Guest Post:- Colette Davison

 

Hi and a huge thank you to MM Fiction Café for letting me come by to tell you a little bit about my writing process.

I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pen. According to my mum, one of the first stories I wrote was a creation myth based around a song. Somewhere in my teens, I decided I wanted to be a published author. I remember telling some school friends during an art lesson, and that they were full of doubts. Not in a mean-spirited way, more in a “hardly anyone ever makes it” way. Then, they were probably right. Indie publishing didn’t exist, the Kindle hadn’t even been invented, and the only way into the industry was via a traditional publishing contract or paying thousands to a vanity publishing house. Not that any of that stopped me from writing endlessly.

Into my teens, most of my writing was done with pen and paper, but now I do it all on my laptop. I use Scrivener to write and do my initial editing passes, only switching to Word when a book goes to my editor.

I’m a pantser, which means I don’t write outlines of my books. Often, I start with a couple of characters and how they’re going to meet and that’s it.

I don’t ever base characters on people I know, although I do put elements of myself into my writing. In Why I Left You, Jamie’s depression was heavily based on my own (I had post-natal depression after the birth of my son). Jesse and Isaac’s struggle with infertility in Openly Yours (Offbeat Shifters Book 2) came from personal experience as well. In A is for Aftercare, I finally got around to writing about an author! A lot of Hamish’s writing process and the struggles he goes through are my own.

I always like to have images of my characters. I used to scour the internet to find people that fitted the image I had in my head, now I stick to stock photo sites so that I’ve got the perfect image ready to go for a book cover! It’s much harder to find the cover model after you’ve written the book because I never manage to find anyone that quite matches.

As I write, I’ll discover what happy ever after means for my characters and I’ll work towards that goal. I aim to write 3000-4000 words a day but can sometimes do a lot more than that when the words are flowing.

Beginnings are always hard. It takes me a whole to discover the voices of my characters and get a good feel for them. In the Alphabet of Desire series, there was a scene in the opening C is for Comfort that got heavily edited, because in the first draft Blake and Corey got very tetchy and almost childish with each other. By the time I came to edit, I knew that their relationship as brothers was nothing like that at all.

I have two amazing alpha readers, who look at chapters as I write them. Most of the time, implementing their feedback is the only editing I’ll do before I reach the end of the first draft.

Once I’ve finished the first draft, I like to let the story sit for a few days, although I don’t always have that luxury. Then I’ll read it through and self-edit as I go along. I find it’s best to use a text to speech function to hear the story out loud. I’m much more likely to pick up on errors that way. Once the second draft is done, it’s over to my beta readers. I’ll often start another book while I’m waiting for their feedback. I pretty much always end up adding words based on beta reader feedback. Once that’s done, it goes to my editor and then my proofreader.

I’m always nervous when releasing a new book. I put a bit of my heart and soul into every book and every character, which is why I refer to them as my ‘book babies.’ As nerve-wracking as it is, I can’t see a future where I’m not writing and not releasing books. I love creating characters and worlds. The best feeling ever is when a reader messages me to tell me they appreciated something in one of my books—that something I’d written positively resonated with them. It makes the (often hard) writing process more than worth it.