How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Beautiful Books: The Writing Process

For those of you who write, have you ever joined in the Beautiful Books/Beautiful People link-up by Further Up and Further In? I’ve done it just once or twice, but it’s really quite enjoyable! November, as national novel writing month, shines the focus on your work-in-progress.

First, an update: While I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo, I have been using the motivation of this literary month to apply myself to my WIP, Suit and Suitability. And it’s going well, praise God! My goal is 25,000 words (half the 50,000 NaNo count), and amazingly, I’m ahead of schedule. I wasn’t expecting this, because so many individual days of my past writing life have felt defeating, as I either didn’t write at all, or rejoiced at word counts of 800 words or so max. And, each day this November save one, I’ve written more than that, and with comparative ease, too. Don’t you just love it when the words flow effortlessly, through no struggle of your own? So far I’ve logged two days exceeding the daily NaNo word count—1,692 and 1,715. I am so grateful to God for giving me clarity of mind as I forge forward with this novel.

And now for the fun stuff—Beautiful Books: The Writing Process!

1.    Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
It’s mostly turning out how I thought it would. I had a vague knowledge of what needed to happen to my characters once they reached New York, but having to write so much has forced me to make something concrete out of that vagueness.
2.    What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
This may or may not be the absolute first two paragraphs, and I may or may not be happy with them, but…here you go:
“Yes, we find him guilty.”  
      The foreman of the jury’s voice was deep, level, and emotionless; it sounded so uncannily like Ellen’s father’s that she could almost believe her father was convicting himself. The foreman looked nothing like him, though—short, paunchy, and dark-haired to her father’s blond hair and straight, well-built form.
3.    Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
I am a plotter and haven’t even attempted being a panster. The latter goes against the grain of almost every piece of my personality, so I doubt I could get very far by trying it. Maybe I will, one day, just to see…and who knows? The results may be surprising!
4.    What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
Feeling a deep joy that I can’t really explain, and then telling people about reaching the goal, hoping they’ll rejoice with me. : )
5.    What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
Since Suit and Suitability is a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, I’ve mostly adapted my characters’ names from the original novel, with a 1930s “flair”—Ellen, Marion, Greta, and Everett are my favorites. (If you’ve read Jane Austen’s classic, do you recognize Elinor, Marianne, Margaret, and Edward?)
6.    What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
I have the most experience with middles, because they make up the vast majority of my writing…but I would say either middles or ends. Beginnings worry me…I never know if I’m including too much or too little!
7.    Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
Ellen Dashiell, the protagonist. She’s based, of course, off Elinor Dashwood, perhaps my favorite literary character ever.
8.    What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
Good question! S&S requires a lot of research, being set in the thirties. Let’s see…I’ve researched the Great Depression; Canton, OH (I was even blessed to do that on location!); theatre, Broadway, and movies; secretaries; typewriters; houses; New York; trains; cars; education; fashion (yum!); books; telegrams…to name a few things. The weirdest thing? Um…I’m not sure. Maybe the typewriters—figuring out exactly what model Ellen (a secretary) used and loved. Or perhaps it was the senior play of 1935 at Canton’s McKinley High School that Marion (an actress) lost her chance to star in (it was “Secrets,” based off a movie by Mary Pickford).
9.    Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
Alone. Definitely alone. But I do share my work…though only when it passes my approval, usually after one or two readings.
10.    What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I don’t usually eat while I write; it distracts me. If I do, it’s tea or fruit. Nope, no music…it distracts me. : ) I seem to write best at night, or afternoon. Usually 8:00pm to 10:00pm. As for other writing habits…a bad habit of mine is to have an internet tab open where I sneak to when my writing drags. The guilt steps in quickly, though, and I scurry back before I lose complete momentum. I don’t have a picture of my writing space, but I do have a video! (No, I’m not an over-achiever…I had to do that for an author program I did over the summer. Here is the YouTube link if you're really interested: My Writing Space.)

That was fun! Feel free to join in. If you don’t wish to do a whole post, how about answering a few of your favorite questions in the comments? I’d love to hear them! And if you’d like to check out more writers’ questionnaires, go to Further Up and Further In to see the link-up list!

And I almost forgot! Amanda Tero at is doing a giveaway of four e-books by indie authors, including one of mine. The giveaway ends in three days, so if you’re interested, check it out right away! 


  1. What a fun link-up this sounds like. :-) I've never heard of it but plan to check it out in the future. Thanks for giving us a behind-the-scenes peek at your work-in-progress, Kelsey -- S & S is such a lovely novel, and I'll look forward to hearing more about your 1930s adaptation.

    1. It is fun! When they do a questionnaire about your characters (which is called "Beautiful People"), it's actually quite helpful.
      Thank you! S & S is my favorite, and it's been a joy to adapt.
      Thank you for your comment!