SUBJECT: I was wondering…

I’m regularly asked about my writing process. In a recent comment, Anil asked a series of questions. Here are my responses:

Anil: I was wondering if you pre-write your material in advance, or schedule your writing sessions?

Forthy: This sounds wishy-washy, but it really depends. Unless an author lands a serial gig, our original stories don’t see the light of day until we have a completed manuscript. So I do a whole lot of pre-writing. Fandom is a refreshing exception. I usually write and post a chapter in one sitting. (Instant gratification!) As an example, when Lord Charming wraps up and I pick up Savvy again, I’ll polish/post new installments on Thursdays. So I’m scheduled to play with wolves on Thursday mornings. ::twinkle::

Anil: If so, how?

Forthy: Yes, I have a schedule. I write every day. Usually 6-8 hours, depending on how long it takes me to hit my goals.

Anil: Also do you plan out your stories using a story outline or is it a general idea?

Forthy: I establish a loose framework for my stories, but I don’t outline every little thing. (I’m a pantser with plantser leanings.) My stories tend to take interesting turns during the writing process, and I love those crazy surprises. Let’s say, for example, that I was planning a multi-book series for my fandom friends. ::winkwinknudgenudge:: I would definitely decide where major plot points, character introductions, romantic entanglements, and reveals should happen along the way. But when it comes to writing the individual books, I’ll cheerfully pants my way through.

Anil: Lastly, how do you post chapters with writer’s block, or when the result isn’t up to your personal standard?

Forthy: I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I’ve certainly hit the occasional snag. In my experience, if a scene stalls out, something’s amiss with characterization. It’s as if I’ve realized on a subconscious level that my cast Would Not Do that which has been done. When I back up two or three paragraphs and take another run at the scene, choosing a different course, the problem vanishes. And as far as sub-standard results… well, that’s what the editing process is for. Once you have a scene down, it’s fixable. Tweak it. (There should be a Rule against foisting lackluster drivel on readers. I’m as choosy a reader as I am a writer!)

If you have other writing-related questions for me, toss them in comments. I may answer directly or make them the subject of a future blog post. ::twinkle::

12 thoughts on “SUBJECT: I was wondering…

  1. What sort of writing goals do you set for yourself in the day-to-day? How do you stay on track when other things come up or you find yourself distracted? I adore your writing so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every writer has to figure out what works for them (there’s no one right way), but it’s always interesting to compare notes to see what other writers do. You never know when you’ll pick up a useful tidbit!

      My daily goals for this year involve timed writing sessions… which are like the word sprints we use during NaNoWriMo. I race the clock for maximum output. On weekdays, I have two larger blocks of time established: morning and afternoon. During those slots, I attempt to finish one scene (or chapter) in my current WIPs.

      Distractions are inevitable, but I use common tactics: turn off emails, internet, phone. If I’m distracted in the fidgety & restless sense, I usually go clean the kitchen or take a walk.

      And thanks for your compliment! ::twinkle::


    • … is it terrible that I don’t read S/K fanfics anymore? Which makes my next advice ironic.

      Writers need to read voraciously, especially within your genre. You need to know what’s been done, what’s overdone, what will ever and always make your heart go pitty-pat. Reading develops your sense of story and helps you refine what you consider “good.” Which in turn guides how you tell your own stories. After all, we write the books we’d want to read! (I read a lot, but mostly within the genres in which I write my original stories.)

      On my Goodreads account, you’ll find I only track my manga reading… since I consider that fandom-related-ish… sorta?


  2. This was so interesting! Thanks for sharing!!! (Also wasn’t sure if I caught what you’re working on next, so I’m excited for Savvy!!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there,

    I’ve been a faithful fan of your writing since you first started on ‘Unspoiled’.
    May I congratulate you on a gift for quirky plots and spot on characterisations? Also, a talent for poetry, song and humour, interspersed within your stories. Keep it up!
    I look forward to all your updates, and bite sized though they may be (especially in the case of Lord Charming), each update is rich and flavourful enough to tide me through to the next. It will be sad to see this story end, but our hero and heroine deserve their big, fat, unabashedly happy and fluffy ending 😉

    Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m curious to know what your writing process is for your Amaranthine series. I’m attempting to write a loosely connected series based on a single event, so I guess my question is how do you interweave common elements between the books in your series (As an example, referencing/televising Kimiko’s proposal in Tamiko and the Two Janitors)? What organisational framework do you use? Or do you have general timelines for when certain events happen and when they need to be referenced in each book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a general sense, I know what’s going to happen in future books. So I lay groundwork, drop hints, and foreshadow. By the same token, I know what’s happened in past books. So I make allusions, draw connections, and build on those foundations.

      It’s only a framework in the loosest sense. As I mentioned in a comment above, I’m a pantser with plantser leanings, so I write “by feel.” I’m very much making things up as I go along … WHILE being mindful of the context I’ve established.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your reply 🙂 This is incredibly helpful, and I absolutely love your Amaranthine series and SessxKag drabbles (been a fan for many, many years).

        Liked by 1 person

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