Monday, February 17, 2014

What Kind of Writer Am I?

By Mackenzie Lucas (Guest Blogger)

I’m what they like to call a Plan-ster. I do some initial planning, then I’m a pantser. I enjoy the discovery process that comes for me during the creative writing of a story too much to worry about planning out every little detail of my book first.



So what I usually do is I come up with the core concept of the story and write a little blurb about it, combining a Michal Hauge and a Bob Mayer type of process. Once I have my short paragraph--maybe twenty-five or so words. I’ll come up with a list of plot points. Things I know need to happen in my story from beginning to end. It’s everything I know about the story. It can be in order, or it can be out of order, it doesn’t matter. At times I’ve done this on the computer then printed the plot points out and taped them onto individual index cards. That way, I can shuffle the points around and move them as I need. These are the tent poles, as Jenny Cruise calls them--the plot points that hold up my story.



When I have my plot points written down. I sit and write an in-depth character sketch of my main characters, usually the hero and the heroine. So that I begin to get to know them. Understand their motivations and backgrounds and wounds. Something I’ve recently added to my process is that I write down each of their arcs. Where they are at the beginning of the story and where they are (usually emotionally) by the end of the story. This way, I know how they change. I may not yet know what changes them. But I see them at the beginning and the end. I’ve also begun to note the arc they have in their relationships with others beyond the main character. Say, for example, the arc my heroine has with her grandmother who is a secondary character.



Then, it’s time to begin writing in earnest. I open my word document (or sometimes Scrivener) and I begin … Chapter One. The beauty of my process is that it works for me (for now). Every book is a little different. And, sometimes, the process changes slightly. But I get down everything I know first. Then, I begin to write from one known point to the next, and as I do, fun and interesting things pop up to make my story richer and bring it alive. This is the part I love. It’s the dating phase. The discovery phase where we know each other well enough to go out and share a meal, but as we sit and have a conversation, we find hidden depths and fall just a little more in love with each other. So that by the time I’m finished with the story, there’s not a nuance I don’t know about the story I’ve just told.



So there you see how I’m a self-defined Plan-ster. ;0)


Blurb

All Haven Jameson ever wanted was to own a little piece of paradise. Now, she does, having established a successful luxury spa in St. Augustine, Florida. But when the property next door is sold to a mega developer and his pro-golf celebrity brother who design trendy, bustling playgrounds for the rich and famous, she fears her dream could slip away. Confronted by her late husband’s infidelity, Haven learns everything she believed about her marriage was a lie; so she finally sets aside her grief and opens her heart to loving the widowed pro-golfer who is her biggest professional competition. In the end, Haven discovers that living a safe, loveless life is far worse than embracing passion and taking a chance on a man who’s vowed never to love again. And that, sometimes, no matter how high the risk, the best paradise of all can be found inside our own hearts. 

Excerpt

Pace Daniels lay on his belly on a massage table, naked except for a thin sheet covering his backside. He rested his cheek on his hands and closed his eyes, and breathed in the calming scent of the room.

Light music played from the overhead speakers, not too loud, but nice. It sounded like a mix of music from India and the Southwest—Burma to Santa Fe. Pan flutes and bowl singing. Interesting.

He breathed deep again, taking air deep into his lungs, and pushed through the pain in his shoulder, the achiness that seemed to stick with him no matter what he did.

It was time to retire. Leave the circuit.

He'd known for a while now. Hell, he was a fairly young man for his profession. But one mistake. One stupid mistake had cost him everything. And now at the age of almost forty, he was facing a blank future. Filled with a lot of nothing if he didn't make some changes soon.

He had no idea what to expect when he'd come to Essence. A pretty brunette had given him instructions today for the massage, showed him the transition room—a fancy name for a locker room—and where to store his clothes and belongings. Of course, he'd had massages before. Mostly by sports medicine doctors.

Essence surprised him. Pleasantly. The atmosphere was different than he’d imagined. He'd expected fru fru and had been bowled over at every turn. The place wasn't just a female Mecca, as he’d feared. He'd anticipated salon chairs and manicurists around every corner.

Instead, the spa resort was a posh hotel.

A serene place. A spot he could see himself settling into to find some measure of peace in his own life.

He let out a deep sigh.

But, no. He wouldn't. He'd move on like he always did.

A knock sounded at the door and a moment later, the door opened on silent hinges. He opened his eyes to see the massage therapist.

The woman who entered wasn't the petite, curvy brunette who'd checked him in, but a tall, leggy blonde.

He stilled as he watched her.

Yes, she was beautiful. High cheekbones, wide, exotic pale green eyes, lush body. But there was something else. Something indefinable. Something more, he couldn’t explain. Maybe a sadness that clung to her that he recognized because the same sloe-eyed desolation dogged him, day after day for the past ten years.

He couldn’t be one-hundred percent certain to what extent, but on some level, he identified with her.

Then she spoke, and every cell in his body awoke at the husky tone of her voice. Sex liquefied. He'd die and go to Heaven if he could just have her talk to him for the next hour in that sweet, sexy, soft voice.

I'm sorry. I must be in the wrong room.” She turned to go.

He pushed up from the table. “No. Wait.”


About the Author

Mackenzie Lucas is a lover of story in any form. She’s an avid reader of genre fiction, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and she listens to an eclectic mix of music that spans from pop/rock to country to gospel. She loves a good story whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension. She enjoys smart-mouthed, sexy heroines, hunky alpha heroes who know how to take care of their women, and plot twists that surprise her, but most of all, she just wants to experience a satisfying emotional arc of a character falling in love and finding what he or she needs most in life.

Mac is a small-town country girl with a world-traveler’s soul. She grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and she’s lived in Dublin, Ireland, within spitting distance of New York City in Long Island, and now in the Washington, D.C. area. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dickinson College and received her M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s currently an author, writing coach, a mother, and a wife.

With Mackenzie Lucas--whether you’re reading her light paranormal romance, her small-town-based contemporary romance, or her steamin’ hawt erotica--you’ll always get a story about connectedness, community, and emotional authenticity, and, at its core, love. No, and it doesn’t hurt that all her heroes are panty-melting gorgeous alphas and all their sexy, sensually aware heroines know how to stand up to them, give no quarter, and love them just as they are.


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45 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Mackenzie!

Welcome to Beyond Romance, and good luck with your tour for ESSENCE.

I have to say, you're a lot more structured about your writing process than I am. I tried doing character profiles once, and it didn't work at all for me. On the other hand, I almost always have a linear sequence of scenes in mind when I stop. I could never handle the index card approach.

Thanks for sharing your method!

Mary Preston said...

I have to say I loved the excerpt.

She said...

I like how you plan your writing. You have an idea where to go but not entirely. The characters still have a say in it. ESSENCE sounds good.

smg5775@yahoo.com

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Thanks for hosting me today! I look forward to interacting with your readers. ;0)

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Lisabet ~ It took me a lot of years to come to the writing process that works for me. I'd attended a two-day Bob Mayer workshop and he spent some time talking about Writing It Forward & The Writer's Tools, both based on books he's written to help writers. During the workshop, he talked about understanding your process. Since then, I've paid particular attention to what works for me, because we're all different. And once you can find what works for you, you've got a ticket to producing the books you want to write! Good luck. ;0)

Mackenzie Lucas said...

She (smg) ~ Yes, having a plan and knowing certain plot points and a direction, works for me. I was just at a Leigh Duncan plotting workshop last week, and, OMG, that woman is amazing. She plots every scene of her book before she writes it. So, if you're a plotter, I think you need to do that to move on in your writing ... if you're not a total plotter, like me, then that kind of thing is paralyzing to you and your writing. So, again, it's all about knowing yourself and how you work best! The way Leigh described it, her plotting is really her first draft. The discovery draft, as I call it. But it works for her. It would not for me. Anyway, good luck. And, yes, my characters take me on kinds of hair-brained adventures. LOL. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Mary ~ Thanks for stopping by today & I'm delighted you enjoyed the excerpt. The book is pretty fun if you like romance. Enjoy!

Meljprincess said...

I really enjoyed the essence of ESSENCE, Mackenzie. I love a strong, smart-mouthed heroine as well. Have a great day!

Naomi Bellina said...

I want to buy a spa and hang out there all day! I know that doesn't really happen when you own a business. I like your combination writing style; sounds like it works for you. Thanks for the contest.

petula said...

Great excerpt.I will go and have a look at some of this authors books.


p.winmill@hotmail.com

Mackenzie Lucas said...

MelJPrincess ~ Thanks! Yes, a strong, smart-mouthed heroine is a must for me. I have lots of other characters who aren't as stubborn. But my heroines are always feisty. Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by today!

joye said...

I like this site since I get introduced to a lot of authors I have yet to read. There is a lot of information here
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Naomi ~ Thanks for stopping by & good luck with the drawing! No, real spa owners and innkeepers never get to enjoy their place of business. It's all just hard work. Thank God we have the fantasy in romance novels!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Petula ~ Thanks for stopping by ... Essence is he only true contemporary romance I have available at the moment, although all of my paranormal romances are a hybyrid and contain a healthy dose of "contemporary romance" features as well. Hope you find something you like! ;0)

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Joye ~ Yes, I love Beyond Romance, too. It's a very active blog. I'm at the end of my tour, and sometimes it's really hard to get readers to comment or ask questions during a tour stop! So thank you for stopping by. Keep coming back. This is a great site for finding new authors!

Wendles said...

I love a good throwing caution to the wind romance where you are guided by your heart. We only live once and should embrace life and take more risks. Loved the excerpt - a small glimmer into a passionate book - lovely x

J Bur said...

Enjoyed the clever explanations for plan-ster & panster. Thanks for the giveaway.

Heather Hand said...

That line in your excerpt "Then she spoke, and every cell in his body awoke at the husky tone of her voice. Sex liquefied. He'd die and go to Heaven if he could just have her talk to him for the next hour in that sweet, sexy, soft voice."

WOW I actually got shivers. Beautiful!

Tracy said...

It's always interesting to me to see how authors get their books written. I love how you only plan a little and then just go with the flow.

Colleen C. said...

ESSENCE sounds great! Enjoyed the excerpt you shared... looks like Haven has an interesting story that might pull me right in.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought a hybrid of plotting and pantsing is the way to go!

Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

Michelle said...

Thanks for the wonderful excerpt ... really enjoyed it...

purrpurrkoshkamb (at) aol (dot) com

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Wendles ~ Thanks for stopping by ... yes, I love "throw caution to the wind romances" too! Hope you get a chance to read Essence!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

J Bur ~ Thanks for stopping by and commenting to win a chance at the $50 gift card giveaway! We all grow in understanding as we journey whatever career path we've chose ... so this is my understanding of plotter/planster/pantser. ;0)

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Heather ~ Thanks! It was fun to write. There's lots of great "hot" sexual tension between these two throughout the book. Lots more opportunities for shivers. ;0) Hope you pick up a copy & enjoy it!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Yes, it is fascinating. I'm also an avid reader, too. So when I'm reading, I don't often think ... how did they do this. But as a writer, I begin to analyze and pull it apart ... yet, I only do that afterwards. Many authors say that being a writer ruins books and movies for them. Not me. I go with the flow. Enjoy the story. Then, I try to figure out how they did it. Thanks for stopping by, Tracy, and commenting!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Colleen ~ Glad you enjoyed the excerpt & thanks for sharing! Hope you enjoy Haven's story.

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Trix ~ I think you're right. It works for me, too. Yet, others need to work it all out first. And, still others, like to know nothing before they jump in! We're all wired so differently! Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by today.

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Michelle ~Thanks for stopping by today! And good luck on the giveaway drawing. ;0)

bn100 said...

Interesting info about your writing

Anonymous said...

Love to see the way you plan your stories! The blurb and excerpt were great, I can't wait to see how the characters go from being so sad to finding their HEA! What a great story ARC! levanmichelle@yahoo.com

Mackenzie Lucas said...

BN ~ Thanks for stopping by today!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Thanks, levanmichelle! The characters certainly do have a journey, and as in all good romances, they do find their HEA! But I won't say how ... and, of course, I want to make you worry that they might not. ;0) Enjoy!

Tina said...

Thanks for sharing your writing process. I love hearing how stories are created. I really enjoyed the excerpt.

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Tina ~ Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Hope you'll consider picking up a copy of Essence!

erin said...

Congrats Mackenzie on the new release! Loved the excerpt :) Thanks for sharing!

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about your book. Thanks for sharing it.

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Erin ~ Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. The full book is even better. ;0) Thank you for stopping by today!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Patrick ~ Thanks so much for coming by today. Hope you pick up a copy of Essence. Good luck on the giveaway drawing!

Mackenzie Lucas said...

Lisabet ~ Thanks again so much for hosting me today! It's been fun getting to know your readers better. I'll check back throughout the week to see if others have commented or asked questions. Have a great week!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Mackenzie,

It's great to have such an interactive guest. I know my readers have enjoyed your visit.

H.B. said...

The premise sounds interesting and the excerpt was good..I wished it was just a little longer of course, lol. Thank you for sharing it =)

Emily said...

What a fascinating post, thanks for sharing!

Booksrforever123 said...

When I was in my English writing classes, I followed your writing style. I'm glad to see that there are more people like me and not just free stylers like I always here about.

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