How exciting to be part of the Cozy Cat Chronicles. For my first contribution I decided to write about my writing process.
When my co-author and I visit groups to talk about our historical mystery “Letters from Brackham Wood” our audience members are always interested in how we write. I have probably read 54 books on writing. Do any of them describe my process? Nope!
Since Margaret and I write historical mysteries, historical research is a big part of the process. What we write about didn’t happen (that we know of), but we want it to have been possible. Letters From Brackham Wood is a series of letters between two cousins which begin in 1937 and continue through WWII. We have been asked repeatedly where we found the letters. When this happens we proudly puff out our chests and announce that we actually wrote them. Some questioners are shocked and one woman was angry. “Well,” she said: “I thought they were real letters and so did my sister and she is sitting right here beside me.” They both scowled at us. I wanted to appease her by saying that perhaps we were wrong, and she was right.
My writing process on that book was to read the latest letter from the fictional Margaret. Both my fictional character, Moira, and I were sometimes shocked by its contents. Together Moira and I processed the new information and then reacted. Sometimes it took several days.
As I work on our second novel, Moira occasionally wakes me up at 4:00 a.m. with an urgent need to have me write something. I have learned to obey her the hard way. When I wait until the next morning to put down her words, she becomes as silent as a sullen teenager.
Those inspirations are great but rare. Most of the time I sit down at the keyboard and begin. Something always comes out of that; even if it takes a lot of polishing later.
And then there are the times that I must force myself to set my fingers on the keyboard, close my eyes and begin typing, which results in what I call ‘verbal diarrhea’. It takes a lot of cleaning up later but at least I have something to work on.