an emotional writer. If I can’t feel a scene, I have a very hard time writing it. Because of this, I spend a lot of time on character development throughout the process.
It isn’t uncommon for me to wake myself up in the middle of the night with a story, be it the one I’m working on, or one I’m contemplating for the future. Stories are always rolling around in my head. It’s just a matter of putting them on paper or in the computer as the case may be.
I don’t hand write any of my stories as some authors do. Typing is my preferred method to write. I type much faster than I write freehand, so it allows the emotion of the scene to flow more easily through typing than writing it down with the traditional pen and paper.
My best advice to aspiring authors, and the advice I gave to my friend… Just write! Give a little thought to your main character, set up the opening scene, and then just go for it. It doesn’t matter if the first story you write is crap. As with everything else, the more you write, the better at it you will become. You can always go back and edit, re-write, or completely trash a scene later. It’s what writer’s do, and that’s okay. Just be true to yourself and your characters. And above all else…Write for you.
(Originally posted 9/3/11 on Earth's Book Nook)
Sherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn't good at spelling, or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author.
At the age of thirty, all of that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending, and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more.
Nearly eight years later, Sherri is the author of eight full-length novels, and two short stories. Writing has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. You can find a current list of all of Sherri’s books and sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.sherrihayesauthor.com.