My very helpful [ahem!] editor, Henry B. Baxter gave me the next batch of questions today. He neglected to categorize the questions and thus left that to me. So bear with me if this is a bit of a whirlwind answer session! :D
I guess I'll address the pre-writing, mid-writing, post-writing questions. Ready? Ashley asked, "Does she handwrite any of her novels before transferring them to the computer/ a word document?" Once upon a time she did. But then she discovered her pen was not capable of keeping up with her brain, and her fingers were, so she switched medias. But in all seriousness, now and then I do find solace in the scratching of a pen's tip against a sheet of lined paper. That is my favorite way to write, I just don't find it practical. Ashley also asked, "Has she ever tried to write mystery or Sci-fi?" :D Don't mention this to my sister, Sarah. It makes her go mad with rage. But yes, I started a mystery set in the Great Depression...and got myself so entwined in the mystery I never did find my way out. I abandoned ship after 100 pages. :D Okay. Don't blame me. Who can keep track of details when your villain has an alias inside an alias, maybe even inside an alias? It just doesn't work so well. :P
Katie S. dived right in with a bing-bang-boom sort of Spanish Inquisition: 1. Do you keep a daily writing schedule? How long, or how much, do you write a day? 2. How extensively do you plot-n-plan your stories before you begin writing them? 3. Do you edit while writing, or keep the writing and editing processes completely separate?
Answer 1. HAH! Oh. Ummm...sorry about that. I amused me that you thought I could be that good. ;) I write something every day, but I have no schedule. I ought to have a schedule. In a distant day in the past I did have a schedule. But I am currently flying by the seat of my skirt. It's a pretty wild ride. I have actually been seriously contemplating getting up an hour earlier to write. Answer 2: My plot-n-plan varies from novel-to-novel. For The Seasonings I did not research, bare-bones plotting, and found myself missing that important element in the writing process. For Puddleby Lane I started on a whim, kept on on a whim, and never stopped to rethink it...until now. :P But we're overcoming our differences and moving on on a whim. Maybe that's why it's such a whimsical story. I did, however, write a little blurb to keep me going. For this newest novel I am doing a great deal of research, and thus a good deal of pre-plotting. Plus the plot, not the characters, came to me first this time. Answer 3. I prefer keeping the writing and editing completely separate. I find that my brain and emotions don't work well with constantly back-tracking. I need to work the story out and give myself permission to write things I know I'll cut out. It's just the way I work.
Abigail Hartman asked me about my preparation and whether I did character sketches, researching, and all that fun jazz. :) Yes and no. It depends. Generally I just start writing with a vague idea of a plot and give the story a chance. It either sprouts wings and flies, or flops by chapter 5 or so and I know it wasn't To Be. But this time around I am indulging in "All that jazz" and finding it much to my liking.
And last but not least, Abigail also asked me, "What did happen to Puddleby Lane?" I distanced myself from it for two months and decided I would lay it aside and focus on researching and plotting my French Rev. novel. I did that for awhile and decided to take a good-bye peep at P.L.....and you know what? I discovered it was not so terrifying as I thought. We began our reconciliation by my killing off The Character. Now that's what I call good relationships. :P
I'm Rachel Heffington; in varying degress, that will mean a dreamer, a writer, a people-lover, and a great many other things. I write chiefly because I read, and I read chiefly because the love of Story is writ on my soul and I cannot escape it. I hope I can inspire readers with an ache for that one Story of which we are each a part. I released my debut novel, Fly Away Home (available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble online) in February, 2014, and my short Cinderella retelling (The Windy Side of Care) is scheduled to be released in the Five Glass Slippers collection published by Rooglewood Press in June.
I am so pleased to make your acquaintance; do stick around and partake in the whimsy!