Bleed for You: Behind the Scenes
I thought it would be fun to give you guys a sneak peek into the process of writing Bleed for You since I'm up to my eyeballs in writing it right now.
My writing process has changed a lot over the years. When I first started writing, I was a panster. Meaning I flew by the seat of my pants and hoped for the best. That doesn't work so much anymore. Because I do a lot of my writing during slow periods at work, writing is prone to frequent interruptions. As a result, I now require some sort of outline to keep me on track.
This usually includes a brief summary of what should happen in each chapter. These are subject to change...mostly because my characters have a tendency to do whatever they want.
For Bleed for You, the outline is 3 pages long, which is a little longer than usual. The story has some important pieces though, so it's important that I noted those in the outline.
Declan has a pretty tragic backstory...and Selena is still coming to terms with her own family history. So I had to ensure that all of that information for both of them was noted. I've also had to do research into adoption law and immigration law and so many other little nuances that I want to get right.
I also write character profiles and biographies. Here is a sneak peek at part of Declan's. But you only get to see part of it today. Sorry! I don't want to give away too much.
Late last year, my friend Naomi Nakashima surprised me with a copy of her workbook, Write that Novel in 30 Days. Let me just tell you guys... BEST. Surprise. Ever.
It has everything from sprint worksheets to character profiles (like the one I posted above) to outline pages, marketing milestones, editorial timelines, etc. Like I said, best surprise ever!
Now that I'm writing Bleed for You, I've ordered a second copy because it helps keep me organized when I'm not writing in my home office...which is often. Working full-time and writing full-time is a LOT of work.
I also make vision boards like this one to help visual the characters. The one below features Declan, Selena, her baby, and Jax (who helps watch over Selena alongside Brady Kaplan's sister Simone). Once I pick a cover model, I try very hard to use the same model for teasers, etc. I like it all to match!
Bleed for You takes place primarily in Memphis and Seattle, so I have little vision boards for both cities as well.
I spent my teen years living about an hour and a half from Memphis. I was briefly signed with a talent agency in the city and did acting/modeling classes there, so we would spend our weekends there. It's such a gritty city, but I love it. They have the best museums and bars. The interstates are ALWAYS undergoing construction though. Oh my gosh. It can be a nightmare during rush-hour in the construction zones.
Declan, Selena, and baby Andres stay in Lillian's former home upon their arrival in Seattle, so I had to take another look at parts of the Teplo Trilogy to make sure I got things right there. Since her house is across from a nightclub that exploded (!!), my vision board includes a reminder of what that looks like.
This is what it looks like all together.
I tried to have all the research for this one done before I started writing, but that never works out well. I end up doing a deep-dive in Google or a legal encyclopedia to answer other questions that pop up along the way.
I can't show you where I work (it's not allowed), but here is a snapshot of my setup in my office. Yes, I do use my Kindle to watch TV or listen to music while I'm writing. It really helps to keep me focused.
For this book, everything from Sarah McLachlan to Billie Eilish to Tech N9ne are on the playlist. The book ranges from really freaking sweet to pretty steamy to sad to funny. It's a whole experience, so I'm listening to a lot of different music to capture certain moods.
My writing goal for each day is 1,500 words. I track it via a spreadsheet in Excel. I write the most (and the best) at night. Once my giant goes to bed, I retreat to my office.