We invited M&B Historical Romance author Nicole Locke and she is sharing with us about her writing techniques. She also has news of giveaways of signed copies of her book!
Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother's closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly). If she isn't working on the next book in the Lovers and Legends historical series, she can be reached at:
I’m envious of people who can write their stories chronologically. Not because they seem to have a whole sweeping arc of their story because my imagination always plays the whole story like a film.
I’m envious because I think the writing process wouldn’t be so messy. If you write chronologically, it’s like putting away your clothes—in order. You simply pick up one sock, then the other, before folding them together and placing them in a drawer.
But the way I write is by scenes. I’m no sooner finishing up Chapter 3, then my brain jumps to Chapter 20. The way I put away ‘clothes’ is by picking up one sock from a corner, forgetting its matching pair, and picking up a scarf from under the bed. By the time I get to the end of the book, I forgot to write a drawer in which to put my clothes away…assuming that I can find the matching sock, which I almost never can.
Scrivener is a great help to organising plot bits of a story. But the way I write doesn’t help with the emotional arc of the story. I could write the scene where the heroine saves the day in Chapter 20, and I could guess what she is going to say and feel when it happens, but my characters always surprise me as I write them. So, by the time I return to that sweeping ending where she brandishes her sword, it won’t fit and I toss out 7k words.
Can I force it? No, never. I try, but it doesn’t work. By the time I get to that point, my heroine doesn’t brandish a sword, she’s learned to paralyze with a quick jab to the neck.
So, these matters can be fixed with a synopsis and deep character analysis, right? Nope. I always do a synopsis and character analysis, but these are first impressions of the character. They may give me some quirks and background, but they don’t reveal the depth of a person. I can bang out a synopsis in a day or two. But it takes me months to write a novel. By that time, I’ve spent months with my heroine, and I know she wants karate lessons.
So that sweeping ending when I thought the heroine wanted a sword, goes in the bin.
Twice now, I’ve attempted to write in chronological order. And I do well up until Chapter 4, but that’s when my brain jumps to different upcoming scenes. I can’t control or force myself either. So, I’m trying something new this time.
Still using Scrivener, still writing in scenes, but since I think of the stories like films, I’ve broken it down to three Acts, with the large emotional turning points propelling the story from Act 1 to Act 2, etc.
Instead of allowing myself to write different scenes from Act 1, 2, 3, I’m writing only Act 1 scenes. Not only the plot points, but the emotional ones as well. To make it easier for me, I’m writing them in any order I want. I’ve accepted that my brain can’t write chronologically, but I can’t write messily either because it’s not efficient.
Absolutely it’ll take a bit more discipline to stay within Act 1, but this way still gives me wiggle room to be creative. Or at least a room where I didn’t forget to write in a drawer in Act 1, so I can’t put my socks away in Act 3.
A maiden for the mercenary
Mercenary knight Rhain is living on borrowed time. With a vengeful warlord pursuing him, he has accepted his fate—though first he must get his men to safety.
When he rescues mysterious and deeply scarred Helissent from her attackers, Rhain soon wishes he wasn't marked for death. He can never be the man she deserves—his scandalous lineage alone dictates that—but Rhain can't resist the temptation to show this innocent maiden how beautiful she truly is…
Lovers and Legends A clash of Celtic passions
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