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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breaking the Process By Sascha Illyvich

Most writers have a set process they use to write stories. They either plot meticulously (yo!) or they fly by the seat of their pants. Some set word count goals (again, yo) others do what they can when they can.

The creative process differs for all of us but the habits we establish help shape our careers, our futures. If we're diligent about work habits, success can be ensured. If we're persistent, if we're downright employing the concept of Kai Zen, the art of continuous improvement, then our processes get refined so much that every day seems the same, yet different.

Except when it doesn't, you find your editors are screaming at you because you know better about becoming a lazy editing author. Or when your agents are calling you with news that your last project needs another round of revisions but editors like the storyline…

It's maddening. Especially when you realize the reviewers are all saying how much they love your books, sales of your novels are steady but not as good as they could be, what then?

The one thing I'm evaluating in my career as of this writing is the process. Before, I pulled up the plotter pad my mentor gave me, filled out most of it, came up with some basic character descriptions, then just wrote. I wrote more and threw everything I had into that first draft, kept a rigorous schedule even when life got in the way.

It affected my health. I had to cut back on my hobbies, then cut back on how late I stayed up just to make or exceed word count. But the stories still had deadlines and I still had a life outside of publishing. The stories I've put out in the last few years have suffered not because they were poorly written, if that were the case they'd never have sold. But because they could have been longer, with more character development time spent. I was trained to write with my heart, but also with the idea that more is better. The more releases, the more the gravy train could keep rolling.

One year I was listening to a video interview from Rammstein, the German industrial metal band and the frontman said in translated German that "Rammstein has always been about militant structure. In this album (I think it was Rise, Rise) we broke free and let loose" or something to that effect. You know what? His statement about previous albums described me to a T.

Over the years I've realized I needed a change, a different structure. I needed something that flowed better with the emotional depth I put into my novels, while allowing me more downtime. I needed my readers to see I was capable of writing longer stories. I needed readers to understand me better and realize I screamed not just for me, but for them. But if I were to proceed in my usual militant way, I'd be dead and burned out before you finished reading this blog and obsessing about me. (Hint, you obsess about me, the bad boy of romance!)

Having a looser schedule allows me to begin breathing once again as a writer and more fully develop my characters while keeping my focus on the larger prize.

A little bit about Sascha:

Proclaimed by the Publishing industry as the Bad Boy of Romance, I started writing thirteen years ago. My erotic romances have been listed under the Night Owl Romance and Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.

Find me at http://saschaillyvichauthor.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/saschaillyvich



  1. What an outstanding blog!!! Bravo! A lot of us could use some of this wisdom.
    Thank you for that.

  2. Awesome post, Sascha! Bravo on finding a new way.

  3. Awesome! I think you're definitely on to something here!

  4. I'd like to hope so, ladies! Thanks for the feedback!