About Melissa J. Crispin
Melissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.
From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it's almost always about the romance.
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Hi there! Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited about the release of my debut novel, Collide, and wanted to share a little bit about the process I follow for writing a book.
When I tell people I’m a writer, I’m often asked, how do you write a book? Before tackling the question, I always start with the caveat that everyone works differently, but I definitely do have a process. I’m a planner. Without a plan, I fall to pieces, and it just ain’t pretty. Trust me.
The very first thing I do is write the book blurb. I didn’t do this with my earlier work, but I never start a new project without one now. I use it to establish in my mind who’s story it is, and what that person has at stake. It may evolve as the story progresses, and that’s perfectly okay, but I find it easier to move forward with the basic framework in place.
Armed with a good blurb, I then start working out the meat of the story using beat sheets to determine the major plot points and how to heighten the tension. I find the basic beat sheet that Jami Gold has on her blog to be really useful. It could take days for me to map this out, but I have learned (the hard way, of course) that trying to rush this piece only causes me grief later. So, it takes as long as it takes and I just roll with it.
After that, I move on to Scrivener, where I translate what I have in the beat sheet to a breakout of scenes with descriptions. Then, finally, yes finally, I start to right the first draft. If you’re thinking I do a lot of work upfront, you’re right. I do.
Once the draft is complete, I edit it to the best of my ability on my own, and then I send it out for critiques. Multiple rounds of editing occur as I get feedback from the critiques. Then, once I’ve tweaked the story a billion times, and feel like it is in a good place, I start to submit the work for publication.
There are a few things I wanted to mention. When I wrote Collide, I didn’t start with a blurb, and I didn’t know what a beat sheet even was. I did outline all the scenes in Scrivener and wrote the whole first draft in there, though. Having everything organized helped when it came time to edit, but I know I would have had less edits to work on if I had done some of the extra work beforehand.
With each project, and each iteration, I try to examine what works well for me, and what will help make the next story better. I ask myself if I can be more efficient in getting to the finish line. How about you? Do you have a process that you follow?
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