What comes Easy? What’s Hard?


1.) What comes easy to you in the writing process?

2.) What are your biggest challenges?

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

17 thoughts on “What comes Easy? What’s Hard?

  1. Hardest: Losing the story off my front burners if real life intrudes and keeps me from thinking about it on a regular basis

    Harder: Developing your story world, characters, & all the little nuances that make people & places real to the reader

    Easier: The actual writing & editing of the story.

    “Easier” is a deceptive word but truly, all the arguing with myself, all the biggest mental struggles occur when I’m developing characters & story world–it’s where a story starts or stops, where the perfectionism has to be fought (or defeats me), If I make it to the actual writing stage, I’ve crossed a big hurdle and at least have a shot at it.

    • I love this, BK. Thanks for starting us off.

      I can relate to real life interruptus. I’ve percolate my next novel and my character is calling me, but family & friends are tag teaming me. It’s time to dig deep. Once I get back into my routine, I’ll be okay.

  2. Dialog comes easy to me. Once i get a flow going it’s all I can do to transcribe the conversation taking place in my head. Some rough drafts multiple pages of just dialog. No attributions, beats, description. nothing. Those can be put in later. 90% of those rough draft conversations end up in the book almost exactly as drafted.

    The hardest part is deciding how much of the story to tell, which most often takes the form of what to leave out. I write mostly procedurals and it’s tricky to decide how much of the actual investigative stuff to leave in before people’s eyes glaze over. As Mark Billingham said at Bouchercon several years ago, if we wrote truly realistic police procedurals, they’d be a thousand pages long and dull as ditch water.

    • Ha! True on police procedure. Stake outs, waiting for crime scene lab analysis or interviewing unfruitful witnesses are tedious. Definitely material to leave out.

      The principle of ELLE – enter late, leave early – works in the keeper evidence/procedural choices. Bare essence can sustain the pace if there’s a twist in the evidence.

      I loved your description of hearing dialogue in your head. Exactly.

  3. Writing the first draft is like pulling teeth. Much prefer editing and all during the 1st draft, I keep telling myself I can’t edit what I haven’t writte…

  4. Writing and editing come easy to me–perhaps too easy. What’s hard is conceptualizing the essence of the story and getting rid of all the excess stuff–figuring out where “David” is hiding in all that marble.

    • In How to Tell a Story, Robie and Provost suggest “visualizing and conceptualizing” a scene before trying to write it. “Try to develop the habit of going to the word processor when you’ve got something to say, rather than sitting there staring at a blank screen suffering from some sort of creative constipation” (197).

      I find this makes my writing much easier. It doesn’t rule out the kind of “free writing” that JSB urges we do, but when there’s a specific scene or next step that needs to be written, this proves to be sound advice.

      • I love the idea of visualization. I’ve used that method in many aspects of my life in different jobs. It works. Great tip. Thanks, Eric.

  5. I, too, find dialogue comes easily.
    What’s harder (and where I am now) is getting rid of great writing that doesn’t advance the plot. Because that “writing” part also comes too easily.
    Sometimes “what next” (And all you plotters can be quiet) is hard, but knowing I can cut it later helps get the words on the page.

    • Generally I try to advance the plot by 1-3 plot points with every scene, but over the years, I’ve relaxed my views on this. Sometimes you can advance the characterization or relationships with scenes that aren’t integral to the overall plot. The reader might appreciate those scenes. Trust your gut. Your instincts are gold, Terry.

  6. Things that used to be a thrill–taking a chance, doing new things–is tough these days. I’ve become a bit risk averse.

    Nothing is particularly easy. Just degrees of hard. But that’s okay–it’s one of the big reasons I write.

    • I’ve never forgotten a quote from Robert Crais when he thought he took a great risk with his readership at writing his big book – LA Requiem – where he introduced Joe Pike as a breakout character.

      He wrote in constant fear his readers would hate it, but he “trusted the talent that got him there.”

      Self doubt is human, but trusting his gut on storytelling got him through taking the risk. Not easy. Thanks, Laura. Hugs, babe.

        • Good instincts. Some people thought spinning Joe Pike off into his own series would be a mistake & would dilute the popularity of Elvis Cole. NEVER HAPPENED. Thanks, Terry.

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