A Day in the Writing Life of … Bronwen Evans

Today we are featuring, Bronwen Evans, on our blog post, A Day in the Writing Life of ….

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?

I write Regency Historicals, mainly because I love the rakish alpha males, usually strong and dominant, so that the heroine has to be someone special to take him on. I’ve a completed HMB Presents sitting in London being reviewed. Long story about that book, but mainly it was a promise to a dear friend who died right at the start of my writing career. So the Presents is kind of special to me. I have a study set up with my desk. It’s nothing special, but I seem to immediately go into character when I sit in the chair to work.

 What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?

 First thing in the morning, I check and answer any important emails as my agent and editor are in the USA and they will have been up for a few hours before I wake. I’m an email junkie and I’m trying to wean myself off it. I might post a tweet or facebook comment as well, but again, I restrict myself and tend to do that on the 2.5 days I work elsewhere (terrible isn’t it!). I restrict my blogging to about twice a week, or when I actually have something interesting to say. I always make a cup of tea and generally open my WIP and re-read the last chapter so I can get back into the story. I’m a plotter so I know where the story is going. Plus I wake up with the next scene in my head. I’ve been dreaming of it and its right there.

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?

 I’m a plotter. When I started writing my first book in 2007 I fell into the trap of a lot of beginning writers. I wrote for contests – first three chapters came easy. BUT a full 100k words? I was pitching at conferences, finaled in a couple of contests but I didn’t have a book finished that I could submit or try to sell. TIP: You can’t sell what you haven’t finished!!!!  I sat back and analysed why I wasn’t finishing a book. A) It was because it’s hard. B) I didn’t know where the story was going and I felt lost and overwhelmed. So, like I did with all the other aspects of writing, I took several plotting courses and found out I LOVE to plot. At the beginning of 2009 I used one course to plot INVITATION TO RUIN (my debut published Regency). I then had an operation and had a few months out, but after the 2009 RWNZ conference where I got requests for the partials of the book I’d just plotted, I was determined to finish the book. Ask anyone, I’m the workshop Queen. I’ve probably taken over 30 online courses on writing craft. I figured, anything you want badly you have to work at. All great artists train, practice and learn. Besides I’m not a natural writer – natural storyteller – yes.

Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? Are you a goal setter with your writing?

Because I have another job I have to schedule my writing time. I write Monday afternoons, Tuesday mornings, all day Thursday and one day at the weekend. I have a spreadsheet that keeps track of my progress against a deadline (thanks Yvonne Lindsay for giving it to me). I have to set a goal or time slips by. I try to write at least 7,000 words a week.

What writing tools do you favour? Long hand, computer …..

I always carry around a note pad and pen as you never know when ideas will strike. I have a Neo which I used a lot as it’s light and easy to carry around and stops myself editing gene. However, now I also own a netbook computer, which I love and again carry everywhere so I can work whenever I can. In my study I have a normal HP PC. I don’t use any writing software but I have my own excel spreadsheet and plot points to follow. I also ALWAYS write the synopsis (usually 1 page for each 10,000 words) once I have plotted but before I start the book. This helps to keep me focused on the emotional journey.

Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?

 I do always find an image of hero and heroine and once I have written up the characters sheet and background, given them names and descriptions, I find the image and personality of my characters stick in my head. I know them really, really well. So much so that it’s difficult for me if my editor doesn’t like the name. That’s who they are to me. I also have many pictures of Regency manor’s and houses, but having lived in England for seven odd years, I can picture the scenery and setting easily. I can’t listen to music or anything else while I write. It destroys the scenes playing in my head.

 What’s the last thing do you do before you finish your daily writing session?

 When I finish writing for the day, I print out the pages I’ve written so that I can sit and edit them while I watch TV or relax over diner. I also always save the file as a new file name i.e. AKissofLies_2011_07_22 so that if I have changed the book I still have the previous copy. Then I load it up into my own private yahoo group so that I have a back up available where-ever I am and also, with the devastation from the Christchurch earthquake in my head,  I have a backup copy not here in Wellington – just in case. I also email a copy to work and ensure its saved on the work server as an extra safety step. Imagine losing all that work! It’s my worst nightmare.

Do you give yourself any writing rewards for achieving goals?

I do set myself goals with attached rewards. I promised myself that I could go to RWA conference, RT Book Review conference, and Australian Romance conferences only once I’d sold a book. So I expect I’ll meet some of you in 2012. I also set myself daily little treats – a cup of tea and biscuit when I finished 1000 words etc. I have a bottle of veuve clicquot chilling in the fridge ready to celebrate another sale. So I’d better sign off and get writing and finish another book if that’s to happen…

About Bronwen…New Zealander, Bronwen Evans, loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, books and theatre.  For most of her life, her head has been filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst.  But she’d never had the courage to write them down.  In 2006, encouraged by a close friend battling a deliberating illness, Bronwen finally started down the path to publication by joining RWA and RWNZ. Bronwen’s first manuscript, Invitation To Ruin,  was completed late 2009 and was sold by her agent, Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency, to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal.

 Invitation To Ruin was released in March 2011, and Bronwen’s second book, Invitation To Scandal will be released early 2012.

 www.bronwenevans.com

Thank you, Bronwen, for participating on our blog.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Bronwen,
    Nice to see you here and learn some more about you. That deadline spreadsheet sounds like a good idea. Maybe Yvonne should licence it and sell it! LOL.

    Thanks, Suz for another brilliant blog interview.

    Reply
  2. Juanita Kees

     /  September 30, 2011

    Hi Bronwen,

    I thought Invitation to Ruin sounded exciting but Invitation to Scandal sounds too good to pass up on! Both of these are on my TBR list. It was lovely reading more about you and your writing journey. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  3. Cate Harris

     /  September 30, 2011

    It’s always interesting to see how authors structure their working schedule, Bron, so thanks for sharing. Sounds like Yvonne and I have a similar love of Excel spreadsheets!
    Cate

    Reply
  4. Hi ladies

    Thanks for the lovely comments. I have to confess that I am quite an ordered person, so Yvonne’s spreadsheet was fantastic because it saved me from having to create one of my own.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Reply
  5. Great learning more about you Bronwen and your writing process. Looking foward to reading Invitation to Scandal. Great interview Suz.

    Reply

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