Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark #2)
by C.C. Hunter
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Guest Post with C.C. Hunter
What is your process like for starting a new book or series, even if it’s related to previous ones?
Before I ever start writing a new book or series, I first need to get to know my characters. Some authors make character charts, and answer tons of questions. I’m not a chart person. And while I don’t answer questions on paper. I do ask a lot of questions. I know it sounds crazy, but I kind of spend some time asking my characters questions. Who are you? What do you want? What was the worst thing that has ever happened to you? What are you afraid of? Who in your life has disappointed you the most? Who have you loved and lost?
I am a character-driven writer. That means that my story stems first from character and it is the character who drives the plot. Some writers are plot-driven and before they have the character, they know their plot. Then they seek out a character who will best suit their plot. I seek out a plot that will best suit my character. One type is not really better than the other. It’s simply a slightly different approach to storytelling.
Once I have gotten a few answers from these characters, I will spend about two weeks living with them in my head. At night when I close my eyes, I don’t go right to sleep. Oh, no, that’s when I’m working the hardest. Sometimes I’m awake for hours. And it’s not just in bed where I do this. I’ll do it when I’m alone in a car driving. Oh, I miss a lot of my turns when I’m really deep into a scene.
Or maybe when I go sit in my hot tub alone. I conjure up different scenarios, envisioning a variety of scenes in which my story people are tested to see if I really know them, if the plot and character really go together. Sometimes these scenes will show up in my book. Sometimes a scene is simply background information that helps me flesh them out. Sometimes they don’t work and I toss them out like leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator too long.
But only after I have a sense of who this character is will I sit down at my computer and start my story. Even as I write, I’m still discovering secrets of these people. But at least when I type out Chapter One, I have a good idea of the journey my character is about to embark on.
Do you have a playlist for writing?
I love music. I really do. But I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m writing. The words in the song get scrambled up with the words in my head. I’m a very auditory type of learner and writer. Some writers see their stories, I hear and feel my stories. And if I hear lyrics, those words blend with my story words, and I’m likely to start typing out those words. I admit it. I’m a little strange.
Do you have rituals?
Hmm, do you call checking email, drinking coffee and walking rituals? I usually wake up around 5:30 every morning. Some mornings I’ll stay in bed to brainstorm. Sometimes I did it all the night before and may sleep a little later, or other mornings I’ll snag my coffee way before the sun rises and start to work. But most mornings I’ll begin my day checking my email. I’ll sip coffee and work until around nine and then I’m off to walk my dog. I usually walk with a friend who is also a writer and we will help each other brainstorm as we walk for about an hour. I usually eat lunch at my desk. How late I work is dependent on how behind I am on a deadline. If I’m really behind, I might work until seven or eight. Not that I’m whining. I love my job. And nothing feels as good as writing that last line of a book.
Do you write in a special spot?
I know a lot of writers who write best sitting at Starbucks. I’m not one of them. It might go hand and hand with my being an auditory writer. If I’m sitting next to someone, I’ll find myself eavesdropping. Oh, you won’t know I’m listening. I can be very sneaky. But the point is if I hear words, my brain absorbs them. So I don’t get a lot of writing done in public places. Alone, in a hotel room, in my office, sitting on my front porch, or lounging in my courtyard I can get the story down, get the characters in trouble and then get them out of it.
Thanks so much to C.C. Hunter for the excellent post! Check out the second book in the Shadow Falls After Dark series, Eternal.