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Monday, December 30, 2013

My Writing Process - Debra St. John

Today, I’m participating in the “My Writing Process” blog tour, where writers take turns answering questions about their writing process. I’d like to thank Jennifer Wilck for inviting me to participate. Last week, she answered questions, and you can find her answers here Jennifer and I are blogging buddies over at Heroines With Hearts.

I'd love to say I have a tried and true writing process. But unfortunately I don't. I write whenever I have the time, which lately hasn't been often enough, but I do have some irons in the fire.

What am I working on?
Let's just say it's a relief to actually be able to say I am working on something these days. I've been in a long, long drought. Right now I'm working on the 'picky' edits for a manuscript I plan on submitting to my editor at TWRP around the beginning of the year. Last week I printed out the mss so I had a paper copy to read through and made some notes and changes. I'm currently in the process of transferring those notes to the computer version. After that I need to go through and do specific edits, like searching for all of the times I used the word 'felt'. Or the word 'that'. Or the phrase 'to him' or 'to her'. Etc. Etc. Etc. I also need to add about 5,000 words to the story in order for it to qualify for print. At first I was stumped as to how to do this, but since the story has been with me these days, I am finding my muse is churning out some options. I also have a WIP titled "One Great Night" that I'm dabbling with every once in a while. At this point I'm not sure if it will be a full-length or a novella.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The above mentioned mss is somewhat of a twist on the traditional theme of a heroine falling for an ex's brother or the hero falling for an ex's sister or so on. In "Family Secrets" my hero and heroine used to be in-laws. The heroine's deceased husband and the hero's ex-wife were brother and sister. It's the heroine's emotional attachment to her husband's family that causes much of the internal conflict in the story.

Why do I write what I do? I cut my romance teeth so to speak on the Harlequin American line when I was in high school. Every month four new shiny silver paperbacks arrived on my doorstep. It usually took all of four days to get through them. So I guess it's only natural that my writing preferences mirror my reading preferences.

How does your writing process work? Since I don't work in the summer I tend to get most of my writing done then. In general I start writing the beginning of a story, but then jump around as ideas hit me. Many times I have the ending written before the middle. This, of course, involves some revisions as I get to know my characters better, but I'm definitely not a start at the beginning and power through to the end writer. I'm all over the place. Once a mss is done, I let it sit for a couple of days and then start to tackle edits and revisions. I do like editing from a paper copy to start with. Then, as I mentioned above, I do many rounds of edits to look for different things each time. Once I think I have it ready to go, I do another complete read through and then send a query and synopsis off to my editor.

And I guess that's my writing process in a nutshell!

So thanks again to Jennifer Wilck for inviting me along on this blog hop! And thanks to Christine Verstraete for switching days with me so I could use her Monday spot!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


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  1. Hi Debra, so glad you participated in this blog hop. I love learning the different processes used by different writers. Good luck with the manuscript.

  2. Sounds like you're making great progress, Debra! That's not easy with a full time job.
    Happy New Year With Many Sales!

  3. Thanks Morgan, the progress is slower on some days than others, but it's nice to be at it again at least!

    Happy New Year and many sales to you, too!