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Behind the Scenes

I recently read an interview with a musician who talked about how he went through his creative process. I love reading things like this because it makes the person you enjoy seeing/hearing/ PSSST!–reading someone real.

So I thought I’d try to share little bits of my process as well.

Soon I’ll be starting a new book. It’s a little like eating an ice cream cone. Some people lick it. Some make sure they keep that little curl at the top intact because a cone ain’t a cone without the curl. A few people (who use Sensodyne toothpaste) can bite their ice cream. And you usually see little kids eating it from the cone up and letting the ice cream run all over their hands.

None of these methods are wrong. You still get all that creamy goodness in your belly.


Handsome guy topless with whip BDSM

photo purchased from deposit photos. please do not copy.


The way I eat my ice cream–or write a story–is very straightforward. I’ll start by telling you what I CAN’T do.


* I can’t skip around and write the ending then go back and fill in. And I definitely cannot skip sex scenes and write those later. They’re a huge part of the emotional journey in my books and leaving them out would throw the whole book off!


* Wing it. Nope, I am not a panster (a person who flies by the seat of her pants). I need solid goals for these characters so I know exactly what messes they’re getting into. How else am I going to help them figure out how to get out of it?


* Write at all hours of the day and night. This girl doesn’t wake up at 2 am and pound out a scene. I have in the past, but as the years have gone by, I have learned that I have a window of time to do this thing called SLEEP. So I take it!


My process looks a little like this:


The title is just as important to me as a character. Plus, I’m a realist. I’d like to believe I could throw up a great book with a crappy cover and dull title and still sell enough to keep my kids in Rocky Road. But life doesn’t work that way, folks. I think up a great title and make it as catchy as I would like to see if I were browsing a bookstore.


Then I take out these little character worksheets that I made up.


Character Worksheet-Em P


If you’re looking at this worksheet, you’re probably shitting your pants. Don’t panic  or think I’m superhero. I don’t always fill in the whole sheet. I’m not THAT ANAL when it comes to planning, even if I have been known to pencil in a shower on a busy day’s to-do list.


Now I search for a great name. Since I had 5 kids, I have a whole shelf of baby name books. Who knew they’d come in handy later in my career?  (Tax write-off? Where are those receipts?)


Now that I have these details ironed out, I can let myself daydream. This is the most important part in my method. I stop thinking about the book for a while, and pretty soon the characters are telling me their stories. I don’t need to do much besides work out a detail or ten.


And here’s the best part of my process: I usually bounce these problems off a buddy. My friends are indispensable when it comes to my life! Not only are they here for moral support and three hundred laughs a day, but they’re so helpful.


Thing I can’t live without while writing:


dark chocolate

I used to wear a thug hat but it’s too damn hot nowadays (shut up, it’s not perimenopause)

Pandora radio shuffled between country and folksy indie rock


Thank you for stopping by and getting a glimpse of my writing process! I hope you’ve enjoyed and I’d love to hear your comments!


Em Petrova




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