Susanna Carr is sharing her writing process with us today. She has read romance fiction since she was a school girl even though they were forbidden in her home at the time. She always managed to sneak one in from the local library or from her twin sister’s secret stash.
Sounds like a writer in the making!
Do you tend to write nonfiction or fiction?
I write sexy contemporary romance.
How long does it take you to finish a book?
It can take between 4 to 6 months. I’m always trying different techniques to improve my productivity, but sometimes what works for one book doesn’t work for another.
What’s your usual approach? Seat of your pants? Outline?
The seat of your pants approach was disastrous for me! I’m much more comfortable outlining. There are so many things to think about when writing a story, so I feel more confident if I fix potential problems with the plot way before I start the book.
How many rough drafts do you usually go through before you’re satisfied with the final version?
My first draft is very bare and I focus on the plot, the dialogue, and the foundation for each scene. By the time I’m finished, I have a stronger idea about themes and which threads of the plot I want to highlight.
Then I go back and flesh out the character’s motivations and internal thoughts. Once I’ve done that, I go back to again and work on description and pacing. Then it’s a quick read-through for any errors or inconsistencies.
This isn’t the most efficient way to write a manuscript, but I’m learning to accept that this is my process. I work a lot better knowing I can always go back and fix something.
I usually send my partials and full manuscripts to my twin sister for her to read. Not only does she read romance, but she also works at a literary agency. I trust her judgment and I know she won’t hesitate to tell me what works and what doesn’t.
Sometimes writers get so close to a piece that they aren’t good at judging what needs to stay and what should be edited out. How do you get perspective when this happens?
Sometimes you need to put away the manuscript to gain perspective. Work on something else for a week or two. Longer is better, but that’s not always an option. Once you return to the manuscript, you will know what you want to keep or delete.
What’s your latest project?
I am currently working on a short story that I’m going to put up as a free read on my website. Writing a different length allows me to tell stories that won’t work as a full-length book and it helps me sharpen my writing skills. It’s a fun challenge!
Where can we catch up with you online?
Visit me online at susannacarr.com.