Join me on The Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be taking part in the writing process blog tour, a blog relay in which each author discusses their individual writing process, and then passes the baton on.

My thanks to Debby Gies – aka author D.G. Kaye – for inviting me to participate 🙂

Truth be told, I was invited once before, but failed miserably to follow through – things got in the way – you know, life and all that.

Anyhow, Debby is an author I met online and we’ve discovered many things we share, not least that we spell the contracted version of our names the same 🙂  Debby writes memoir, a book form I’d never read before, but now I’m hooked – her first book CONFLICTED HEARTS is a fascinating skip through a life challenged by guilt – something so many have to deal with but so few acknowledge – and I’m itching to get stuck into her second, MENO-WHAT? A humorous look at menopause.

You can see Debby’s stop on THE WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR here , it’s well worth a look.

So, my turn to answer the four questions:

  1. What am I currently working on?

I’m up to my armpits in the second Five Kingdoms novel, which has expanded without prior permission into a full length novel and a novella.

After all the wonderful feedback and reviews I received for THE PRINCE’S MAN, so many popular plot points were highlighted that I realised I had far more story to deal with in the sequel than I’d originally intended. Although I began to write it as one novel, it needed 6 viewpoint characters, and that’s a lot, unless your name happens to be G.R.R.Martin and the book is called Game of Thrones.

That’s where the wonderful flexibility of being an indie author comes into its own; we can write to whatever length we want. So I extracted 2 of the characters from the main story, and they now have a novella all to themselves, which will dovetail back into the final part of the trilogy (or is it now a quadrilogy?) with all the characters in the right place for the final showdown.

  1. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My ideal book is filled with action, adventure, magic, animals, subterfuge and multiple plot strands. Oh, and it must be character driven, with quirky, imperfect individuals, neither good nor bad but caught somewhere in the grey area between.

I haven’t found a plethora of books with just those ingredients, so I write them for myself.

Although I haven’t studied it formally, I find psychology fascinating, and love to explore how characters are moulded by experience, particularly contrasting how two people with similar backgrounds can develop in opposing directions as a consequence of their mental makeup.

  1. Why do I write what I write?

I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and what better way to unleash it than to give it free rein with every aspect of my work, right down to building a world from scratch.

An author friend, who writes humour, once expressed admiration of anyone who writes SF or fantasy, on the grounds that we have to create so much more than writers of contemporary work. In some ways I disagree with him – I actually find it easier to have total freedom to make up whatever I want as I go along. Oh, for sure, there have to be rules, and once made the writer must stick to them, but what greater creative outlet could there be?

Plus, I don’t need to spend time on research – no one is going to tell me I have the timetable of the number 27 bus service wrong, because if there’s a bus in my story, I made it up!

  1. How does my individual writing process work?

My process is changing with each novel. I started out as a ‘pantser’, writing an opening scene and then seeing where my characters took me. I love to write like this; you get a reader’s thrill, with no idea where the novel is going to take you.

For my next couple, I had a beginning and an end, and left things to develop in between. That’s how THE PRINCE’S MAN was written, but it does necessitate a lot of backtracking once the subplots start to amass and need threading into the earlier parts of the novel.


So for my most recent, I decided I would storyboard the plot. Cue one large piece of cardboard (cannibalised from the box containing my new towel rail), some coloured stickers and a whole load of post it notes. It has served as a framework, and was useful for highlighting areas I needed to work out in more detail, but it also proved to me that I’m never going to be a detailed plotter. My brain likes to keep adding plot layers as I go along, hence the absolute need to keep making voice notes on my phone when I’m out and about.

With 4 viewpoint characters, I was finding it tricky to keep details straight in my head, so I’m working on each thread as a separate document. I use Microsoft Word on my laptop, but I‘ve just braved the trial version of Scrivener as by far the easiest way to move scenes around to get them into chronological order without laboriously cutting and pasting, and I love it!

So that’s me.

Passing the baton

In keeping with the intentions of the author who originally invited me, I have asked two horsey authors to follow on, and my chosen victims -er – fellow authors, who will be posting their answers next Monday August 11th are:



Jane had her first short story published in a UK pony magazine at the age of 14, and as a horse-mad teenager, she devoured every pony book she could lay her hands on.  Many, (many!) years later, Jane has had 30 novels published, and work has been translated into 9 different languages. She donates all author royalties from the Matty Horse and Pony Adventures to charity Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Valentine Horse

Her latest e-novella, Valentine Horse, is available from Amazon. To find out more about Jane’s books here.

US author Toni Mari


Toni Mari has been a dressage trainer for over twenty-five years. After closing High Spirits Farm in New Jersey, Toni began writing, indexing and proofreading. These days, she still rides with her daughter, going to local and youth championship shows. Grace rides their homebred and trained appaloosa-thoroughbred cross, Lilly, who remarkably has many similar qualities to Windsong. Visit her here.  

Toni has just released the second book in her ‘Dancing with Horses’ Trilogy

cover and we danced ebook

Do mosey on over to their blogs next week to take a look.

Any surprises in my answers? Or does anything strike a chord with you?

I’d love to hear.


  1. quote: ‘I’ve always had an overactive imagination.’

    Absolutely the most important qualification for an author–and it serves you well!


    1. Thanks Connie – I think we have that in common 😀


  2. Deb, thank you so much for the lovely introduction. I love learning how different writers organize their works. It is no surprise to me that we have more than our name spelling in common. We are both post-it-note girls and I too used to love to be a pantser and have developed my own system of outlining now as an easier workable guide to what I want to write. I also utilize my own psychological analysis (sans PHD) in my writing from my own life experience, in an effort to share life lessons that others can take from. As you know I am wrestling with scrivener and look forward to your opinion with it when you get to the moving back to Word document part. I enjoyed your post here. It was a good insight as to how you work and the ideas you have shared gives all writers some food for thought. I am looking forward to very soon reading your two books on my kindle awaiting and shall be awaiting your ‘quadrilogy’. 🙂


    1. Thanks Debby 😀


      1. 🙂 🙂


  3. Geeze, you are organized. Here I am tearing my hair out, and you just slide right along, all pulled together and everything! I need to take a class in organization! Of course, I would forget to attend . . . :-{


    1. LOL.
      If I didn’t micro-manage my time/life, I’d never get it all fitted in. Just as well I only have animals to care for, not children – horses and dogs are so easy to satisfy with a cuddle and a full belly 😀


      1. Absolutely! If I had kids they would be running wild in the streets . . . I am on autopilot – they bark or meow, I fill the food bowls, and they come climb in my lap for cuddles. Easy Peasy! I am looking for a class online right now. I am not kidding! I drive myself NUTS!


  4. Hi Debby – thanks for a fascinating post and for passing the baton! I also enjoy not being dictated to about word length as an indie, although as much as I like the novella format I’m not sire this is always reflected by readers. Whenever I read surveys, thick novels always seem to be more popular. I’m a massive GOT fan – did you know that GRRM will be at the Loncon sci fi event next week and doing an “in conversation” there at 3pm next Thursday? I’m going! The link is here if you fancy it


    1. I’ve also seen those reports, but when I realised I had 2 parallel stories in this novel that don’t intersect past the first few chapters. but come back together for the 3rd novel, I decided it would work better if I split them. This will allow me to get book 2 out faster, and then the novella which will be priced accordingly.
      Of course, knowing me, the novella may yet expand into a full sized novel.
      We must meet up at Loncon! I’m booked for all 5 days and just trying now to plan a personal schedule from the 1000 events offered! That one is definitely on my list 😀


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