Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

between the sheets: split focus, a frustration or a skiill?

A few days back on the Pink Heart Society group, a couple of authors got to talking about the “Ally Blake method” of writing, referring to the way I always write two books at once – my current book, and the one which will be my next. Writing this way is unusual. Really unusual. As of all the authors I have ever spoken with about craft, I am the only one I’ve met who consistently works this way. (Any others do raise your hands!!!)

Most authors say that when they are deep into a story, they can’t be anywhere but there. Some even refuse to read romance during this time in case it messes with their vision. I, on the other hand, am a sponge. I take my storytelling energy anywhere I can get it. And one place I have always found it is in allowing myself to wallow in the excitement of a new story as I write the current one .

This is especially helpful when the one I am working on hits a brick wall. (the one pictured here I think would go nicely outside my hero's house ;)) When the words are flowing like cooling treacle, and I just can’t stand sitting still and focusing on the same paragraph any longer, I close it, open the other. There the voices are different, the characters fresh, the locations elsewhere, the conflicts immediate, and the next scene intriguing. And off I go!

It also means that when I have handed a book in, done the requested revisions, and sold, I am often looking at 6-8 weeks until my next book is due. To have a book three chapters along at that point is a huuuuge relief. To know the characters, to be inside their heads, to be comfortable with their voices and qualms and contradictions, is such a nice place to be.

When you sell a book, you are expected to hopefully be able to write more. As such, you end up on a merry go round of writing a book, doing revisions, doing proof edits. And these always overlap. As luck would have it, I have in fact spent the past couple of days doing the proof edits of my last Romance. So head-hopping, and book-hopping is part of the game.

And really, when you come to think of it, it’s not that different from writing poetry, or lyrics, or a diary, or blogging to get your fingers and your mind warmed up. And if you can use that time to get a few thousand words of your next book under your belt, then why the heck not!

Anyhoo, I’ve had a couple of ideas for my next Modern Extra, due June 25th. And the moment one of them grabs me through the middle and starts dragging me to put fingers to keyboard, I will be playing around with these as I write this book. So there!

today’s progress

I completed proof edits on Millionaire to the Rescue, my previous romance. This was the hardest book I EVER found to write. The hero didn't want to play (see my Between the Sheets post about characters!), it ended up 65,000 words too long, and the original ending was just wrong. Now reading it for the first time in a few months, I found I really enjoyed it. It made me laugh. And it made me cry. Twice!!! And I barely had to change a thing. I think in the end the hard work forged something lovely. Hope y'all like it too!

I also went furniture shopping, and found a new bedroom suite that I have to have. A gift to myself for selling my last bok methinks. And the kind of thing Hud's Aunt Fay, an important character, though no longer with us, woudl have in her house. The style? You’d never guess… French provincial ;).

word count: same as yesterday...

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end', check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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