Thursday, July 12, 2012

Confessions of a Kitchen Table Writer

By Jeannie Watt

I am a kitchen table writer. There is an area in my home that I could make into an office—a nice quiet room, with a door I could shut and a desk I could write at—but I prefer to write at my kitchen table, thus my monthly PHS column, Confessions of a Kitchen Table Writer.

July ConfessionNo matter how many times I’m proven wrong, I always believe that the next book will be easier to write.

The process is as follows:
1) While writing a difficult book, I get a fantastic idea that I can’t wait to put down on paper—because it’ll be easier to write than the book I’m working on now.
2) I pitch the idea to my editor and, being a wonderful person, she buys it.
3) I’m very excited—because this book is going to be easy—and I start to write.
4) I hit a wall. These blasted characters aren’t behaving as planned. The obstacles I’d planned are no longer valid for the characters that have somehow appeared in the first few chapters—characters who bear only a slight resemblance to the characters I pitched to my editor.  Who are these people? Why are they behaving like this?
5) The characters continue to throw roadblocks. I write myself into a corner.
6) Repeat step 5 many times.
7) At mid point (usually a week before deadline because of the roadblocks) I put my head down and finish the book, wrestling the characters into place, forcing them to do as they’re told.
8) During this entire process I get many great ideas for new books and my mantra is “The next book will be easier. I know those characters. They won’t do this to me.”
9) I turn in the book, revise and edit, end up loving it.  It’s my new favorite, but it was a bear to put onto paper.
10) I propose the great idea I got while writing that book, knowing, just knowing, that this new book will be easier to write.

As of this morning, I’m three chapters into my newest book. The characters bear little resemblance to the characters I pitched to my editor. I’m firmly wedged into a corner. And I just got this great idea…

Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt lives in rural Nevada and writes fast-paced, character-driven stories set in the western United States. Her next SuperRomance, Crossing Nevada, which was a breeze to write compared to the book she's writing now, is a December 2012 release.  To find out more about Jeannie and her books, please visit her website.


  1. Welcome to my life!
    I SO know this feeling. Currently I need to get the parital in shape so I can send to my editor who loved what I told her I was going to do

  2. High five, Michelle! Glad to have company.