One Word at a Time.


“To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world.”
~Anonymous

I don’t frequently participate in blog hops, but I really enjoyed these posts from Kristan, Julie, and Heather, so I decided to jump in with one of my own. Added bonus: I’ve been missing my book-babies something fierce during this writing break, so this is a really fun way to (sort of) hang out with them again.

What are you working on?

I just finished the first draft of WATERCOLORS, a story about a songwriter whose life goes up in smoke. Eden loses everything in the fire: her home, her belongings, her muse, and herself. It isn’t until she overhears someone wishing on a penny – and makes the wish come true – that she begins to find a glimmer of light in the darkness. For the first time in a long time, she feels like she matters, like she has the ability to leave a handprint on people’s hearts … and so she keeps granting wishes. Sometimes the results are beautiful. Sometimes they’re not. And when one wish goes wrong in the worst possible way? It’s for Wilson, the man she’s fallen head-over-heels in love with, the man she wants to build a life with … and, now, the man whose world she may just have totally destroyed.

I so loved writing about Eden’s relationships with her grandmother, her parents, her boyfriend and his daughter, her old friends and new. Some are strong and unconditional. Others are delicate and tenuous. Each is an important thread in the tapestry of her existence. I’m so excited to jump into revisions soon and tighten up the melody of Eden’s heart song.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm … well, honestly, I think every writer’s work will differ from the rest simply because of who’s writing it. We all have our own perspectives, our own tales to tell, our own way of looking at and depicting the world. Give two writers the same premise and their stories will still be dramatically different. Isn’t that the coolest thing? On a more technical level, I’ll add that I often like to switch up the traditional format – sometimes I alternate chapters with dual POVs, sometimes I write in a diary style, sometimes I include an interlude before each chapter (not all in the same book, of course … wouldn’t that be unique, ha!).

Why do you write what you do?

I write women’s fiction because it’s what I love to read and because it tells the stories of people I’d like to know. With each individual book, I write because my characters’ journeys keep me up at night. Because they plant themselves in my head and refuse to leave. Because they fill my heart with joy and my soul with hope. Because they become a part of me, and because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How does your writing process work?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been one of those organized, likes-to-color-code, Type A people. The same is true for my writing. I always start a new journal for each project, I always spend several weeks researching, brainstorming, and writing character sketches (and yes, each character gets a different color pen), and I always have a clear sense of beginning/middle/end before diving into a draft. But I also believe in letting the characters lead the way. I believe in following their example, listening to their opinions, and taking my cues from them. I believe it’s okay to write even if every piece of the puzzle hasn’t fallen into place yet, because sometimes that can only come once the story has evolved. I believe it’s fine to change course midway through a draft, and – this happened with both SANDS OF TIME and WATERCOLORS – to run with an alternate ending when it lights up your brain with adrenaline on the very morning you’re due to finish the last chapter. I believe writing is work – hard work – but I also believe it’s joy, love, and beauty personified. For me, there is truly nothing like getting lost in the story. Whether it’s drafting, rewriting, or editing, I take it one day at a time. One step at a time. One word at a time.

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8 thoughts on “One Word at a Time.

  1. Omg Shari, I LOVE the premise of WATERCOLORS. Also, THIS: “it’s what I love to read and because it tells the stories of people I’d like to know.” Yes, mm hmm, more of that please.

    Love this post and glad you decided to join in the hop! I don’t usually do them either, but I think there’s a reason this one’s been so popular. ;)

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! The draft was tricky at times – there’s so much to include and I’m working with a lot of unknowns – but whenever I think about the story it makes me super excited. I’m looking forward to starting the revisions!

  2. Shari, I want SO BADLY to read WATERCOLORS. You know what that reminds me of? Have you ever seen the movie Amelie? It’s one of my favorites. But after a tragic event, she makes it her mission to make the world better for others and secretly grants wishes, gets people together romantically, reunites a man and his son, etc. I love your premise and cannot wait to see it on my shelf one day.

    • Oh, you are so sweet! Thank you very much! :) I’ve never seen that movie, but I just looked it up on Amazon and am totally intrigued. It sounds wonderful and I will definitely be watching. Thank you for mentioning it!

  3. I love how much you love your characters and their stories and I love that you’re not afraid to share those feelings with us on the blog. It’s truly inspiring. One word at a time and see where the story takes you is a good way to go if you ask me, even if you do already have things planned out; sometimes you’ll come up with a better idea later and why shouldn’t you allow yourself to go with it in that case? Thanks for sharing, Shari! :)

    • I feel like that enthusiasm is just so important, you know? If we don’t love our characters and stories then we can’t expect anyone else to! :)

  4. I’ve always loved your premise, but seeing it all laid out like this? Wonderful!! It sounds so intriguing and fun, with plenty of room for both romance and conflict. And I can already tell that Eden is a character to root for.

    • Thank you! I think that’s my biggest thing with characters I write, as well as ones I read about — they have to be the kind you want to root for, even when they make the absolute wrong choices. Obviously I’m biased, but I really hope that comes through with Eden! :)

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