Hi! I’m Crystal Perkins. My good friend, Tera Lynn Childs and I are taking over the blog today as part of our Sassy and Sexy Romance Tour! Tera is the “Sassy” part of our equation. Her City Chicks books feature behind closed door, or in the case of Trying Texas, behind closed bushes action. I’m bring the “Sexy” with the doors wide open in my The Griffin Brothers series, especially Creating A Love, which I wrote while sick and taking lots of cold medicine. I blame the cold medicine, while Tera said I should’ve dedicated the book to the cold medicine.
We often meet to write together, despite the fact that our writing styles are completely different. We thought it would be interesting for everyone to know what our processes are, because we both know there’s no right or wrong way to write a book.
I’ll let Tera go first:
How I Write
Having now written eleven books (sixteen if you count the ones that haven’t been published… yet) I can safely say that my writing process both changes with every book and comes down to the same thing in the end: deadlines.
My ideas for books can come from anywhere—news, life, TV, other books—and most often start with a situation. A premise or a world that I’m interested to discover more about, whether it’s a school for the descendants of Greek gods or a TV producer who has been exiled to the Texas outback to film her next show.
After the idea comes my favorite stage. Brainstorming! I love thinking and planning and finding images on Pinterest and searching for character names and looking at Google street views and all of that stuff that amounts to not writing. Some call it pre-writing, and I equal parts think it’s a necessary part of the process and a major procrastination technique. It’s probably both.
Once I kick myself into the actual writing stage… that’s when I start hating the book. Things go wrong. Words don’t flow right. Characters and situations and story arcs go awry. I sit there in the coffee shop—I always write in coffee shops—with my music playing, trying not to cry. This is the part I hate, the actual writing. First drafting. Vomit draft, discovery draft, $#!@ draft… whatever you call it, it sucks.
Usually the only way I get through the first draft is by having a deadline. A real, honest-to-goodness, things-are-riding-on-this deadline. I’m aces with deadlines!
When I get past the draft and I’m on to revisions (whether for myself or for my editor) I almost always have to print out the complete manuscript and edit by hand. It’s a horrible, laborious, environmentally wasteful process that I am trying to change, but for now… whatever gets it done.
By the time I’m done revising, I’m torn between never wanting to see the book again and being impressed that I managed to turn that steaming pile of poo into a story I’m proud of.
What I’m Writing
After sliding in hard on my deadline for Trying Texas (see writing process above) the next project on my list is a paranormal YA novella called When Magic Sleeps, which is about a dark fae prince whose magical realm is on the verge of war and a human girl who might have the power to save them all.
Now for my process:
How I Write
I don’t plot at all. I’m a total pantser. My first book came about after I read a book I couldn’t relate to. I thought about what I’d like to see, and decided on two things I thought would be cool.
One: I wanted a scene where the girl was reading a book while at the pool or beach. Hot boy would pick her up and jump in the water with her, telling her he’d do whatever they guy in her book was doing. Two: I thought of a dress. I can’t tell you more, because it’s a surprise reveal at the end of the book!
That’s pretty much how I write, with just one or two things in mind when I sit down to write. I just start writing and let the characters take me wherever they want. Scenes and other things I never imagined would come out of my mind have ended up on my pages. I genuinely feel like I’m reading the book while I’m writing it, so I’m surprised with what the characters want to do as much as the readers are. Recently, I was up until one in the morning because my characters decided to have a fight, and I had to keep writing.
I’m tempted to just stop and read it sometimes, but Tera keeps me in line! I’m a pretty fast writer, which I credit to being a fast reader. I wrote my first book in a week, and now take about three to four weeks for a first draft. Once my first draft is done, I set it aside for at least a week before I start revising.
My revising process is pretty a little different, too. At least I think it is. On the first go through, I open a new word document, and copy and paste a chapter at a time. I look at only that chapter before moving on to the next. I like seeing a piece at a time. Once that one’s done, I start sending it to my beta readers.
For the next pass, I do a “save as” and call it 3. I read that one straight through, fixing and changing as I go. I usually start getting feedback from the beta readers by the time I’ve looked through it the third time, so I make changes, and then send it off to the copy/line editor. She’ll take a couple of weeks. During that time, I don’t look at it again.
Once I get, and take care of the copy and line edits, I read it through once more before it goes to the formatter. He works his magic, and sends it back to me. I check for formatting issues, but I don’t read the book again. No one can catch everything, even with eight to ten people looking it over, and it would make me crazy to catch mistakes. I like my formatter too much to keep changing things. I figure I’ll go back and read them in a couple of years.
What I’m Writing
The first book in my new series, Corrigan & Co. I like to say it’s Charlie’s Angels with a secret society of women. I read, and love, so many romance with guys who are security, but I grew up on CA, and Nancy Drew. Veronica Mars is my favorite show of all time, and Alias is right up there, too. So I wanted to write about girls going undercover. I want it to be more romance than mystery, but the girls in each of the ten books will definitely solve some type of crime. This series also gives me a chance to write about all different guys in different professions!
Thank you to Love Romance Passion for letting us take over! We hope you enjoyed spending time with us today!
I will tell you that we’re rubbing off on each other a little. Tera’s been having all kinds of ideas with no concrete calendar planned out. I have titles, character names, covers, and a schedule for my new series already. We’ll never truly cross over into each other’s writing style, but we definitely influence each other in ways that help us both!
How has having friends who are different than you expanded your views? Or helped you get a job done?