Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

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  • Writing Process Blog Hop

    July 6, 2014


    Writing Process Blog Hop

    Before I begin let me say that I have no idea who started this blog hop or how far back it goes. I only know that my good friend Tera Lynn Childs asked me to do it and whatever she asks, I do.

    Official author headshot.

    The Fabulous Tera Lynn Childs


    Like most people I have days when my writing process goes awry but to make it as a full time author you have to get past that and rededicate yourself to your craft pretty much daily. So here’s my process when it works.

    1) What Am I Working On Right Now?

    My current WIP is the second book in a new series that will be published by Delacorte. The first book is finished and is being prepped for publication as we speak with an expected release date of Fall 2015. I’m currently writing chapter 12 of book two and I have to say I’m pretty excited about this project. It’s based on the mythology of Egypt. Like the Tiger’s Curse books, there is romance, action, and adventure. There’s a gutsy heroine, too. But this time around there are not two handsome princes but three AND…get this…they’re mummies.

    2) How Does My Work Differ From Others In The Genre?

    My books always contain a good amount of romance. I’m a fan of poetry so my main character, Ren, in Tiger’s Curse was a poet. This time around I practice my poetry skills in the form of spells and incantations. When I first got picked up, my agent said, “You’re kind of all over the place mythology wise.” That’s still true in my Egyptian series. Though it’s heavily focused on Egypt, I freely borrow from mythologies and stories from any culture or country that fits into the theme of what I’m working on. You can’t pass a mythology test by reading my work but at least I’ll keep you guessing.

    3) Why Do I Write What I Do?

    When I started writing, my goal was to create something that a mom would enjoy as much as her daughter. I wanted parents to feel perfectly comfortable handing my book to their kids but I also wanted to write a book, and heroes, that a mom would swoon for right along with her teenage daughter. The perfect fit for me then was YA. Romance is something I love to read but I also love action and adventure and big sweeping stories. Basically I write the kind of books I love reading the most. Once in a while I think how awesome it would be if someone else could finish writing my book for me so I could just enjoy reading how everything came together without doing the actual work. I always say I’m a reader first and a writer second.

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    4) How Does My Writing Process Work?

    I research and brainstorm for about a week. Then I just start. I’m a very linear writer. I know basic points I want to hit in the story but I give myself the freedom to explore along the way and don’t really stick to much more than a one or two sentence outline per chapter. Even then I’m pretty flexible if I find an offshoot that’s interesting. I heavily research along the way looking for fun and interesting things to add. My chapters are long, usually averaging five or six thousand words and my books are long too. My shortest is 120K and that was after editing. I always reread what I wrote the day before and have a 2K daily word goal and work four days most weeks. When I’m finished with the book I go back through the whole thing again, add and change what I want, and then send it off to my agent.


    Now watch out for the next three authors I’ve tagged to continue the blog hop. They are…

    Remnants: Season of Fire

    LISA T. BERGREN

    Revelations

    J. A. SOUDERS

    The Lovely and The Lost

    PAGE MORGAN


     

    What is your writing process? How many words/pages do you write a day? Do you set a timer? I’m curious so leave a comment and let me know how it works for you.

    Until next time,

    Colleen

     

    This entry was posted in Writing Advice, Writing Tools.

    11 Responses to Writing Process Blog Hop


    1. Tera Lynn Childs says:

      Oh wow, I really pegged you for a full-on plotter. Now I’m even more impressed. 🙂 Reminds me that I need to get off my rear, stop worrying about plotting every detail, and just write the darn pages!

    2. Allana Lopez says:

      What do you do when you can’t find inspiration? How do you keep yourself writing even if you feel like taking a sick day? I always have problems trying to stick to my goals of writing a certain number of words a day.
      I like to write at night as well. That way I’m not distracted by who’s moving through the house.
      Did you outline what would happen from the beginning to the end of your series and then fill in what’s left out do you go with the flow letting the story unfold as you go along?
      When you envision your characters do you have an idea of how they will change first or do you write and get ideas of how the characters change while the story is going?
      How are the editing processes? What do you do to remember certain key points in other stories that you mention or apply to in other books? I’m sorry if this is too long:) I get excited:) you are my favorite author. I read your books all the time:)

      • Colleen Houck says:

        If you feel like taking a sick day, you should. Writers never stop writing. Words are in their heads all the time and its easy to make yourself feel guilty about taking a break. I took 4th of July weekend off and had an epiphany while I was disengaged from the book and uncovered a major portion of the plot. Give yourself permission to step back once in a while. Doing fun things gives you more to write about anyway.

        As far as characters and inspiration goes, I find inspiration on Pinterest a lot. I love pinning and I find new things almost daily to inspire me. My characters are voices in my head telling me their story. I’m just along for the ride.

        Editing is the hardest part of being an author. For me, anyway. I hate cutting pieces of my book but I always negotiate to make those available in extras so I don’t feel as bad about it as I used to. I’ve always held the information about my stories in my head but now that I have two series I am starting to have to go back and fact check. That’s normal in a big series.

        Good luck and thank you!

    3. Kelsi Crotser says:

      I’ve recently learned that if you wait until you feel like writing your never going to actually sit down and write. But once you actually sit down to write, it all spills out of you.
      For me I will spend maybe two weeks or so just brainstorming. Ideas hit you like a ton of bricks sometimes and when they do, it surprises you. But that’s one of my favorite things about writing. It sets me free. Writing is like my therapy. Once I’m don’t thinking, I write and write. I don’t know if anyone else feels like writing is a therapy the way I do.
      Let me just say your books are absolutely amazing and they have really helped motivate me to write everyday and follow my dream of becoming a writer! So thank you!

    4. Lisa Bergren says:

      So fun to hear about your process AND your next WIP. It sounds fresh and fab!! Working on my post now… 🙂

    5. Abigail Harris says:

      I’m in tenth grade and I have been determined to be a write since I was in kindergarten. I still have this little book that’s falling about with dragons and terrible spelling that’s my first book that I ever began writing. All of my ideas are on flash drives and I keep them all. I want to illustrate my own books too but really, I don’t know where to start!
      Most of my ideas come from dreams and other stories or things that just randomly popped up in my head when I’m drifting off in class. The longest story that I’ve ever written has to be at least 170 pages, maybe longer or shorter but in that ball park. There’s this one idea that I’ve been throwing around and I get to the same part before I think of something better than what it was! First it was based off a game and it was crappy (then again I was in middle school when I wrote that) and then it was still based on the same game and I started twisting it into this major plot that involved the Bible and everything else. And now its become completely based upon the Bible and Christian faith and it is so ridiculously hard for me! I’m sitting at night reading the Bible (which is good, so that I’m not complaining about) and studying all different religions and ideas about the End of World.
      I guess that my question is, how do you continue writing a book? I have everything planned out in my head and then its like I hit a dead end and I move on to something else. Do you have any advice for me?

      • Try looking at it from a different perspective. Maybe you need to make it first person or third person. Maybe it should be a novella and not a novel. Maybe you should add a new element to it like steampunk or sci-fi. Even if you just do that to play around with it, it might spark a new idea or give you some new insight into the project.

        • Abigail Harris says:

          Thanks! I’ve tried different ways and it keeps coming out in different ways. I think that my problem mostly is that it’s such a large thing to mess around with. Each version that I do is a little different each time. Thanks though! I enjoy reading your books a lot! They have to be my favorite series!

    6. Pingback: Writing Process Blog Hop | Lisa Tawn Bergren

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    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.