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Friday, January 10, 2014

Taking Tea and discussing craft with... Ella Quinn

Welcome back to a new year and some wonderful guests lined up for tea and a chat.

To kick off 2014, it's my pleasure to welcome back Ella Quinn. Last year Ella hit the jackpot all writers desire with a contract from Kensington and since she first shared a cup of tea with me (last September), her Regency Historicals, the Marriage Game series, have gone from strength to strength.

I thought for a change of pace, I would ask Ella about her writing process, which is probably a mean thing to do, because for many writers it is an intuitive process. 

Over to Ella...

Alison asked me to write something on craft. This is a hard subject for me because I don’t really think much about craft. Not to be confused with “I don’t think much of craft.”

I write a quick first draft which is roughly 80,000 words. As my books tend to be around 100,000 words, this gives me enough room to add in what I’ve forgotten or glossed over in the first draft. I research as I go along. I know many authors who go back and do the research, but I’d rather have that part over with, then find out I got something pivotal wrong and have to change part of the plot. I also write down the names and character descriptions of all the characters.

The first edit is a somewhat abbreviated layering technique. I just don’t have the patience to go over the MS four or five times for one thing. During the edit I remove most of my think, feel, see types of words and adding deep POV. This takes time as I have to get into the character’s head and feel, taste, touch, etc, what they do. At the same time, I flesh out my scenes adding details one would notice if in the room or whatever, try to create good hooks for the ends of scenes and really good ones for the chapter endings, make sure all the clothing and words, are accurate (though I write with the on-line OED open), look for repeat ideas or words and write the ending. I’ve tried writing the ending on the first draft, and it always changes.

Next the MS goes to my critique partners. Thank God for them. They tell me when I’ve rushed a scene, make me add more emotion to my loves scenes or other scenes that require more a punch, and generally find missing and repeat words.

After that, I do a final review and off it goes to my beta readers. One of whom is my mother-in-law and happens to be in lock step with my agent. Another is an English lady who fixes all my Americanisms. Once all those revisions are done, the book is finally ready to go to my agent and editor.

If you’re a writer, what is your process? If you’re a reader, what do you think about all of this?   

Ella's latest book THE TEMPTATION OF LADY SERENA, is already an Amazon best seller! (And aren't her covers gorgeous???)

Custom-made gowns…nights at the theater…and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of…


Robert, Viscount Beaumont remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive spell…

For more about Ella and her wonderful books, visit her WEBSITE.

So do pop by and share your thoughts with us on the writing process...



17 comments:

  1. Hi Ella,

    Nice post. I laugh at you having an 'English Lady' to fix your Americanisms, since I have you to do that for me.

    Best of luck with your book.

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  2. Great post, Ella! That second time around is fun to add all the flavor. Tweeted and shared

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  3. LOL, Callie. That's were I'm getting them from.

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  4. It is Nancy. I love editing. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Great post! You've done amazing this year!

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  6. Fascinating post. I like how you explain your writing and re-writing process. And yes, critique partners are wonderful! Google+'d

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  7. Great post, Ella! That's so funny that you have a different ending than you originally thought! I usually have a much different beginning. Ha!

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  8. Great post, Ella. Love your book covers.

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  9. LOL, Lani. I'm constantly reworking the beginning, but the basic idea is still the same.

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  10. The fun thing about being the other side of the world from Ella is I get to wake up to all these lovely visitors. Thank you all so much for dropping by.

    On the subject of Americanisms. As an Australian, I write British English and the first 2 books I had published in the US had to be converted to American English. These days it is a relief to find more tolerance of British English or at least I hope there is... do Americans have a problem reading British English?

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  11. I don't think so. It's not completely British English, but things like somewhere instead of someplace. They won't let me use the spellings, which is unfortunate as after having spent two years in Canadian schools, I always want to put a "u" in things.

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  12. Congrats Ella. Your books have really taken off and become very successful. It sounds like you are very detail oriented with your books. I'm glad that you have support for your work.

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  13. Thank you so much, Melissa! I am very fortunate to have the support of people like you!

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