Writing Process Blog Hop



Fellow Blogger Kate Johnston invited me to participate in a blog hop about my writing process. Above is a lovely photo of her and below is her awesome bio. I wasn’t able to find a blog bud to hop along to, so if anyone is interested in participating, let me know and I’ll link to your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kate’s Bio

Kate Johnston was born on Cape Cod, and raised in New Hampshire where nature and wildlife stirred her imagination. She knew she wanted to be a writer when she wrote a story about a good wolf. She thinks words are magical, enticing, and more-ish. Brew them together, and she creates stories. Family dramas with heart and a touch of magical realism.

Married with two children, she works as a freelance writer and teaches creative writing to kids. She works on her novels at 4 in the morning, the best time of day for writing without interruptions.

Her short story, โ€œTreasures,โ€ was published inย The Greensilk Journal, spring 2011. She blogs about her writing quest at 4amWriter. When sheโ€™s not writing, she loves to take nature hikes, bake ooey-gooey desserts, and let her kids beat her at sports.


Myย Writing Process Q&A

1) What am I working on?

Youโ€™ve caught me at an exciting time. Iโ€™m in the midst of editorial revisions for Reckonings. I got my editorial letter May 8th and I spent several days mulling everything over and shooting follow up questions to my editor. I dove into revising last week.

Reckonings is a YA time travel murder mystery. Itโ€™s funny how much of the book remained in my head and never made it onto the page. Thank goodness for my editor, Jessica Jernigan.

2)How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I donโ€™t write female protagonists whose goal is to find a man. They are always on a personal journey. A search for themselves or their family or some greater goal.

I canโ€™t seem to write straight genre fiction either. Everything to date has been cross genre. This is a gothic, time travel murder mystery.


3) Why do I write what I do?

Because there are so many emotional experiences I long to capture and this is the best way I can do it.

I think there is something so intriguing about a world of unbelievables. I canโ€™t help returning to them in each novel.



4) How does my writing process work?

a) Have an idea and add it to the idea folder. When I have an opening in my schedule, I visit my idea folder to decide what idea gets worked on next.

b) Storystorm for several months–building my characters and world in my head

c) Write a synopsis or outline –a story map

d) Draft 1000 words a day 5 week–at about 30k, I tend to burn out

e) Pause in drafting and revise first half of story for a few weeks. Sometimes wandering back through my story gives me a clearer idea of how to move closer to the end

f) Finish drafting

g) Take a break from that project for 4-6 months. Switch to another project

h) Do a round of revisions. 8-10 weeks to get to second draft

i) Send to beta readers for their feedback. 3-6 months to get back their feedback

j) Do a comprehensive round of revisions based on beta feedback–8-10 weeks of revision

k) Create a series bible to keep track of characters, locations, and concepts

l) Final tweaks to manuscript

k) Start pitching/querying

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32 Responses to Writing Process Blog Hop

  1. Harliqueen says:

    I like the clear outline to your writing process ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    “I donโ€™t write female protagonists whose goal is to find a man. They are always on a personal journey.”—Love that.

    Fun to learn about your writing process in more detail. As I read these various Blog Hop entries, I realize that although we all approach things a little differently, we all tend to do the same steps. They may just be in different orders.

    • Aw thank you! I once had an editor ask me to turn a protagonist into a virgin to have longing between her and her boyfriend. I declined because I wanted to show that the relationship was about who they were to each other not about him trying to get in her pants. I think it’s cool to have protagonists at different stages of their relationship journey. Kat’s a virgin in Reckonings because it fit the character.

      It’s pretty cool. There are some major similarities in how we do it. I’m a firm believer in sharing my way, but just as a this is how I work thing. Not as a universal method for others to use. We all have to find our way and get those words on paper–however works best for us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Mayumi-H says:

    I really like how the processes I’ve seen so far are about personal journeys, not how-tos. I also like how you’ve stuck to your guns about your own story, even if it’s been on relatively simple aspects, like the sexual maturity of a character. Thanks for sharing, Kourtney!

    • I think it’s all about finding what works for you. Trial and error helped me tremendously in carving a way to write.

      Aw thank you. I’d say 95% of editor and agent comments have really reshaped my work. For me, making a character a virgin just to create longing bothers me on a personal level. It puts too much value on being untouched and seems to say a woman’s value is all in her hymen. That really really not okay with me and I won’t write anything like that. I want my characters to reflect different stages in the sexual journey. Some are sexually active, some aren’t. I want girls to read my books and realize it’s okay to be a virgin or not a virgin. It’s all about making sure it’s your choice and being comfortable with it. Hugs!

  4. ‘Storystorm’ – I’ve never heard that before but it’s a great way to describe what goes on in my head when I’m building a story. Great to hear more about your writing process Kourtney, but that one especially will stay with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks. I created it to describe the unique brainstorming that is specific to building a story. It might have been a way to poke a little fun at all the corporate brainstorming sessions I was invited to in the past too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks! I wrote a cool guest blog on storystorming last year, but that blog has upgraded and it’s no longer out there. I may repost it here sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Arlene says:

    I have to agree with Andrea, I love the phrase of storystorming too. So excited about Reckoning for you. Can’t wait to get it on my Kindle!!!!! Good luck with the revisions!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Arlene. ๐Ÿ™‚ Me too. It’s crazy to have been on an 8 year journey with Reckonings. So much of me has changed since I started writing it! Aw thank you. I’m waiting on a publication date. Hoping 2015. ๐Ÿ™‚ PLanning to post more on the editorial process later this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Arlene says:

        I look forward to reading more about the editorial process! 8 years is a long time but that gives me hope. I’ve been working on my WIP / novel for a few years now and can’t decide if I should put more time into it. I’m onto a new story and enjoying the writing process (again) but the other story is still floating around in my mind. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about those characters or a scene. Maybe I need to invest more time into it and not give up so easily on it.

        Enough about me, I am really excited for you! Reckonings sounds like a great story!!

        • It was my first novel. The one where you make all your mistakes and try to fix them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I put it aside many times and started two other series. But I kept coming back to it, thinking there was something there. For me, time away is essential. I take a story as far as I can and then I move on to something else. Inevitably 3-6 months later, I can now see things I couldn’t before in the first manuscript. I don’t give up on any of my stories, but I do give in and move forward, knowing when I circle back the manuscripts will be better for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Aw thank you! I am having a blast with these characters. And applying everything I learned in the past two years to make this the best book I can feels so exhausting and so invigorating.

  6. EllaDee says:

    “a gothic, time travel murder mystery”… that got my attention ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It was an idea my best friend and I came up with when we were 11 years old. He still has an old notebook somewhere that is filled with plot and character sketches. It’s changed a ton since I wrote the first draft in 2006, but it’s going to be a very fun read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Your process has always amazed me with its organization and structure. Even though I have certain stages, sometimes I have trouble sticking to that order. Especially if there is a scene or even a character that won’t leave me alone. I should be plotting, but refining a scene/character will win out if I let it. I think that I love the creative stage too much. Then again, maybe writers can’t love the creative stage *too* much. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy to hear about your news regarding Reckonings. Good luck with your revisions.

    • Thanks! I think it’s about finding what works for you and doing it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m more Type A in my approach because I’m more Type A personality wise. It’s just how I do it. I feel more secure in the creative stage when I’ve laid all that groundwork first. Some people chafe at all the organization and structure and think it kills creativity and it might for them, but I find it oddly freeing.

      Thanks! I have to say spending 8-10 hours a day revising is really wonderful. Timing worked out perfectly so I could devote myself to revisions. The story is really coming together beautifully.

  8. Letizia says:

    I love how organized you are about your writing and revision schedule. Your discipline is inspiring. I like that you take a break from your project for a few months and then return to it – that works for me as well, giving me much needed objectivity. Thanks for sharing your creative process with us!

    • Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ That breathing room is essential for me. Pretty much anything I write is the best thing I can do at that point in time. But 3-6 months later–eh, it’s not awful but it needs a ton of work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. A lot of my fellow bloggers are participating in this blog hop. Loved seeing your breakdown in question 4. Those breaks in between drafts are such an important part of the process. Helps you return to the project with fresh eyes and knowledge/experience you’ve accrued while away from it.

    • It’s pretty cool to see what people do with this blog hop. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people that can get a book done in 6 months. I need those 3-6 months away from it and I need a few of them before I can get a book to where it really needs to be. Truly. I wouldn’t have been able to process your beta feedback and take DM to the next level without that break. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Aquileana says:

    I really enjoy to know more about your writing process, dear Kourt… In this sense, answer to question number four is so clear as regard to this topic.
    Your experiences help us to better shape our ideas if writing them.
    Thanks a lot for sharing them.
    Best wishes and Hugs, Aquileana ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Glad you liked the post Aquileana. I think it’s really fascinating to hear how different writers write. Some I’m similar to and I find myself nodding! Some I raise my eyebrows and think you do what? It’s cool to see there are hundreds of ways to write.


  11. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    I’m learning so much about the “writers world” through this blog hop. A clear, comprehensive writing process, Kourtney although I’m sure in reality it’s not always that evident, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Congrats on your book sale!

    • It’s a neat way to learn about it too. ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL. Did I mention I used to write policies and procedures for financial institutions. I am all about having a process. Thanks! So thrilled by how many books we sold!

  12. TBM says:

    Wow, you really have quite the process and know all the steps. Good for you!

    • There was a good amount of trial and error to get here. I’ve been writing for 8 years. It was around the third manuscript that my process really solidified. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. jmmcdowell says:

    It’s really fascinating to see your process and those of my other blog buddies in this hop. I had to bow out because I just couldn’t devote the time this kind of post needs. I’m glad you were able to take part!

  14. I am enjoying your blog hopping Kourtney… Now here I was thinking you just had to type away to create a book.. ( Not really ), I know the dedication and hard work you all put into the process Kourtney and I so appreciate even more the time you take out of your busy life to visit such blogs as my own..

    Much Love

    Sue xoxox

    • Thanks Sue. LOL. Yeah, sometimes people are unhappy to hear about the process and the toiling. There is absolute magic to crafting a story but for me it has to have a structured process to happen. Aw, your blog is so full of inspiration and knowledge–it’s a great place to swing by!


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