20 July 2014

4 Aspects of My Writing Process by Carrie Fancett Pagels




Recently Connilynn Cossette and Charlene Quiram asked me to participate in a blog hop on "Writing Process." Conni was one of the top ten finalists on the Family Fiction contest, in which I recently won in historical genre for my short story "The Quilting Contest." She has also won the Frasier and Genesis contests and writes biblical fiction, represented by Tamela Hancock Murray. Charlene is the author of speculative fiction and YA.


The My Writing Process Blog Tour Instructions:
Step 1: Acknowledge the person (& site) who involved you in the blog tour.
Step 2: Answer these 4 questions about your writing process.
Step 3: Tag another writer or 2 to answer the questions the week after you. Give a one-sentence bio of each, and link to their websites.

1. What are you working on?  I’m working on my novella “The Fruitcake Challenge” which is set at a lumber camp in northern Michigan in 1890. This novella releases in mid September, 2014 and is part of the Christmas Traditions Series headed up by Cynthia Hickey. My cover is the third from the right in the banner, above.

Blurb: When lumberjack Tom Jeffries tells the camp cook Josephine Christy that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake “just like my mother made,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axe man her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And Jo intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. All the other shanty boys join in to support their cook. The fruitcake wars are on! But as their faith (and letters from
Tom’s mother) brings them together, will Jo have to help him face the possibility that his mother may be dying?

2. How does your writing differ from other’s work in the same genre?  I write fairly complex story lines.  There are other authors out there who have some similarities with that. I pack a fair amount of punch as far as historically accurate information into my stories. Yet I also have somewhat of a sparse writing style—I tend to stay away from overwriting a story.

3. Why do I write? I write because God has called me to do it. And He gives me joy in my work. Writing Christian fiction is hard work. I really don’t know who would work this hard if the Lord hadn’t asked them to do so. I have times when He lifts His hands from my work and I take breaks then and often wonder why I am doing this. For Him. In obedience to His will. I don’t want to sound like I don’t enjoy my writing, because I do—I’ve always loved story telling. But when God’s not on board with it, then the process isn’t enjoyable to me!

4.  How does your writing process work? I am normally inspired by real life people or situations, but not always. Once I have inspiration, I pray about it and I let it “percolate” for months, maybe a year, as I get to know the characters and storyline. Then I write a massive synopsis—last one was 19 pages long. I need to learn to write the brief 1-2 page one before I do the big synopsis. I then take that and do chapter by chapter synopses normally.  I work in the morning, from the synopsis, and typically write new words at a rate of about 2000 to 3000 words per hour on a first draft. I work again after a break, reviewing the first section. I always look over the previous chapter to get me back on track. The farther I go into the story, the more time I have to allow for back checking, but I try to keep this to a minimum, hoping to catch that on the next edit. I had been doing several edits but am hoping to cut that to one intensive self-edit and then use a freelance editor for the third edit. After a while, the author’s eyes just skip over things and I’m often working on several projects at once. On a second edit, my word count drops in half to 1000 to 1500 words edited per hour, so I have to allow myself more time. I may end up doing three hours vs. two hours a day of writing at that point, so I can complete the project in a month. I aim for about 65,000 words or so on the first draft of a story that will go to 90,000, allowing for additional scenes and corrections.


I am tagging Darlene Franklin, whose tagline is Writing at the Crossroads of Love and Grace. You can find her at her blog http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/

Darlene's latest release: Saving Felicity (Harlequin/Heartsong) and Colorado Melodies (Barbour)
Darlene's Christmas novella "Apples for Christmas" will release in September as part of the Christmas Traditions series.


18 comments:

  1. CARRIE, I'm SO looking forward to reading your novella 'The Fruitcake Challenge'!!! Sounds like a wonderful series to be a part of, congratulations! I have to say that was fascinating reading about your writing process. It's something as a reader I wonder about at times. I'm very impressed with the amount of words you get done per hour btw! And I totally relate with writing being more way more enjoyable when God is there with you on it. I'm the same with my reviews! Hugs Carrie and thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks, Noela! Writing reviews is same way--God has to be in it for the process to come easily. Hugs!!!

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  2. I would love to read this series. It sounds so interesting. I love all the covers of the books, they are so pretty. oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. I'm looking forward to reading all the stories, too, Danie, and in getting mine finished!!! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Your new book sounds interesting! Great post with lots of details for us "little readers." Exciting news!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. Now you know what I mean when I talk about being in my writing cave or my editing cave, Susan!!! Hugs!

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  4. the way you break down your process into doable portions makes it sound easy--LOL--we both know it isn't easy. Thanks for the encouragement here, and keep on writing your awesome stories of faith!

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    1. TY Kathy, you are so right. But it's like that saying of how do you eat an elephant (ice!)--one bite at a time! Thanks for being such an amazing critique partner! God really blessed me with you!

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  5. Carrie, I love the title of your book - it is so very creative! I also love what you wrote - I'd so love to win this book. It sounds so interesting! Mary Lou K
    flowersmarylou(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I would love for you to read this book, Sister Mary Lou! We'll have to make sure you get a copy!

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  6. This is awesome Carrie ! loved it....
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

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    1. Linda, I hope your writing process is going well, too! Thanks!

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  7. Loved reading about your writing process, Carrie!! So amazing and somewhat overwhelming to this reader - a lot of hard work, patience, determination, and inspiration from God goes into writing a book and my hat goes off to you and all Christian fiction writers/authors, as well as my undying thanks for letting God use the talent of each of you to inspire us as readers!! SO looking forward to reading "The Fruitcake Challenge" and the entire Christmas Traditions Series!!

    Love, prayers and hugs to you, Carrie!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Bonnie! It sure does takes many things to make a Christian fiction author finish a book! Bless you for being such an encouragement.

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  8. Carrie You truly are amazing.....Your article shows your commitment.....
    I can just imagine a fruitcake challenge
    God bless u as you honor God as you write
    Chris

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    1. Thank you for your prayers and blessings, Chris! I hope you will love this whole series!

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  9. Thanks for making me aware of these books. Will make a note and put it in my "Books" file. Also, glad to see something about Darlene Franklin. Hadn't seen anything about her in a while. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places?

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    1. We will start releasing those stories in September, Martha. So glad Darlene is part of this collection.

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