I attended DemiCon 23, the Des Moines scifi/fantasy convention, this year.
The highlight was meeting Patricia Briggs and hearing her give several talks. She is one of my favorite writers and is charmingly sweet in person. I adore her Alpha and Omega series.
She shared her writing process with us at one of the sessions after reading the first chapter of the next Mercy Thompson book, Frost Burned, to us!
Patty is a “pantser”, she writes by the seat-of-her-pants with no outline. She knows her characters, the world they live in and the problem they’ll face when she sits down to write. She doesn’t know how they’ll solve the problem. That comes to her during the writing. She doesn’t like being able to predict the end of a book.
She’s outlined only one book in her career, Raven’s Strike. She said that knowing the ending of the book stole her desire to write it That book was the most difficult she’s ever written.
Her writing day starts with 20 minutes of game playing – Might and Magic 3, Solitaire or Minesweeper. Then she writes. Her minimum goal is five pages a day, though she usually completes 10-12 pages. If she’s on a deadline, then she writes as long as possible. Then sleeps. Then writes more.
While writing she listens to music that she likes. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is, as long as it isn’t annoying.
She works best in a messy office.
Her first draft is usually 40-50 pages short.
Her second draft is 40-50 pages long.
Her last draft is when she cleans everything up.
She can’t tolerate fluff in her writing or sentences that don’t further plot and character. If it doesn’t contribute, she cuts it ruthlessly.
While my writing process is completely different, it was great to hear her talk about hers. I love the idea that her first draft is usually short. Mine are too – mostly action and dialogue. I have to go back and add details about character and setting in the next draft.
If you like great fantasy with engaging characters and awesome plot lines, check out her books. You’ll love them.