authors · books · novels · romance · writers · writing · writing tips

The writing process, and other writerly questions

helena fairfax
Walking in the snow

I’m doing a post with a difference today.  It’s Monday, for a start, and any of my regular followers (and if that’s not you, by the way, then please sign up!  Theres nothing to lose.  Well, you’ll lose a little time – but just read my fabulous posts and think of the rewards!)  Anyway, as I was saying, any of my regular followers will know that I ALWAYS post on Tuesdays and Fridays.  It’s not that I don’t like Mondays.  Mondays are OK as a day, now that I write.  I wasn’t very keen on them when I had to get up in the small hours and drive through snow to a stressful job in a factory, but now I can walk through snow with my dog and then sit down and write, and Mondays have become pretty cool.

So, why am I here today?  Well, I wouldn’t do this for anyone else, but my great author friend JQ Rose has asked me to take part in a blog tour this week.  You can link back to her page and discover other authors who are participating today.  You’ll also find out JQ’s hilarious answers to the following questions, which JQ is now asking me.

So here we are, with JQ’s questions and my answers!

1. What are you working on right now?
Well, I’m not working on anything right now, JQ, because I’m here with you talking!  But when I’ve finished this post I’m rushing straight back to my WIP, which I’ve almost finished.  I’ve been working on my manuscript for many hours a day these past few weeks, and at the moment I like what I’ve written.  (My feelings for my writing go up and down enormously, so I’m rolling with the postive vibes at the moment.)  I don’t really like to talk too much about a novel until I’ve written The End, but basically it’s a romance (no surprise there, says JQ!), but a longer one than my previous novels.  It features a young widow and her child, and her growing love for an old friend of her deceased husband
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
My heroine works with disadvantaged teenagers, having come from a troubled background herself.  Although the story is a romance, it focuses a lot on the growing class divide we have here in the UK.  If you are born into a certain background, it’s very difficult to escape your fate – despite what our politicians would have us think.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I enjoy reading and writing romances because they are positive.  Romances show us the good in life.  If heroes and heroines are flawed, they come to learn from their mistakes through the course of a novel.  Some people might say that romances are unrealistic, but I feel that if we are constantly held up to positive images it can only do good – in the same way that a constant diet of violent images can have a negative effect.
4. How does your writing process work?
Before I begin writing a romance I ask myself this question:  ‘What is the source of the conflict between the hero and heroine?’  There has to be some emotional conflict keeping the two lead characters apart until the very last page.  Once I’ve worked this out, then I can begin to draw up the situations that force the hero and heroine together  – even though they are not together emotionally.
Thanks for asking me your searching questions, JQ!  Now I’m supposed to ask three more people next week, so I’ll try and get on to that – once I’ve finished looking at my WIP!
In the meantime, you can check out the following authors who are all answering the same questions:

Thanks for visiting and checking out my writing process.  Do you enjoy reading romances as much as I do?  Do you find them unrealistic?  Or do you agree that they hold out a positive view of life? 

If you have any questions or comments at all, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

19 thoughts on “The writing process, and other writerly questions

  1. What a fun interview. Love your sense of humor. Occassionally I read a romance and enjoy them because they life my spirtis when two people overcome immense obstacles to be together. I think we all need a little romane in our lives. Congrats, and best of luck.


    1. Thanks Margaret! The conflict is absolutely key in a romance, and probably key in all other genres (I can’t say for sure as I don’t write anything else but romance :) ) Anyway, one good lesson I’ve learned is “Get the conflict down and rack it up.” That way you get readers turning the pages. I’ve tried to make thsi work as best I can. Thanks for coming by, Margaret!


  2. I enjoyed the post Helena and I agree conflict is essential in a romance novel. I remember one well known author saying that she also thought of the very worst thing that could happen to a hero or heroine and then she worked this into the conflict too. I love to read romance as I find romance novels inspirational as well as entertaining.


    1. I’ve heard that tip too, Tina! Thanks for reminding me of it. I need to up the conflict in my present WIP, so that’s a good idea. I’m going to think that one through this evening! Thanks for coming by – that’s been a very useful comment! (But not for my poor heroine :) )


    1. Hi Susan, I took that photo last year. It hasn’t started snowing yet here in Yorkshire, but the weathermen say snow is due soon :( I don’t write enough in the day, and I’m also quite a slow writer. My resolution for 2014 is to improve in both these areas! Thanks for coming by, Susan


  3. Love the picture, Helena. We’ve finally gotten great colored leaves here in north Texas. Nothing like in New England or where you live I imagine, but these are really nice.
    I’m so impressed that you knew straight off about the conflict thing. One of the first few times of entering chapters of my first book in contests, several very kind judges suggested I need to take a course in GMC. I did not know what that stood for! So good for you for getting that concept first off. Thanks for the pointer to my post. It will show up on Thursday.


    1. Hi Marsha, thanks for your great comment. I wish I could say I “got” conflict straight off, but it was a long learning process! Now it’s the key for me. I’m looking forward to your post on Thursday!


  4. Great post. You were having fun with this and I’m glad! Thanks for participating in this odd blog tour. I don’t know if that is really the name for it or not, but it is like no other blog tour I have ever joined. Conflict IS in every plot I think otherwise it would be a boring read. Love your dog picture.


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