Author’s Guest Post by L. A. Clayton on the Writing Process
You asked me to explain how I organize my writing. This is a loaded question that will require some background explanation. First of all, I have been an avid reader my entire life. On average, I probably read about two books a week. I never – in a million years – would have thought that I would be a writer. I always put myself firmly in the readers-only category.
But then I had this dream. I dreamt the preface of Ten Seconds to Dead, but in my dream I was omniscient and I knew all of the how’s and why’s of what occurred. I woke up and quickly jotted my dream down, thinking that it would make a really cool book. Not one that I was going to write, but a cool book for someone else, lol. I was first going to give it to my sister, who is a successful author and has published several books, but she writes romantic comedies, so this wasn’t really up her alley. For the next couple of days, I couldn’t get the dream out of my mind, so I finally decided to go buy a computer (I seriously didn’t have a working one) and write this book.
Writing a book for me was a surreal experience. I kept wondering if I was really going to finish it, and if I did, what then? But the story begged to be written, and I found that as soon as I started, I couldn’t stop. I wrote the book from start to finish at my dining room table with my four kids constantly interrupting me. I finally found that if I got up early in the morning, I could get a lot more work done. I wrote with no outline. Just sticky notes for reminders. I had the main points of the book firmly planted in my brain, and the rest just came to me as I went.
I learned that I’m what they call a pantser in the writing world. It’s basically someone who just sits down and writes and lets the story unfold as they go. I am a linear thinker and I wrote from start to finish, in one go. My second book, Ten Seconds to Pandemic, which will be released in May, was very much the same process.
After I’d written the book I sent it out to a few alpha readers who waded through my poor grammar and run-on sentences to give me their thoughts on the book. This process was hugely helpful to me, as it helped me see the book and characters from a different perspective and helped me tighten up areas of the book that needed it. After that, it went to my content editor, beta readers, line editor and proofreaders. It definitely surprised me how much work is done on the back end of writing a book. The editing process took longer than writing it. Regardless of how long it took, I found every step of the editing process to be vitally important.
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Ten Seconds to Dead
Publication date: January 20th 2020
Genres: Adult, Thriller
Ten seconds may be all she has left …
Kate Edison witnesses her father’s death and, in order to keep his memory alive, decides to follow in his footsteps by joining the CIA. She molds herself into becoming exactly what the CIA is looking for—and captures their interest, both personally and professionally. But before she can finish the CIA process, Kate is offered a position as an espionage agent in another highly secretive government agency, which she accepts.
While completing her agency training, Kate is catapulted into a shadowy world where wealth and power are the ultimate goal, and those in charge will stop at nothing to get it. While on the job, Kate uncovers secrets that, if revealed, would cost her life, but if kept, could bring down a nation. Isolated and unsure of who to trust, she brings in a fellow agent, but pulling him into the web of conspiracy and lies puts a target on both their backs – and it will take every skill they’ve ever learned as agents to stay alive long enough to stop the enemy no one else can see.
L.A. Clayton has been an avid reader her entire life, devouring books at an alarming rate. Her husband often jokes that if she didn’t buy so many books they could retire. She went to bed one night a reader and woke up with a fresh memory of a dream she’d had the night before, sat down and became a writer.
L.A. Clayton lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and their four young children. She makes time for writing in between wiping noses and packing lunches.