Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trish Perry is here with a giveaway!

I'm so excited to welcome Trish Perry onto the blog today! Trish is not only a wonderful writer, she's a sweet woman and a breeze to work with.

Today, Trish is giving us a glimpse of her writing process. She's also offering one lucky commenter the choice between her latest releases. To get yourself entered to win either Unforgettable or Tea for Two, leave a comment for Trish either asking her a question or noting something you found interest about her process. (Contest closes Tuesday, March 29th. US Residents only.)

In her own words, here's Trish's writing process:

1. Daydream about my characters over several days until I have a good idea of who they are, at which point I make note of their main points: looks (I search for pictures of people—usually celebrities—who look similar to how I picture my characters), personality type (both strengths and weaknesses), family background, etc. I use a program on my computer that allows me to store pictures and details so I always have them to refer back to. That way I don’t forget details as the story progresses, like eye color, family makeup, and so forth.

2. Determine how my hero and heroine will cross paths. I usually try to have some

conflict in that, even if it’s just funny conflict. Since I write romance, they at least notice each other early on, even if they don’t interact right away.

3. Plan out five plot turns (the fifth of which will be the climax) that will impact my lead character significantly in her personal journey during the book. These plot turns will happen close to the beginning and then at about the 25%, 50%, and 75% points in the story. And then, of course, the climax occurs close to the story’s end.

4. Figure out (in one sitting or often as I go along) how my lead character will go from each of those plot turns to the next. Each step of the way will usually result in a separate chapter. I often just plan out the first several chapters—by writing a sentence or two about what will happen—and then get to writing. Otherwise you could spend all your time planning and never get around to writing!

5. This is enough to get me through my first draft. I tend to do a lot of editing as I go along, and I always stray from my original outline a bit, depending on where the characters take me.

Trish Perry is an award-winning novelist who's written Unforgettable (2011, Summerside Press) and Tea for Two (2011), The Perfect Blend (2010), Sunset Beach (2009--winner, 2010 Greater Detroit RWA Award), Beach Dreams (2008), Too Good to Be True (2007), and The Guy I'm Not Dating (2006), all for Harvest House Publishers. She collaborated with several renowned authors on the devotionals Delight Yourself in the Lord, Even on Bad Hair Days (Spring 2011) and God's Grace is Sufficient--But Decaf is NOT (Fall 2011) for Summerside Press. She wrote a monthly column, "Real Life is Stranger," for Christian Fiction Online Magazine and was editor of Ink and the Spirit, the newsletter of Washington D.C.'s Capital Christian Writers organization for seven years. Before her novels, Perry published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media.

Perry holds a B.A. in Psychology, was a 1980s stockbroker, and held positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and in several Washington law firms. She serves on the Board of Directors of CCW and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She invites you to visit her at www.trishperry.com


  1. Wow! I find it all fascinating! Especially the development of her characters. I love to learn about different authors' processes!

    I have Tea for Two but would love to be entered for Unforgettable.

    Michelle V

  2. I'm not entering the contest, since I'm old!!:) BUT, I just had to comment. This was amazing to read. I'm completely fascinated by others process. I love that she has it so down to a science...although I'm sure it may not feel that way.

    So many writers will say, "don't do this', or "don't do that". I just love when I hear one author contradict another one because it just reminds me that there is no right way.

    I'm going to have to check her out, I love that top cover!

  3. I would love to ask her what is the biggest challenge she faces as a writer? What is the biggest blessing?

    I haven't read her books, but I'm always looking for new books to read.


  4. Oh, my! How she develops the plot turns is stellar! I think that is just what I needed to think about for my WIP! Thanks for the info!

    Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.

  5. I've seen a lot of my blogger friends who are writing a book put up pictures of what their characters look like.I kinda don't want to do that.I give hair color,height,eye color maybe and some clothes description, but I want the readers imagination to do the rest.Or I hope it works that way :)
    Wow you've done a lot of books!
    Hope I win :)

  6. Oh, Nicole! Ridiculous. You're entered :)

  7. I loved reading your writing process, it was really fascinating! My favorite part was when you said you spend a few days day dreaming about your different characters and their plot lines. I was really glad I'm not the only one! (:

    Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.

  8. Wow! This book looks amazing and I LOVE the cover! So pretty!

    Haha that's exactly what I do with my characters - I'll spend hours just looking for pictures of celebrities that look like my characters. I'm glad I'm not the only one! ;)

    Please enter me!


  9. This is my favourite way of all of them so far! I'm going to be writing for two weeks starting tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited. I like this way because it's pretty relaxed, and things I do already. I would much rather daydream about my characters and look up picture's of them than do all those organization things:P But I do need to work on the organization stuff -- I'm not stupid ;)

    Thanks for a great post!


  10. I absolutely love the first one- sometimes I will daydream and think about my charachters so much that I start calling my friends by their names haha, it has happened before and it was a bit embarassing.
    A lot of my charachters' traits are inspired by people I know, and their own stories, physical attributes and personalities help me shape my charachters.
    I love your advice about planning out five plot turns- that's a good way to keep organized when you know what's coming ahead for the section of your story you are writing, and how they impact your charachter, and supporting charachters.
    The cover art for your book looks fantastic- I can't wait to read it! Thank you for the advice, I found it interesting and helpful, cheers!

  11. Wow!
    A lot of work goes into each chapter, and book!
    I've never read any of your books, but Unforgettable looks AMAZING!
    I will definitely be reading it even if I dont win.
    Thanks for sharing with us!

  12. WOW I must start off by saying that the top book cover is soo intruiging!! I love it! THAT is how I would do my book covers:) I totally love that you dream about your characters, I do that too. In fact, all my stories have originated from laying in bed and dreaming about something and then I decide to write a story about it:) Or sometimes they originate in school or church. (I know, a sin indeed:))
    You have written quite a few books! Congratulations! That is like every writers dream:)
    Keep up the amazing work, and God Bless
    I would like to be entered for the Unforgettable book! The cover reminds me of the movie the Sound OF Music for some reason:)

  13. Thank you for sharing your process! I really like it. I think I'm definitely going to start integrating how you plan plot turns - I like that you plan what they are and then formulate the connecting threads.

  14. Trish, I like how you plan out the plot turns in your book and try to see how the characters are going to change after them.
    And I also like how you daydream about your characters for a few days too! I love doing that =D
    Sometimes with my guy-characters I almost fall in love with them because I made them so attractive. haha

  15. First off, that is a BEAUTIFUL cover for Unforgettable! Very nice!

    The interview was very helpful. Thank you for sharing some pointers with us, Trish!

    My question - you commented that you always stray from your original outline a bit. So I'm curious...have you ever written an outline and then, as you write, your characters completely change the plot and outline, making it better? :-)

    Forgettable looks like something *really* neat to win. Thanks for the chance!

    ~ Katy

  16. I love how you develop your characters. I've been trying to come up with multiple ways to do this, since all my characters are different it makes sense to me to come up with them in different ways.

    I really hope to get a chance to read one of your books soon!


  17. Hey, Anna, you're our winner! Can you please email me at Stephanie(at)StephanieMorrillBooks.com with your mailing address?