Today we have author Terri Clark with us! Let’s take a look at what Terri says about the writing process.
What is your brainstorming process for a new book?
I tend to follow a loose plot outline that’s based on a worksheet from Carolyn Greene’s Plot Dr. notebook. I use this skeleton to make sure I keep the tension up throughout the book and I like having this road map because it hits all the highlights. I really dislike writing lengthy synopses first, because it tends to feel like I’ve already told the story and that kills some of the excitement for me.
I also do a lot of brainstorming with my husband. If I get stuck on a scene I’ll run things by him. He tends to throw ideas out, some of them laughable, but talking out loud with him always gets the creative juices flowing and between the two of us we can take what starts out as the outrageous and make it workable. He’s a great sounding board and always helps me work through the sticky spots.
Can you explain your typical work week day?
I really don’t have a typical schedule. I work part-time as a teen librarian, so I write around my day job. A couple hours here, a couple there. Tuesdays are my one consistent day off and I live for those days. Usually, I check email in the mornings and get caught up on correspondence, then I re-read the previous scene, do a little tweaking, and then bust forward as fast as I can. If I get stuck, I’ll back-up and edit for a little while before pressing forward again. I tend to spend a lot of time on the first three chapters. Once those are to my liking, I’ll finish the rest of the story in a down and dirty draft. Getting the story down is always the hardest part, once that’s done I love playing with the manuscript, perfecting it, polishing it.
Tell us about when you made the decision to write.
I’ve always written, I just never thought of it as a job. It’s just what I did, who I was. Instead, I went to college and got my BA in Psychology. It wasn’t until I decided to be a stay-at-home mom to my son and found an online writing community that I started to think maybe I could take my writing seriously. I joined a local writers group, found some critique partners and finished my first book, a romance novel. I’ve been writing ever since.
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Well, there’s the obvious: Read, read, read. Write, write, write. And then I’d say find someone you trust to give you constructive, honest feedback on your work, develop a thick skin and patience, keep learning and above all…never give up.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
I just turned in Hollyweird, a paranormal comedy with a little bit of romance. It’s about two girls who won a trip to meet their favorite star only to learn he’s actually the son of Satan and the only person who can save them from harm is a fallen angel working undercover as the actor’s personal assistant. It’s a really fun, tongue-in-cheek poke at Hollywood that was inspired by my daydreaming about what it would be like to visit the set of my favorite show, Supernatural. SPN fans will definitely get some inside jokes, but mostly it’s a classic good vs. evil story and I had a blast torturing my heroines with the seven deadly sins. Hollyweird will be published in June 2010 under the name Tess Clark. Please keep an eye on my website: Terriclarkbooks.com and my blog: myspace.com/terristake for up-to-date news.
Thanks so much for joining us, Terri! It was great to hear about your advice and your experience as a writer! Next week, we’ll have Erin Downing with us so stop by for more Writer’s on Writing!
Terri Clark is a young adult author and teen librarian. Her first book, SLEEPLESS came out September ’08 with HarperTeen. SLEEPLESS is about a teen psychic who’s stalked in her sleep by a killer. If she dies in her dreams, she dies for real. Terri is also part of the anthology BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO with Ellen Hopkins, Lynda Sandoval and Niki Burnham. Terri is also part of the anthology FLIRTIN’ WITH THE MONSTER, a collection of non-fiction pieces exploring the facination with Ellen Hopkins’ books CRANK and GLASS. Look for Terri’s book HOLLYWIERD in June 2010