Eloisa and Diane’s Writing Habits (Not that those are the same)

I remember meeting Eloisa for the first time. It was in Chicago, I think, and I was just planning to start writing a Regency set historical. I was at the RWA National Conference and I was introduced to Eloisa whose first book, Potent Pleasures, was coming out in hardback. Needless to say, I was very impressed!

Eloisa, in addition to being a wonderful author of great books, is also very generous to other authors, sharing her expertise in all parts of the publishing process. I never met anyone who was so smart at the business side of writing. She is also a terrific speaker and very generous to New Jersey Romance Writers, of which I am a long distance member.

I’m thrilled that we Riskies have had the opportunity to sing the praises of Eloisa’s Pleasure for Pleasure and to have her visit with us!

And I am sure Eloisa’s work habits are a lot better than mine!

I generally allot myself four to five months to write a book. I come up with an idea, usually based on a character. My characters generally appear in a previous book, but when I write that book, I never know what their story will be. The next step in the process is to write a synopsis, because my editors want to approve the story before I write it. This means I have to at least figure out the main plot of the story and I have to dip into the research books enough to make sure I can fit the history in correctly. I also write them the first chapter, which is usually an easy chapter for me. I like to start out my books with something very exciting and that sort of scene is fun to write.

When I sit down to write the book, I never really know how I’m going to bring the book to the end. I usually know the hero and heroine fairly well, though – I could probably sit for hours and tell you incidents from their lives before the book starts, but I really have not figured out “what’s next.” I also have to think up secondary characters and subplots, otherwise it is going to be a short story, not a book!

I always write on a laptop, usually in my den on my couch, although I also might sit on the top of my bed, spreading research books around me. I try to start writing by 9 am and I pretty much continue until about 4. If I am very good, I will go to Curves at noon for a break. If I’m not worried about my deadline, I try to take weekends off.

I’m making myself sound very virtuous. I also check my email, play scrabbleblast, see what’s for sale on ebay…..there are a bunch of ways I can waste time when I should be writing. Blogging, the reading of it or the writing of it, is not a waste of time, however!

I research as I go along. I mostly research online (one favorite site www.answers.com), but I have a brazillion research books up in my “book room” a bedroom turned into a …book room, lined with bookshelves. My bookshelves have only cursory organization. Someday I’ll figure out how to arrange them so I can find things in an instant. Name a research book you like and I either own it or my fingers are tapping out abebooks.com and I’m going to buy it (right, Kalen???)

I have two lovely critique groups who read my stuff as I write and my favorite way of doing things is to take their suggestions and fix the chapters we’ve discussed before moving on to write a new chapter. This last book (I’m almost finished!!) I had to write in only 2 1/2 months so I tried something new. Just write and fix later. That works pretty well, actually. I may do things this way from now on. So I wrote the whole thing and then went back and revised that draft.

I am definitely not someone who plots out everything ahead of time, but I stopped worrying about that when Nora Roberts said she also does not plot ahead of time.

So with this book, I am finishing the revision of my first draft and should turn it in by Thursday. Make that will turn it in…

Ask me questions about what else you might want to know! And, those of you who are writers, tell us how you do it, too, this week.

Cheers!
Diane

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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