Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Day in the Life

Hey everyone, please join me in welcoming our guest blogger this week, the fabulous bestselling author Gena Showalter! Not only is she a fantastic author but also one of the most prolific writers I know, writing in paranormal, contemporary romance, young adult, let’s see is there anything she doesn’t write…? She’s also insanely pretty but such a sweetheart I can’t even hate her for it. :) Her new book, Savor me Slowly, the third in her Alien Huntress series, is out next month and I can not wait to read it!
So, take it away Gena…


1 am – Wake up and put puppy out to pee. Try to go back to sleep.
4 am – Wake up and put puppy out to pee. Try to go back to sleep.
7 am – Wake up and put puppy out to pee. Check email. Wish for coffee – remember doctor said it’s a no-no. Surf the Internet.
8 am – Crack down and get to work. Write. Write some more. (Sometimes 5 pages, sometimes 10)
11 am – Go for a walk, think about what has been written and what needs to be written.
11:30 am – Eat lunch. (Usually something terribly fatty, greasy, and wrong.)
12 – Write some more. And some more. Until set number of pages is done. (Usually 5 pages)

As you can see, there’s nothing really glamorous about my writing schedule. I just write. When I don’t want to, when I’m sick, when there’s absolutely no inspiration, I force myself to write anyway. With the rough draft, my goal is simply to get the bare bones on paper. Everything else can be layered in later. What do I mean by layering? Here’s an example taken from Savor Me Slowly:



First Draft (a bit of the language changed for the purposes of this blog):


“Think you can walk?” she asked him.
“Who are you?”
“I’m your new best friend.” She freed him. “Your boss sent me.”
He hissed, bent one leg at the knee. “Broken,” he grunted.
She glanced down. “Gonna make me carry you out, then?”
“Screw you,” he said. At least, that’s what she thought he said. Hard to tell.
Her gaze slid over the rest of him. Could she carry him? She was strong. Her creators had made sure of that, but. . .



Second Draft:

“Think you can walk?” she asked him.
“Who are you?”
His words were slurred, barely understandable. Anger, confusion and uncertainty pulsed from him. “I’m your new best friend, honey.” Within seconds, she had his ankles and wrists free and was jerking him to his feet. “Your boss sent me.” Kind of.
A hiss of agony escaped him, and he quickly bent one leg at the knee, keeping his foot elevated. “Broken,” he grunted.
She glanced down. . . down. . .damn, he was tall. Finally she saw the ankle in question and winced. Broken, yes. Ravaged, most definitely. That ankle was going to make her job more difficult. “Gonna make me carry you out, then?” A challenge meant to goad him into hopping out if he had to.
“Screw you,” he said. At least, that’s what she thought he said. Hard to tell.
Her gaze slid over the rest of him. He was well over six feet of pure muscle and brawn. Could she carry him? She was strong. Her creators had made sure of that, but. . .


First Draft:

“Wh – what do you want?”
“I’ll tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want you to leave.”
Truth?
Affirmative, the chip informed her.
“I must.”
“Kiss me first.”
“Do not tell me what to do. Ever.”
“That was not a command. Damn it, it was a plea.”
“A kiss won’t change anything. I still have to leave.”
“I don’t care, all right? Since the first moment I saw you, I’ve wondered what you taste like. I have to know.”
Truth?
Affirmative.


Second Draft:

“Wh – what do you want?” Stuttering Le’Ace? You’re a cold-blooded killer.
“I’ll tell you what I don’t want. I don’t want you to leave.”
Truth?
Affirmative, the chip informed her.
She blinked in surprise. “I must.”
His grip tightened, his fingers digging deep. “Kiss me first.”
While she yearned to obey, commands were not something she would tolerate. Not from him. “Do not tell me what to do. Ever.”
His eyes blazed, an inferno staring up at her. “That was not a command. Damn it, it was a plea.”
Everything inside her softened. “A kiss won’t change anything,” she replied on a wispy catch of breath. “I still have to leave.”
“I don’t care, all right? Since the first moment I saw you, I’ve wondered what you taste like. I have to know.”
Truth?
Affirmative.


To me, the second drafts convey much more emotion and a deeper glimpse into who these people are. (Although I do realize that in posting these some people will actually prefer the first draft version) But there you have it. My writing process. I wanted to post something brilliant, but going without sleep is kicking my butt. I'm off to nap.

~Gena

Gena's website: http://members.cox.net/genashowalter/
Gena's Blog: http://genashowalter.blogspot.com/

14 comments:

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks so much, Gena, for guest-blogging here at Killer Fiction today! I love the draft samples you've given. Your second draft would take me half a dozen drafts to get to. My question? How many times do you go through your manuscript before you finally say, "Enough!" and turn it in?

Thanks again for letting us have this opportunity for some Q and A!

~Kathy a/k/a Bullet Hole Bacus~

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how much you plan your book prior to sitting down to write the first chapter. Do you have a complete plot outline and do you follow it? Do you write a page or more about the characteristics of each of the main characters in the story? Do you ever write about 60 pages and wonder what the heck you are doing?
(I have.) Thanks, Helen, the sheep herder)

Gena Showalter said...

My pleasure!

Two times, usually. Sometimes three if the edits I did were extensive. :)

Gena Showalter said...

I never plot. I work best just sitting down and letting the characters lead me from scene to scene. Nowadays I have to have some idea of story when I sell the book, but they are never very detailed.

Estella said...

I love the examples you've given.

Gemma Halliday said...

LOVED your examples, Gena. Thanks so much for coming to hang out with us today!

~Gemma

Gena Showalter said...

Thanks ladies!!!

Christie Craig said...

Gena,

Thanks for joining us here at Killer Fiction. I love the examples. And I love the puppy gotta pee info. I'm sure he's worth it.

Let us hear back from you.

Crime Scene Christie

Lanie Fuller said...

Great post, Gena. I never really thought of trying to do it the way you showed in your first drafts. I'm so bad with description, so it might be something I should try sometime.

Thanks! Hope your weekend is going well. :)

Lanie

Gena Showalter said...

We have two puppies now (one for each Showalter :) so there's more peeing than ever LOL

Lucy said...

Gena - two words for you...doggy door! :-)

Oh, and yeah, loved the examples. :-)

Gena Showalter said...

They are English bulldogs and they are going to get huge LOL I'd have to put up a man-sized doggy door.

Barrie said...

So, am I doing the math right? You write 10-15 pages/day? How many days a week do you write?

Loved the first and second draft examples!

Gena Showalter said...

5 days for sure, Mon - Friday. Sometimes on weekends. Not always, but when I'm feeling really pressed to get things done or am juggling several projects at once.