Grab your beverage of choice (Mimosas for me, of course!), roll up to or flip open a screen and let some talented writers talk to you about their writing process.
This week: Lucie Simone is in the spotlight!
Lucie is “a single girl living, working and dating in Hollywood.” She has a degree in journalism and in television production and loves penning tales of “modern girls making a go at life and love in the big city.” Check out her stories and you’ll see Lucie is just “a nice girl who sometimes likes to be naughty.” So let me get out of the way and cede the stage, stool and microphone to Lucie:
1. Have you always written stories?
I’ve been telling stories since before I could even write my name. Apparently, I used to regale my family with wild tales of my three-year-old self’s adventures with my cats. Once I’d mastered cursive handwriting, there was no stopping me. But seriously, yes, I’ve always written. From short stories and (horrid) poetry in high school to screenplays in college to novels today.
2. When did you decide to write professionally?
In 2003, after graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production, I was unable to find a job in my field. So, I started writing about my own frustration with being over-educated and underemployed. After six long years, those scribblings turned into my debut novel, Hollywood Ending.
3. What made you decide to go the route you chose (eg. traditional, e-pub, indie)?
After finishing and polishing Hollywood Ending, I dutifully sent it out to loads of agents. One by one, they all rejected it, telling me that while I clearly wrote well, they couldn’t sell my book because, according to traditional publishing, Chick Lit was dead. After a year of hearing this, and knowing in my heart that Chick Lit was not dead and that my book did have an audience, I formed my own small press, Simon & Fig, and published it myself.
4. What is your writing process (hrs/day, days/wk)?
I write in stolen moments. Usually, in two hour bursts at a time. I generally write a chapter every 2 weeks, unless crazy life stuff gets in the way. With a goal of 2 chapters a month, you’ve got a finished book in a year. I wasn’t always this disciplined, however. While writing Hollywood Ending, I would go for months without working on it, sometimes abandoning it in favor of starting other stories. Finishing that book was a journey. I’m happy to say that I’ve since changed my ways!
5. How do you write (crappy first draft then revise or revise as you go)? Why?
My first novel was written on the fly, with nary a care for plot or structure. And when it was finished, it was a mess. It took me months and months to get it into shape. After that experience, I decided that I needed to have more than an idea before beginning to work on a book. Now, there’s a lot of “writing” going on before I even turn on the computer. I plot out the story, scene by scene. Prepare character studies. I even put together a scrapbook with pictures of my characters, their clothing, homes, and even the cars they drive ripped from magazines. That way, when I actually take a keyboard to begin writing, I already know everything from start to finish. So, by the time I start typing, the story just flows. And I give each chapter three passes. The first is the rough draft. The second is the stage where I add in the different layers and textures for each scene, making it more visceral. And the third pass is where I catch holes and typos. Then, after the entire book is finished, the whole thing gets three more passes.
6. Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you handle it?
Unfortunately, yes. I sometimes suffer writer’s block. But I have found the cure! I am also a yoga teacher, and I’ve discovered that the practice of yoga is great for banishing both writer’s butt and writer’s block. I even teach a workshop called Yoga for Writers, and have started a blog of the same name to help bring the benefits of yoga to writers of every shape, size and level of fitness. you can check it out at www.yogaforwriters.wordpress.com.
7. What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love discovering new plot twists, new characters, new storylines when I’m writing. Even though I now plot everything out, there are still a lot of surprises that happen in the throes of writing a scene. For example, in my upcoming novel, Picture Perfect, a fabulous new character just showed up one day while I was working on a scene. I hadn’t planned on him at all, and there he was waiting for me. Turns out, he’s a hoot and I love whenever he enters a scene. Usually, it’s just as unexpectedly.
8. If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing you have since learned about the business of writing, what would you tell them (you)?
Be patient. Writing is a journey of self-discovery, and that doesn’t happen overnight. You have to keep writing, keep studying, keep reading. The more you do, the better you get. And eventually, you’ll find your voice and your audience.
9. Wine, liquor or beer? What’s your favorite of the spirit you chose?
Champagne! [Tracey's note: Me, too. Mimosas! Hellooo!] I love fizzy, sparkling white wines, especially with some cranberry juice. I also enjoy a good martini now and then, but for me, there’s nothing better than a bit of the bubbly!
10. What author(s) are on your automatic buy list?
Marian Keyes is my absolute favorite author and I snap up her books like they hold the keys to life’s greatest mysteries. I also adore Liza Palmer and J.Courtney Sullivan, and a new favorite of mine is Dina Silver, whose debut novel, One Pink Line, swept me off my feet. She has definitely made it to my automatic buy list. I don’t even have to know what the story is about. I know it will be amazing.
11. What TV shows are you watching?
Presently, I am obsessed with Downton Abbey. Cannot get enough of it! I also love The Good Wife and am looking forward to Drop Dead Diva’s return this summer. I really love legal dramas with strong female leads and lots of scandal!
12. Who is your celebrity crush and why?
Johnny Depp all the way. I’ve been in love with him for over twenty years. Not only is he terribly handsome, he’s also extremely talented. What I love most about him is how he completely commits to a character, no matter how wacky (Willy Wonka) or wicked (Sweeney Todd). He’ll always have my heart.
Hollywood Ending is a romantic comedy about life in Hollywood for the not-so-rich-and-famous. Trina Stewart is desperate to find a proper Hollywood job and finally quit teaching ESL, but after ten years in Tinsel Town, things are looking grim. That is, until she sets her sights on sexy new neighbor, Matiu Wulf, a New Zealander of Maori origin who is only in Los Angeles to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he’s headed back home to Auckland. He manages to thwart Trina’s advances, but when she falls under the spell of a toothy-grinned thespian, he’s desperate to win back her heart. But when Hollywood gets in the way, these two soon discover that life in Tinsel Town isn’t all red carpets, after parties and celebrity gossip. In fact, Hollywood can be a downright bitch!
How many of you believe that a little physical exercise can cure writer’s block? It’s a recurring theme here at the T-Spot. And who’s your celebrity crush? Are you jonesin’ for Johnny? Tell us what you think and make sure you check back next week to see who’s hanging out at the T-Spot.