Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Idea to Completion: The Birth of a Novel

On a recent discussion on facebook, I was asked to talk a little bit about my writing process. I thought this was an interesting topic, because the path from idea to finished book is unique for each author. Sometimes it’s unique for each story. I thought I’d share with you today the process of how I came up with the idea for my latest release, Velvet Steel, and how I developed that idea into the story that released on January 17th.

Every writer has different things that inspire their muse. My muse likes to have drinks with my husband. :p After a couple of glasses of wine we end up having these odd conversations. After a few more drinks we end up making outrageous dares of one another. The idea for Velvet Steel came from a dare I made my husband to come up with the most outrageous title for a story in publishing history. He thought for about five seconds before he said “Velvet Steel.”

I said the idea had potential, but what would the story be about? He said that it would be about a steel company owned by the Velvet family.

It was in that moment that Velvet Steel was born.

I wrote the idea down in the “idea” folder on the computer, and for the next month I rolled the concept around in my subconscious.

Then Loose Id had a submissions call for “Battle of the Sexes” themed stories. These were stories where the hero and heroine were at odds throughout the story. Whether it was competing companies, opposing teams, or opposite sides of an issue, they wanted stories where the main characters were locked in a battle.

I had my conflict. What if the owners of Velvet Steel were at odds with a competing company?

After some more thought, I had the characters in my head. I headed over to babynames.com and found names for my characters. I knew I wanted it to be a ménage, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the two male leads needed to have a relationship of their own. I thought about the story some more, and then plotted it out.

From here on in, my writing process is always the same for every book. After plotting, I know about how long it is going to be and then fit it into my writing schedule. When it comes time to draft (which can be anywhere from two weeks to one year later), I go over the plot and do what is known as a “fast draft.” Here I write as much as I can, as fast as I can. The idea is to just get the story out on paper. It’s messy, very messy. There are plot holes and character inconsistencies. Half the time my characters are just talking heads, no personality, no spark. Depending on the length, this could take me anywhere from one day (~5k) to a month (~50k).

Then, if I’m not under deadline, I let it sit for at least a week. This is important, because I don’t want to be too close to the story when I start the edits.

I make a first pass of the story. This is where the real work begins. I add description and setting. I give the characters personality and smooth my transitions. I fix dialogue and mannerisms. I layer in foreshadowing and symbolism, then fix inconsistencies. Depending on length, this can take anywhere from three days to one month.

Then I make a final pass. Here the reading is smoother and I fix spelling, grammar, and any small stuff I missed the first time around. Then I format according to the publishing house’s style and voila! It’s finished.

From start to finish, it takes me ~4 weeks to write a 20-30k novella, and 6-8 weeks for a category length novel. Single title stories take me about 10 weeks to complete. If I’m not under deadline, I’ll work on three stories at a time: one in edits, one in drafting, and one in the plotting stage. If there’s a deadline then I’ll work on one story exclusively.

So there you have it. This is how I write. I should add that this is how I write NOW. Writing habits can change over time. My process in 2012 isn’t the same process I had in 2011, or 2010. As my career evolved my process changed to meet the changing demands. I’m constantly tweaking the process to make it fit changes in lifestyle or my career plan. I’m sure if you ask me a year from now what my process is, it will be slightly different from the plan I’ve outlined today.

What do you think? Does it make sense or do you think I’m nuts? :p If you’re a writer, do you have a similar method? Where do you get your ideas?

In the meantime, here’s a little bit about my new release, Velvet Steel…



Love Immortalized, Destinies Fulfilled





Velvet Steel

ISBN: 978-1-61118-737-3

Available from Loose Id

BLURB:

Shane and Noah set out to seduce Kitty Velvet into selling them her family’s struggling steel company on their terms. They plan a weekend of deception and sexual adventure to convince her to give up the business she had spent her life keeping afloat. As they begin their passionate getaway, things don’t go as planned. Instead of putting their rival out of business, they gain deeper feelings for the feisty blond – and for each other. With their world upside down, Shane and Noah must now decide if business ambitions are worth losing a chance at something bigger than money, and more precious than owning a steel empire.

Kitty has worked hard to keep Velvet Steel afloat, but changing technologies and the growth of their rivals have made the company’s continued viability almost impossible. As she embarks on an erotic weekend to distress and regroup, she develops feelings for two strangers who turn out to be the very men who had made her life a living hell for the past year. Is saving her family business worth losing her only chance at love?

EXCERPT:

“Well, Ms. Kitty, would you like to dance?” Shane asked.

“Don’t be silly, Shane, of course the lady would like to dance.” Noah stood, blocking her view of the dance floor. “She wouldn’t be here otherwise, would she?”

Kitty agreed. “You want me to dance with both of you?”

“Would you prefer only one of us?” Shane’s eyes twinkled with mischief.

“I --” She shifted her gaze between the men. While Shane was broad and rugged, Noah was long and lean. Black hair, cut on the short side, curled around his ears and gave him a scholarly appearance. There was nothing scholarly about his body, however. Hard and chiseled, Noah looked like one of those international soccer players she liked to watch during the World Cup.

“I’ve heard dancing with two men can be more…stimulating.” Noah’s voice trickled over her like a caress. “Isn’t that right, Shane?”

Kitty noticed how Noah’s voice hardened on his friend’s name and stifled a wince. How could she be such an idiot? She had probably offended them. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to --”

Shane glanced at his friend and frowned. “No, we are the ones who are sorry.” He removed his fingers from her thigh and smiled. “A beautiful lass like you probably has a man waiting for her.”

“No, no man.”

“Good.” Shane’s features softened as he brushed her cheek with his knuckle. “Then you have no excuse not to dance” -- he flicked his gaze to Noah -- “with both of us.” He returned his attention to her. “Come on.” He stood and held out his hand.

This was so sudden. Kitty had a ritual. First she’d have her martini and evaluate the crowd; then she’d pick out someone who seemed nonthreatening. Then she’d approach him and offer to buy him a drink.

“Come on.” Shane winked and tugged her to her feet. “I promise you won’t regret it.”

Kitty stared at Shane’s back as the men led her away from the table. This whole thing seemed surreal. Taboo was infamous for its sexually charged atmosphere. Stepping on the dance floor was like taking part in an orgy without actually having sex. No, sex was saved for the reserved areas and VIP rooms upstairs. The dance floor was for displaying a person’s sexual prowess and for capturing a lover for the evening.

Soon she would be joining the erotic fray -- with two dance partners. The thought of the three of them pressed close together caused her skin to tingle with anticipation. It would be different. Exciting. Just what she needed to forget about her father and Velvet Steel.

Shane dropped her hand and started to move. Kitty stood, stunned at the large man’s gracefulness. Shane seemed like he had been born on the dance floor.

Noah stepped up from behind and touched her shoulder. “Go on, don’t be shy.”

Kitty closed her eyes and concentrated on the techno beat, letting it infuse her body. Gradually the weight of the world fell away, and she became light-headed. She tilted her head back and lifted her arms in silent salutation to the strobe lights above.

First she swayed her hips. When she found the rhythm, she swished her arms in time to the music. It was divine. She let the music lift her spirit up into the rafters and blank her mind to all but the steady thrum of the beat.

Shane snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her close. She could tell it was Shane because his broad chest surrounded her in heat and sexual energy. Noah’s thinner frame could never pull off such a feat. She felt good in Shane’s arms. Safe. Her position as the CEO’s daughter had forced her to have a tough-as-nails attitude, but now, with these men close to her, Kitty felt herself letting go, becoming more malleable, submissive. She wanted to lean into all that hard muscle and cocoon herself away from the world, if only for a little while. Kitty molded her body against his and let herself become lost in the music.

Shane’s grip tightened. “You smell like cherries.” He slipped his knee between her legs.

“My shampoo.” What made her say that? It didn’t matter. She pressed her breasts harder against his chest. She could feel the rise and fall of his chest. It felt so intimate. Their hips began to move as one. Heat poured through her body as she rubbed her thighs against the rough fabric of his jeans. She imagined herself, legs spread, his hard cock thrusting deep inside her body. Would he be gentle like the man she’d found the last time she was in the club? She hoped not. All week Kitty had had to make tough decisions for work. Tonight she wanted to be controlled and dominated. She didn’t want to have to think.

Shane leaned forward and traced the rim of her earlobe with his tongue. “You taste good enough to eat.”

Another hard body pressed against her back. “Let me try, Shane.” Noah kissed the base of her neck. Kitty moaned as liquid heat shot through her center and settled between her thighs. How did these men know just what she wanted? Kitty's skin tingled as every inch came into contact with hard, male muscle. She felt as if she were drowning in testosterone, and God help her, she loved it.

“You’re right. She is sweet.” Noah repeated the kiss, this time letting his tongue linger on her skin. “She purrs just like a kitten too.”

Kitty’s lower abdomen clenched, and her thighs became damp with need. She closed her eyes and bit back a groan as Noah’s lips once again brushed her skin.

“How interesting.” Shane inched his hand down until it rested on her hip. “I wonder if you can make her purr louder so I can hear it better over the music.”

“It would be my pleasure.” Noah wrapped his hand around her middle and slid his fingers under her top.

Kitty opened her eyes in surprise. His touch felt warm, much warmer than she'd expected in the air-conditioned club. She held her breath as Noah eased his hand under her bra.

"Oh, Shane, you need to feel this," he said.

Shane arched his brow and leaned back to study her face. "Too much for you, lass?"

Kitty slowly shook her head. It wasn't too much to have these two men surrounding her. In fact, it felt just right.

Shane smiled. "Good, because Noah and I are just beginning."
_______________________________________________
Suzanne Rock Bio:

After over a decade in the scientific world, Suzanne needed a creative outlet. She tried scrap booking, cooking, crocheting, painting, and piano, none of which held her interest for very long. Then one of her friends suggested writing. Thrilled with the idea of creating her own worlds, she opened up her lap top and never looked back.

When Suzanne’s not writing, she can be found playing with her two daughters, testing her husband’s latest kitchen creations, or curled up with her favorite romance novel in her central Massachusetts home.
 
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2 comments:

  1. I would love to read this one. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

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  2. I LOVE to learn how a writer creates. The path of a story is inspiring. Love the sound of this book and will definitely be adding it to my wishlist.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

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