Nadia Lee | NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance » writing

Archive for 'writing'

Ask Nadia: How many hours a day do you write?

This is kind of a difficult one for me to answer because my guess is that by “write” I think the questioner meant new words produced.

I don’t go by hours, but by word count. I try to get down 5,000 words per day when I’m drafting (1st draft). It takes me about four hours of intensely focused writing to accomplish this (sometimes longer, sometimes not). My brain’s totally fried after about 5k words, and I can’t write anything coherent afterward. I also consume copious amounts of sugar while I draft. (I don’t need much sugar when I revise though.)

Once I’m done drafting, I generally go back and rework the character arcs, pacing, etc., which takes about one to two weeks, then I send the draft to my editor to look at.

While my editor’s reading my manuscript, I “detox”. That is to say, I get caught up on administrative items, read a few books, watch some TV shows and movies I’ve been meaning to see, try to wind down a bit and think about my next project, etc. This ensures that there’s some emotional distance between me and the story by the time my editor’s comments come back to me…and that, in turn, makes it much easier for me to revise. (My editor’s too honest and ethical to tell me that what I sent her is so brilliant it rivals Shakespeare’s King Lear.)

So as you see, I don’t have a set number of hours a day I write. But having daily milestones and goals help me be productive without burning out (too much). :)


Ask Nadia: Did you always see yourself writing these types of books?

Actually no. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer…then later a plastic surgeon (until I realized I had to take organic chemistry :shudder:)…then later an investment banker. But as it turned out, I didn’t become any of those.

And when I started writing, I decided I wanted to write something that was uplifting. I don’t mind really good novels with sad endings, and I read them. But I didn’t have the heart to make my characters go through some super crappy conflict and problems and…end up dead. So romance seemed like a natural genre for somebody like me. And it doesn’t hurt that I enjoy reading it. :)


Ask Nadia: At what point did you KNOW this was what you absolutely HAD to do?

This is a new feature I’m trying out. When I get questions — about anything — I’m going to try to answer them on Wednesday. :)

So here’s this week’s question from a fan:

At what point did you KNOW this was what you absolutely HAD to do?

Honestly speaking, I’ve never felt like this is what I absolutely had to do. Rather, it was more like this is what I kept coming back to because when I’m not writing I miss it.

When I graduated from college, I honestly thought I’d do the corporate America thing, make good money and retire. And the pay and perks were fabulous for a fresh-out-of-college kid in her early twenties. But it wasn’t right for me. I didn’t like having to lay people off, for one thing, because it wasn’t laying off some high school kid doing a summer job. We’re talking about hundreds of people in their mid- to late thirties and forties with children and mortgages to pay for. I understand the economic imperatives behind work like that, but that didn’t make it any easier to do. After a couple of years, I felt like my soul was shrivelling up.

And even when I wasn’t part of the team that laid off people, I just never felt like I was making any real difference or making things better. So I quit after three years to become a writer. (My mother was flabbergasted by this decision and — in typical tiger-mom style — said, “You’re too smart to be a writer!”)

I’m not sure if I’m ever going to make as much money as I would have if I’d stayed at my job and did the whole career track and whatnot. But I’m not hurting anybody — nobody’s gotten fired because of my writing. And getting notes from readers who tell me my writing gave them enjoyment — just plain made them feel good — is more or less priceless. And you know what? That’s what I want from my work. I want people to feel good as a result of it. So that’s why I keep coming back to writing because that’s how I can do that.


If have any questions about me, my writing, books, characters or anything else, feel free to drop me a line by leaving me a comment, using the contact form or via Facebook or Twitter. I reserve the right not to answer if the topic happens to be politics or religion. But anything else is more or less fair game. Thanks! :)


Ask Nadia: How much research do you do per book, if any?

Ask NadiaThis is a new feature I’m trying out. When I get questions — about anything — I’m going to try to answer them on Wednesday. :)

So here’s the third one for the feature from a lovely fan:

How much research do you do per book, if any (by that, I mean location and so on)?

Oh it totally depends. Sometimes I do a lot if some detail is important, but sometimes just a little is enough.

Let’s tell you what I mean.

There are a few locations like cafes and parks in Reunited in Love and Redemption in Love. Exactly what chain / brand they are and the precise location aren’t particularly important to the plot or character growth / emotions. So I just say it’s near so-and-so’s place and maybe do some high-level description to set the scene.

Sometimes places I’ve been to inspire me to set certain parts of the story in that locale. For example, Kerri’s old job was in Hong Kong. I went to Hong Kong for a few days to visit some i-banking friends, so I drew on that a bit. (And i-bankers work insane hours…)

And if you’re a long-time follower of my blog, you might have noticed that Hero Material and went to Thailand for our honeymoon. Guess where Gavin and Amandine have their second honeymoon? ;) I had to set it there because I absolutely loved Thailand. As a matter of fact, we’re going back next year with The Boy.

But when I was writing an SF thriller with romantic elements (still unfinished, alas), I actually had to figure out how each character would get to certain places and how long it’d take. Why? Because if I want to have the Villain to hatch some evil plot in Location A, I better make sure that the Villain has enough time to get there and set things up. Otherwise I’m going to hear from annoyed readers. And I had to make sure that the science tech I was using was, if not actually possible at the moment, at least somewhat plausible. :)

Oh and for the current book I’m working on (Mark Pryce and Hilary Rosenberg’s romance), I had to watch a few videos of girl fights and something else (I can’t talk about it because I don’t want to spoil the story!). I’m not the most athletic type, and have never gotten into a fight like the one I’m writing, so I headed over to YouTube and watched some women duke it out.

Sometimes if the characters are involved in something finance/ economics-related, I don’t have to do a lot of research because that’s what I studied in college. They say you should write what you know… I think that’s generally good advice and I try to leverage a lot of what I already have in my head.

Also I read a lot of articles and stuff from various newspapers, esp. the Wall Street Journal. One of those articles inspired Natalie’s background / adoption story. I won’t talk too much about it since that’s a big spoiler. :) But if you want to discuss more, you’re welcome to contact me privately via email or private FB group.

If have any questions about me, my writing, books, characters or anything else, feel free to drop me a line by leaving me a comment, using the contact form or via Facebook or Twitter. I reserve the right not to answer if the topic happens to be politics or religion. But anything else is more or less fair game. Thanks! :)


So What Am I Up to This April?

I just got done with a very rough draft of Mark Pryce’s and Hilary Rosenberg’’ (Gavin Lloyd’s executive administrative assistant — if I call her a “secretary” Mark’s going to get mad lol) story. So while it’s marinating, I’m treating myself to two days of taxes (fun!) and another day or two of reading.

(In case you’re wondering what I’m planning to read, I downloaded a copy of Alphas After Dark.)

After a careful read-through, Mark & Hilary’s story is going to be self-revised, then it’s off to my editor. While she’s working on the story, I’ll be working on Meredith Lloyd’s story, where I plan to reveal the whole secret / mystery surrounding her son Eric’s paternity, plus pair her up with the super-sexy brother of her best friend. Oh and I’ll have Forever in Love (Blaine Davis and Catherine Fairchild’s story) proofread and formatted. I’m aiming to have it released on May 12. Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list if you want to get notified when it’s available! :)

Several fans have asked me if they’ll ever find out who’s behind the embezzlement at The Lloyds Development. All that is answered in Forever in Love, I promise. :)


How I Plan to Spend 2013 (Writing-Wise)

resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope your 2012 ended on a lovely note, and you’re all ready for another productive and exciting year. I’m planning to do some serious work this year, mostly on improving my process. Looking back on the hours and time I spent on my projects, it’s obvious that my process for drafting and revision is flawed and extremely inefficient.

This basically means I need to think about how I can write more efficiently. That won’t always involve my sitting in front of a computer and typing away. Sometimes planning may be more important (and more time-consuming) than the actual drafting itself. But that’s okay if it results in a cleaner and better first draft that won’t require months and months of rework.

I’m hoping to have four books written, including the current WIP plus an Ever After novella. My family and I are also moving in January, but hopefully it won’t suck up too much time, though I’m definitely budgeting at least 2 weeks of non-writing time for the big move, getting things cleaned up, etc.

What is your Number One Professional / Career Goal for 2013?