Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Closer Look at the Writing Process

A few days ago, I was asked by mystery writing colleague, David Russell, to take part in a blog tour that focuses on the writing process. The arrangement is that I answer four questions about writing, then introduce you to three other writers who will do the same. Unfortunately, I found only two who were available this week, but they’re terrific people. So, here we go:

#1) What Am I Currently Working on?

Right now, I’m editing a mystery novella and the sixth installment in my Casey Holland series. I’ve been writing the series for years and while I enjoy spending time with Casey, I’m also becoming eager to work on other things. I’ve been making notes for a fantasy novel which I hope to start writing this year. It has the potential to turn into a series but making time for it is my biggest challenge.

#2) How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

Like most writers, I weave my background and experiences into my stories, so in that sense everyone’s story is unique. I have a college diploma in criminology, which might not be terribly unusual for a mystery writer. But what is different is that I became a security officer at age 53, for a couple of years, partly because I wanted to do something different but also because my protagonist works in this field. The training Casey would need is the same type of training I took with the Justice Institute of British Columbia. I worked on a  post-secondary campus but all of the courses, including conflict resolution and supervisory skills, proved to be useful research for the novels.

#3) Why Do I Write What I Do?

This is a tough question and I wound up with two answers. I write what I do because I’ve loved reading mysteries since my Nancy Drew days starting at around age ten. Mysteries make me rapidly turn the pages to find out what happens next, and justice is always served. The second reason evolves out of my studies of crime and criminal behavior. For a long time, I’ve tried to understand why people do the things they do, to try to make sense of senseless behavior. Writing about criminal behavior allows me to explore the question that matters most to me….Why?

#4) How Does My Writing Process Work?

Since returning to full-time employment (now clerical work at a university) eight months ago, my writing process has changed drastically. Although I still write (most of it is editing) every day, I write much less than I was a year ago. I get ready for work as fast as possible, to arrive early enough to write for a half hour before I start my day job. I spent another half hour during my lunch break. By the end of my work week, I’ve put in a solid five hours of writing. At night, I’m often too tired to edit, so I work on a blog or book review. By Saturday morning, I’m up early and bouncing back and forth between more editing and errands, and housework. For the moment, it works although I’m usually exhausted by Friday nights. 

Now, I’d like to introduce you to the two great authors who'll be exploring these same questions. Please visit their blogs!

First is Leanne Dyck, a truly nice person I’ve had to privilege of meeting at writing events over the years. Within the last five years, Leanne has been published in Island Writer, Kaleidoscope, Canadian Stories, Icelandic Connection and Island Gals magazines. Leanne's self-named blog (Leanne Dyck's blog), which she created on October 10, 2010, currently has over 220,000 page views. Leanne is one of the finalists in the Women On Writing Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Contest. Leanne lives with her husband on a remote island off British Columbia's mainland. To follow Leanne's author journey and meet other publishing industry professionals, please visit her blog (

Second is my co-contributor on our Writetype blog, Pat Bertram. Pat is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” All Pat's books are published by Second Wind Publishing. Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook. Her blog is

Have fun!

1 comment:

Pat Bertram said...

Thank you so much for asking me to participate, Debra. It's a good excuse for me to introduce you on my blog!