Writing Process Blog Hop: How I Do It

I’ve been tagged in the Writing Process Blog Hop! I was tagged by my colleague Jasmine Haynes who writes erotica and erotic romance (and other books under other names). She has a new release from Berkley Heat, Teach Me a Lesson, the second book in her Let’s Misbehave series.
Jasmine writes very hot sex! There is a voyeur scene near the beginning of The Principal’s Office that is so absolutely scorching I had to look around to make sure no one was watching me as I read it!

Now on to the official Writing Process Blog Hop questions.

1) What am I working on?

I am currently writing Book 3 of my Harwell Heirs series, working title Miss Danby’s Condition, which, of course, will be changed to something sexier. Book 3 opens two months after the final events in Book 1 and involves all the same characters, plus a few from Book 2.
The series is published by Ellora’s Cave, and Book 1, The Pleasure Device, is now available as an ebook in all major outlets. Book 2, Disobedience By Design (former title Lord Petersham’s Contract), is the story of Sophia and Joseph, and is scheduled for edits in May.
As I write this post (a bit earlier than the day it is actually posted) I am also working on edits, contracts, and promotion for short stories to be published later this year.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

First, I should say I write contemporary erotica short stories, historical erotica, and historical erotic romance. I’ll focus on my historical erotica/erotic romance for this question.
I read a lot of sexy historical romance, but I find there is a limited amount of historical erotica. In erotica, sex is used to develop the characters and to move the plot forward. This differs from a sexy romance where the plot and characters are not necessarily driven by their sexual natures. (One day, I’ll do a blog post about the differences.)
All that said, if the sex is paramount, where does the history come in? I try to make the historical setting more than just wallpaper for a sexy romp. In addition to sex driving the plot and characters, I want some actual events (e.g., the American Revolution; Trajan’s conquest of Germania) or actual circumstances (e.g., the necessity amongst the British aristocracy to produce an heir; the use of the vibrator as a treatment for hysteria) to inform my plot and characters.
But then how are the sexy bits in my stories different from those bits in other erotica? I like to mix up the expected order of sex scenes, so anal sex might happen before vaginal sex, or an intense gang bang might happen before a romantic interlude. I write multiple viewpoints and utilize those primary, secondary, and tertiary pairings to keep the sexy fun moving along, and often have crossover between pairings. I write the beta hero, or a beta-like alpha rather than a pure alpha – my heroes prefer to have a conversation about their emotions rather than brood. My heroes also tend to know Latin (even if they’re not Roman) and are bisexual (makes for even more sexy fun!).
I always try to have a sex scene in a library or involving a book. In The General’s Wife, our heroine Clara reads The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (aka Fanny Hill) and ends up in a sort of voyeuristic ménage. I am a (now former) librarian, so perhaps I have fetishized books? – I don’t really know.
Finally, as far as I know, I have written the only historical erotic romance to mention Vercingetorix. This happens during a conversation in The General’s Wife where George Washington is compared to the Gallic leader.

3) Why do I write what I write?

I began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during NaNoWriMo 2006, but then switched to erotica when all my characters suddenly demanded to have sex. That first novel was a Victorian piece, set in 1881-1882, and I do intend to finish it one day.
The full account is here.

4) How does my writing process work?

Something will spark my interest: a word, a philosophical construct, a work of art, another story, a conversation, a personal experience, sometimes even a call for submissions for short stories.
That spark will ignite into a focal sex scene. This focal scene might not involve the primary hero and heroine. For The General’s Wife, the focal sex scene involved Annabella. In The Pleasure Device, the scene involved Grace. Sometimes I don’t know who the characters actually are, I just know that the scene has to happen at some point. (Before I named Julius Christopher after NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, I just called him “Evil Doctor”. Looking back on those original notes, brown-haired Grace was a blonde named Jennie.)
The focal sex scene begins to develop into a rough story idea and the characterizations around it (i.e., how did the characters get to this point? Who are these people, anyway?).
That rough story idea and characters slowly invade my brain until I live and breathe them. This can be troublesome if I am working on more than one story. Sometimes I have to shut the door on a story while another takes shape.
On a practical note, I have a lot of scrap paper and notebooks lying around the house. I scribble down notes and ideas constantly. I keep a MS Word document and transcribe those ideas, sometimes not in plot order.
When it gets time to actually write, learning from NaNoWriMo I try to just simply write. However, before I continue where I left off, I reread what I wrote previously to get in the mood and invariably end up doing edits. (Side note: I have only ever started a novel during NaNoWriMo!) For novels, my MS Word document eventually gets transferred to Scrivener. At that point I begin the refining process, adding elements of costume and setting.
When I am “finished” writing, I let the work sit for a period of time. Then I go back and edit.

Now for the hopping portion of the Writing Process Blog Hop. Check out how my fellow authors approach their writing:

Sherry Ewing
Sherry Ewing is the author of five completed historical/paranormal manuscripts, four of which are in series set in twelfth century England. Always wanting to write a novel but too busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. Sherry is actively working on self-publishing in the hopes to have her first novel out by June 2014. She is thankful for the assistance she’s received from those who have already blazed the path ahead of her in the world of Indie authors. A national and local member of Romance Writers of America since 2012, she earned her PRO status in 2013. When Sherry is not busy writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist for the National Park Service.
Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE: Here’s Sherry’s post about her writing process.

Amber Belldene
Christian minister and writer of racy vampire romances Amber Belldene already participated in the blog hop, but I love her author tag line so much:
Mystically Sexy Romance…because Desire is Divine

And check out what my blog tagger Jasmine Haynes had to say about her writing process.

8 thoughts on “Writing Process Blog Hop: How I Do It

  1. Thanks for all the lovely things you said, Regina! And I’m so glad you loved that voyeur scene in The Principal’s Office!

    I really enjoyed reading about your writing process. And the idea about the “focal sex scene” is fabulous! I’d never thought of it that way, but you’re right, there’s always a sex scene that is the first thing to come to mind, and the essence of it drives the story.

    Thanks for being part of the blog hop!

  2. I always like to read how other writers write! I don’t necessarily have a “focal sex scene”, but the germ of the idea is often a single scene for me as well. Sometimes though, it’s just a character who starts talking, in which case it’s more the character voice that’s the germ, I suppose. 🙂

      • Well yes, though while the characters do seem real to me while I’m writing them, I wouldn’t describe it as them talking and me taking diction, as I’ve seen some writers do.

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