The Writing Process

Andrea Buginsky has graciously invited me to participate in a My Writing Process Blog Tour which takes part on writer’s blogs every Monday and gives readers a chance to find out how writers come up with their ideas. She blogged about this last Monday . Today it’s my turn.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

The writing process – that magical, mystical process writers use to create worlds, stories and characters readers will hopefully love. I could tell you that fully formed stories appear to me in my dreams. I would love that. I really would. Sadly it’s not quite true. Not for me anyway.

I find ideas through conversations with friends, things I see on the internet and in the paper, personal experiences and interests. It’s all grist for the mill. Then when I’ve come up with something I think could be interesting I research it further. I start dreaming up the characters in my mind.

For my Chocolate Series I took a course on Creating A Series with Lisa Wells and created a PowerPoint Bible as well as Pinterest board. For my medical thriller I’ve also got a Power Point Bible and Pinterest board. In all honesty though, I’d have been lost if I hadn’t gone to Thrillerfest last year and received advice from writers such as Michael Palmer, Catherine Coulter and Andrew Gross.

When all goes well words flow from me onto the computer screen. Today I feel as if I should have a piece of paper with a circle for my head reading ‘bang head here.’

You guessed it. The words are not flowing. It could safely be said they’re barely trickling. I know why. I took a month off writing to rest and recharge. And I think that was a good decision. But when I finished the Christmas novella, A Christmas Wedding To Die For , words were rolling out in the thousands daily. And that was besides having a day job.

Now…I actually like what I’ve written. The characters are good the premise is strong, NY agents are interested in it and I’m … Fighting for every word.

What I’m Working On

The truth is I’m feeling scared. My newest work is a medical thriller. This is a change from romance or cozy mysteries. I pitched the book at 60,000 words. Every agent said 80,000. “Just add in another 20,000 words, they all said, another subplot or two.”

It sounded simple but it’s outside my comfort zone. It means more characters, a bigger story, a bigger…everything. And I’m excited. I think it’s an important story…but I’m also scared. So I’m fighting through it.

Part of growth is pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones. In the end it will be worth it. I hope!

A medical thriller, this story revolves around a Nurse Practitioner who suspects her patients are dying of unnatural causes. And she suspects it may be from an Internet drug company.

Before you know it she’s teamed up with an absolutely gorgeous doctor to prove the drug company is behind a string of recent deaths, the medical clinic on Paradise Island has blown up and they’re on the run. Can she trust the good doctor. Or will he double-cross her?

What Makes It Different From Other Thrillers?

The Internet drugs are coming from China and that’s where they’ll have to go to shut it down. Coma was the first medical thriller I ever read and along with thousands of other readers it terrified me. But that was set in a hospital.

This is set on a small island where everyone knows one another. The threat is not from within but from an Internet drug company based in China. The Internet is used by everyone.

At Thrillerfest I sat between a family doctor and a lawyer. Both had clients who used Internet drugs. And already there have been deaths from drugs bought through the Internet.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

This is a thriller that is first and foremost entertaining. For me that’s important. If I wanted to read a textbook I would. When it’s fiction I want to be entertained. But it also raises important issues. Rising medical costs, particularly of drugs make the issue of Internet drugs and how the drugs needed to pay for patient’s treatment are funded, an issue that will affect more and more people and their families, on a deeply personal level. And therein lies a story…

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the three bloggers who will be following me.

JC McKenzie is the writer of The Carus Chronicles. Her first book, Shift Happens is soon to be released by Wild Rose Press and her website is

Kate Hardy writes Medical Romances and Romance for Mills and Boons from England. Her latest book, Her Real Christmas Family, is dedicated to me for the ‘lightbulb moment’ I inspired and is but one of many she’s written in ten years of writing them. As she says, ‘it’s the best of both worlds as she learns lots of new things when she’s researching the background of a book: add a touch of passion, drama and danger, a new gorgeous hero every time, and it’s the perfect job.’ Her website is .

USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer St. Giles loves a good story and writes multiple genres proving writers don’t develop split personalities, they get pseudonyms. Her website is

42 thoughts on “The Writing Process

  1. Pat
    Fantastic post. I love the sound of your medical thriller. Who knew our little trip to o NYC could be so I inspiring. I like how you are using big ideas in a small setting. Brilliant. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. It was eye-opening! I learned so much. I truly don’t think I could write the book I’m writing now without what I learned there. And I thought I’d learned so much already. And it was great having a NY buddy!

  3. Rising costs in medical care are a huge problem. I know the doctor I talked to at Thrillerfest said most of his customers bought online. From Canada actually.

  4. Hi Pat,

    Great blog. I know what you mean, take a few weeks off and the muse moves on. Or keep writing and the clothes don’t get washed, the fridge is empty, and then the words dry up. There’s no right way to do it. But it is good to take a break from it, even if it takes a bit of work to get back into it. Hope the words are rolling today, Sylvia

  5. It’s always a balancing act. But in the end we all need breaks. Plus I think in this case it’s writing outside my comfort zone. Thanks for stopping by Sylvia!

  6. Pat, it’s always great to challenge ourselves as writers. I wonder if you’re feeling a little intimidated by the new challenges you’ve taken on with your medical thriller, and if that’s what is blocking you? Why not try, for the moment, to forget about all the stuff you “have” to do, like adding in subplots, and just write? The concept of this book excited you for a good reason. See if you can recapture that excitement and just have fun with it. The words can always be deleted or changed later. You can always impose structure later. Sometimes it takes a while, chapters even, before an author really finds her characters and story, but writing those chapters is definitely not wasted time. Good luck with it!

  7. That’s a lot of what I’m doing Susan. One of the things I’ve done is add in chapters from the point of view of the patients and their families. It really adds another dimension but it’s emotionally tough. When I read before and after I think it’s good but it’s just a lot different so, so far, I’m not on a roll.

    Although now I’ve blown up the clinic and they’re on the run I seem to be picking up speed. Go figure!

  8. Pat,
    Loved the post and love Andy. Thrillerfest is a blast and chock full of great information and advice. Thank you so much for allowing me to be apart of the blog tour. Looking forward to taking my turn next week.

  9. Pat, I have no doubt you will work your way through every little doubt that springs up as you write this wonderful next book. Doctors, internet drugs, China, nurse practitioner – whoa!! And I for one, can’t wait to read it :-)

  10. Hi Jennifer

    I’m glad you liked it and am looking forward to reading yours next week. You’re right, Thrillerfest is a blast and there’s tons of information and ideas to absorb.

  11. I am always interested in hearing about other writers’ processes. We can learn from others, but ultimately have to find what works for us. Good luck with your medical thriller. It is good to have a challenge and step out of the comfort zone sometimes.

  12. There are definitely times I wish it would but actually I like the research and playing around with ideas and words usually!

  13. Nice stuff Pat. You reminded me to write down more dreams. I think our stories do come there, we just have to be ready to understand them.

  14. Hi Pat,
    Sorry for arriving late to your post. Very much enjoyed reading about your writing process and where you find your inspiration. Best wishes for the words to start flowing again! Fingers crossed they are waiting just around the corner, ready to jump out onto the page again :)

  15. Hi Jacqui

    Thanks for dropping by and, yes, I too hope they will be flowing soon. They seem to be starting :)

  16. I definitely think stories can come together in your dreams. But research and spending time thinking about your characters, settings etc. help too!


  17. Hi Pat,

    I had no idea you were working on a medical thriller right now! Exciting! I love that sub genre. Often because I feel smarter just reading them. Who doesn’t want to take an opportunity to geek out? I loved reading your post.

  18. This may be an example of writers thinking everyone knows – what they’re working on. Not! And really why would you since I’ve been doing a Chocolate mystery series? But I got the idea last summer and now – well you’ve read where I am on it. I’ll still be doing more chocolate mysteries though!

    I can’t wait to read your post next week.

  19. Interesting to read about other writer’s processes! Thrillers are a challenge…loved Michael Palmer and was so saddened when I read of his passing. Medical thrillers can be particularly hard in that the research can be cumbersome. But I really think you are on to something with the internet drugs!!! Best of luck and happy writing :)

  20. It was very sad. I’d just met him (for a nano-second) and took his workshop at Thrillerfest. He made writing a medical thriller seem not only doable but something I should have done long ago!

  21. It’s really fun to see how others go about finding inspiration. I never thought about Pinterest as a way to collect ideas. Being a visual person, that would really work for me.

    Your story line sounds really interesting. The subject about online drugs and there many challenges is a good idea. Like you said, you can speak to the many issues associated with the use of these drugs.

  22. The writing process varies so much from person to person. When I used to teach high school and college English, that is what I most tried to impress upon students. Even though I’m well-versed in all things of a writing and reading nature, I’m still struggling to be satisfied with my first novel. It’s good to see an example of this blog hop. I’ll be participating during the first Monday in March.

  23. Pinterest is fun particularly when you’re coming up with ideas for what a character will wear, places. For visual things it’s great. And it really is like a compost heap for my mind.

  24. Love your writing process. I used to open the blank screen and start typing. Now a days, with the Tooth Talkings, I need to do some research. Google docs is a great help for me.
    Pinterest seems to be a good idea too.
    Thanks for sharing.

  25. Google can be wonderful for research. And as I say Pinterest gives me a writer’s compost heap to draw from. Thanks for stopping by


  26. Hi Pat: yes, I find that the writing process cannot be forced. You’ve got to run with it when it flows, and look for something else to do when the words won’t come.

    I enjoyed the blog hop part of the post. I’ll be participating next month as well. Stay tuned to BHB for updates!

  27. Good description of the writing process, Pat. Sometimes it just flows and sometimes it doesn’t. And ideas come from an abundance of sources. Personally get a lot of ideas when I am waking up or falling asleep. Or pleasantly occupied doing something else. Could even be reading.

    Your medical thriller sounds interesting.

  28. I found you on the BHB Linked-In group. I’d love to read a post about how you come up with your blogging ideas. I’m impressed at the amount of writing you are managing to accomplish — writers block and all.

  29. Very true Catarina. I notice you seem to have much to write about normally and often when reading I wonder where you find the time!

  30. That’s true but usually if I’ve set aside a certain amount of time I can get something done. And sometimes what I feel is the worst garbage when I’m writing it turns out to be the best!

  31. Hi Suzanne

    It’s deciding to focus on it and cutting out MOST reality TV. But I loved your piece on elephants and think you’re living an enviable life travelling and blogging about it.

  32. It’s kind of like having a peak in to someone else’s life with out having to worry about medical school and all that stuff!Thanks for stopping by Krystal.

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