Cynthia Robertson recently tagged me to participate in an authors’ blog tour on the process of writing. Cynthia is not only an excellent writer, book reviewer and editor; but also a perceptive critique partner and good friend. She was the driving force in setting up the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop, which I think is one of the best critique groups in Arizona. Her blog is always insightful, so take the time to head over there and check it out. You can also follow her on twitter @Literarydaze.

The process of writing is different for all of us, so here’s a look at how I go about it.

What am I working on?
I’m just now finishing up a time travel, The Tattooed Angel, set in Cornwall, England in the year 1648. It wasn’t a particularly happy time. For those not familiar with the era, the English Civil War was raging, religious intolerance was rampant, the Puritan lifestyle was in vogue, and witch-hunters were the rock-stars of the day. And when American tourist Angela Finley regains consciousness after a head on collision on a Cornwall highway… either someone is playing an elaborate joke on her, or life has taken a giant leap backwards.
I love the concept of time-travel. I even believe that it’s (more than just a second or two) possible. Why not? Time is something that as mere mortals, we don’t really have a handle on. We can measure it, calculate it, but we can’t fully understand the scope of it. And while I wouldn’t want to go back any farther than the invention of blow-dryers, to think about the possibility stirs my creative muse.

How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
That’s a really tough question to answer. Every writer brings their own perspective to a project, but there aren’t any really, truly, new ideas. You can give two authors the same plot outline to follow and you will end up with two entirely different stories. My voice will always include humor and banter, even when circumstances are dire. I try to keep my writing tight, which often means struggling to find the right words. I’ve also thrown a glitch into The Tattooed Angel that you don’t normally see in time-travel. I’m hoping I haven’t hung myself with that one. I guess I’ll find out when I finish the series.

Why do you write what you do?
Like Cynthia mentioned in her blog, I write about what entertains me. Whether it’s a movie, television or a novel, I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction. When I was a kid and all my friends were watching Disney, I was watching The Vikings, Anne of a Thousand Days, and my favorite at the time, The Long Ships. Part of the attraction was, and still is, the romance of adventure, not to mention the cool costumes and scenery. Today, I’m fascinated by how people lived and behaved throughout the years, and I’ve decided that we aren’t so different today than we were centuries ago. We might be cleaner, better educated and more civilized in how we reach our goals, but overall, not that different.

How does your writing process work?
To be honest, I wish I knew. It changes all the time. One thing that doesn’t change is my need to do my first draft by hand on a yellow legal pad. I’ve tried for years to break myself of it and ended up losing valuable writing time because my creative muse demands pen and paper. So now I give her what she wants and life is better for both of us. I also break up my writing time because I think more clearly when I do. I usually begin with dialogue and go from there. And with the four books that I’ve written, I knew the ending before I even started. I’m pretty sure my need to do that is hereditary. My dad used to read the last chapter of a book before he read the rest of it. He always said, “If I don’t like how it ends, why waste my time?” Hey, it makes sense to me…

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!


About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan.!/themodernscribe
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  1. ericjbaker says:

    Good luck with your project. It sounds fun! A friend of mine writes historical fiction and loves the research aspect, and I suspect you do to. I prefer to invent places so no one can accuse me of putting two things next to each other that are actually 5 miles apart or were build in different centuries.

    • Thanks! I like the research too, but the further back in time you go, the harder it is to get accurate information. I’m still waiting to hear from a reader, “Your facts are all wrong, this is what really happened!”

  2. Interesting post, Diana. I love to hear about how other writers approach the craft. I, too, used to read at least the last page of books to decide if they were worth the read. I don’t do that any more, but I used to. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one!

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