Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What I Like and Dislike About Writing
by Jo Ann Brown

As I’m about to embark on a writing a new novel, the fifth in my Amish Hearts series for Love Inspired, I’ve been thinking about what my favorite part of the process is.
What I like:
• Getting the idea. Nothing’s more exciting that coming up with that kernel of a story at the beginning when almost anything is possible and nothing is carved in stone yet.

• Having the characters appear in my mind and begin “talking” me about themselves and each other and the story they want.
• Writing the proposal...or most of it. See “What I don’t like” below.
• Receiving feedback from my editor. Sometimes she likes what she sees; sometimes she doesn’t. That’s okay. I love having someone else help me see the tree amidst the forest and honing in on the hook and the conflict and depths of the characters that I need to delve into further.
• Being offered a contract. Okay, that’s a duh, I know.
• An epiphany moment. That moment after banging my head against the computer screen as I work the middle muddles of the book when everything becomes crystal clear. This usually happens when I’m in the shower or driving the car. Actually it happens anywhere where my mind is involved with other issues and I don’t have any way to write down my new insight.
• Spending time with my characters until the first draft is done.
• Revising and honing the final draft.
• Seeing the cover. I don’t know about anyone else, but this always feels like a gift to me from my publisher.
Sometimes the character(s) don’t look exactly as I imagined, but when I go back and reread, I see they are so close to what I described. I’ll be honest, when I’m writing I am the point of view character.
• Opening the box of author copies that arrive on my front porch. See Pamela Tracy’s blog post about getting author copies to know what I mean. She said it so well...though I can’t convince my cat to read my books. She’s more fond of the labels on cat food cans.
What I dislike:
• Waiting to hear back on a project. After over 100 titles, you’d think I’d be used to this by now. I am used to it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
• Writing synopses. I teach how to write them, and I know how they should be written and why they are important and what they are used for inside the publishing house, but I still struggle to write them. Each word is important and can be misconstrued with an ease I find remarkable...until I go back and reread the synopsis and realize that I set the word up to be misconstrued. I often think of the cartoon where the scientists are standing by the blackboard with the long, long equation and adding the words “Miracle goes here.” That’s how I’d like to write synopses. “Just trust it all works out” would be the words I’d like to type.
• Waiting...Did I mention that?


  1. I absolutely agree with everything you said--especially the waiting to hear back. I enjoyed the post, Jo.

  2. Thanks for sharing your process, Jo!

  3. Great post, Jo. Newbies wouldn't believe that a seasoned author like you can still get negative feedback from an editor. (Newbies would be shocked at half the negative stuff we put up with.)

  4. Truer words have never been spoken (or written) about the process. I love typing: Chapter 1 because of all the possibilities.

    By Chapter 10 I feel hemmed in. :)

  5. Jo, I certainly agree with your list. As an indie author, I love that I don't have to contend with those particular dislikes any longer.

  6. Jo Ann you really nailed the writer's life. Amen.


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