The Process

Somewhere along the line writers get asked about their process. About how they sit down and write a story.

I always start with a title. I love playing with titles and trying to find one that feels like it goes with the story in my head. Tempting Adam was easy. I kept hearing that Pink Cadillac song in my head.

Well now way back in the Bible, temptations always come along
There’s always somebody tempting you
Somebody into doing something they know is wrong
Well they tempt you man with silver and they tempt you sir with gold
And they tempt you with the pleasures that the flesh does surely hold
They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
Man I ain’t going for that

More lyrics:

I knew my characters would be Adam and Yvette. Since I knew I was setting the story in Hollywood I knew my characters reminded me of movie stars. Adam St. Eden is a young Robert Redford from The Way We Were and Yvette Giardino is a Vivian Leigh or Morgan Brittany. Auburn hair, sweet face that you just know is all about the sin.

So with characters in mind, title to set me in place, I turn on the music. Soft rock for writing and Celtic Instrumentals for editing. I love Pandora I can set a mood or kind of music I want to listen to. I plug in the earphones and I’m in my world I’ve dreamed of and invented. Some days I hit the zone. The Zone is a magical place for writers where the words just flow through you. You look up when the alarm goes off and stare at words you wrote but don’t remember writing. It is like the story is dying to get out and you are just the instrument to get the words on the page.

I can only write in 60 minute spurts. I get brain freeze after that. So I write, alarm goes off, and I do something else for 20, 30 minutes and come back to the page again. Editing I do in 3 chapter increments. I can do 3 chapters, then my eyeballs feel like they are on fire and I need a break to come back fresh to the page.

What is your process? Not just for writing, but anything that is your passion to do.

Jill James


8 thoughts on “The Process

  1. I’m big on titles, too. So much so, that if a great phrase or title comes to mind, I will create a story from scratch to go with it.

  2. I’m with you, I can only write for so long, and then I have to leave. Recently I’ve been writing at night, I seem to be able to stick with it longer, then during the day. With Nano looming and my commitment to it, I had to find a better time to write then during the day…Early mornings also work for me. I write during a time when the world is quiet. No distractions, like the phone, cat, hubby or the mail person. I get distracted way to easily…

  3. I have to write the story with no plotting for the first 20k words. Then I feel like I know my characters enough to plot a few major points. After I write the novel, I make up the title. Then onto five million rounds of edits:)

  4. OOH Jill! I use music when I write – I have a playlist for each ms and my last ms had a scene that was inspired by a song and I wrote the whole book around it. I hadn’t heard about Pandora but baby it’s cool!

    I write whenever I can and wherever I can.

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