Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cynthia Hickey's writing process and a giveaway

Cynthia Hickey is here today!

I've loved having such a variety of writers on here to talk about their process for writing a novel. Something that's fascinated me is how I appear to be the last writer on the planet who does not go looking for pictures of her characters.

Cynthia Hickey has been making up stories since she was a child. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two of their seven children plus a dog, two cats, two birds, and a snake named Flash. Fudge-Laced Felonies and Candy-Coated Secrets are now available in retail stores and online.

Cynthia has offered to give away a copy of Fudge-Laced Felonies to one lucky commenter. Details below.

Step one: An idea comes to me out of the blue. I hear something, see something, read something that sets my imagination spinning. Then I come up with my characters names and search the internet for pictures of them.

Step two: Sometimes my stories involve research. If so, I browse the internet and read a lot of books that pertain to my story. If I have no research, I skip this step.
Step three: A rough, and I mean very rough, usually written on post-it notes, outline and list of chapter ideas. I'm what you call a seat of the pants writer, so these notes can change at a moment's notice.

During all of these steps, I'm writing the story. I usually have two screens up on my laptop. One for the story, one for the synopsis. They are written at the same time. The title usually comes somewhere around the middle of the book. I find the title and the synopsis to be the hardest things to write.

Oh, man. I have troubles with titles too. I'm within 10,000 words of finishing my current manuscript, and I'm still calling this thing by my main character's first name. Crossing my fingers that brilliance will strike...

To get entered to win Fudge-Laced Felonies, you can leave a comment either asking Cynthia a question, or tell us how YOU feel about coming up with titles. (US Residents only, Winner will be drawn Tuesday, June 14th.)


  1. I am going to be dead if I can ever think up a title.To much thinking ya know.I have been making progress though.I changed my plot like three times even though I kept most of the basics.Q:How do you get close to your characters?Thinking about situations and judging how they would act?Finding pictures that just describe them?How?

  2. I am never good at naming things,and I have the same problem naming my artwork. Q:How did you know what you needed more research about in a specific area?


  3. Sometimes, it takes awhile before I'm inspired with the right name. But there are other times when an idea pops into my head soon after I come up with that story. :)

    Thanks for the great giveaway!


  4. Well,the title for the book is probably the easiest thing for me because it will just come to me while I'm thinking of the story. I've thought up alot of book ideas in my life time but I never finish them. :( it's sad. The book i'm, thinking of right now is called "The Father Daughter Love Story" I'm really into this one but I'm just stuck right now. That's an awesome give away. I hope somone awesome wins.

    Blessings Hope

  5. The title's definitely the hardest thing for me. I think that's probably because there's so much riding on it. To sum up your book in a few words, and be the first bit of your writing that readers get to see? That's pretty important.

    Also, Stephanie, I wanted to let you know I've awarded you the Irresistably Sweet Blog Award at www.literally-ya.blogspot.com. All the other information is there. Thanks for everything you do with your blog!

  6. Sometimes titles are easy and sometimes they are hard for me. Sometimes, I think of a title and then I write a story based on the title, but that hardly ever works out, and then other times, I have a title that I like but by the middle of the story, I hate it and know I need another one.

  7. Jenna, you're such a sweetie! (Okay, I typed that, then realized it probably sounds too "cute" considering its' the Irresistably Sweet Blog Award, but I can't find a noun I prefer.)Thank you for the honor. I have so much fun on Go Teen Writers :)

  8. Title are hard. Like it isn't too hard to come up with a title, but coming up with a GOOD title is so hard. Being original, and yet in a pinch of words describe your entire book, and sell it to the reader at the same time! Madness!

    Please enter me

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  9. Sometimes its hard for my to come up with a title because I always want it to be perfect other times they just come to me. My question: How do you think of good last names for your characters?

  10. Please enter me! Thanks! :D

    Titles are usually pretty easy for me. The hard part is writing the whole story (and especially editing, which I'm doing right now!). If the story is about a person, I usually use their name in the title, and something that's really evident in the book. My book-in-process is titled "Tania's Faith"!

  11. Titles are very hard for me, and it is rare when I think of a title at the beginning of a project. Anything with "fudge" in the title would catch my eye!! :) I've actually just recently heard of looking up pictures for character ideas. That's something worth trying I think.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


  12. I love your titles. They make me smile even though I know they are about murder or other crimes. I don't think I could come up with the creative titles that you do. I wish I could do that. I am challenged when it comes to titles. How exactly do you come up with these awesome titles? Thank you so much for the chance to win this book. It looks like a great read. Thank you again.

  13. Korie MulhollamdJune 7, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I generally begin with the title... And then writs the story... and then change the title based on where the book took me :)

  14. I hate titles too. Any sort of titles. It can be headlines for my newspaper articles or titles for short stories. I am not good at coming up with them either. Thank you for showing how you do things though. How interesting.

  15. I love to see how every writer has such individuality and how it shows in their processes. :)

    Btw, I'm holding an MC Blogfest in Jeannie's honor! Drop by and join us, please! <3

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  16. I can totally connect with step one! Most of my writing gets done after I get back from taking a walk or a long drive. I'm always looking out the window and thinking, "Who would live in that disqusting yellow house that I just passed by?" And then all these ideas start flowing, and a storyline about a rich family downsizing to a rusted small yellow house occurs.
    I write a lot of mystery/sci-fi stories, so I love to connect the most randomest people and places together, and show how they are all connected to eachother in the end. I get inspiration for charachters mostly by people watching, and just kind of asking myself questions like, What if that lady in the suit really doesn't like her job and is only working in an office to pay off the people who blackmailed her? or What if the Dad on the park bench with his daughter is about to leave to go back to his other wife and daughter in a parallel universe?
    I am always building story lines around the smallest ideas and find that ideas and storylines come best when you question the normal things that you experience on a daily basis :)

  17. Titles are definitely the hardest! These stories were fairly easy because the main character owns a candy store, so I came up with candy themed titles. Usually, I explain the story to my husband and a group of friends and they brainstorm for a title that jumps out at me. Don't stress too much over your title. Most often, the publisher changes it anyway. You just want something that fits and gives a hint of the story. Hope this helps!

    As for last names, I work at a school. I come up with a first name, then think of all the people I know and see which of their last names sounds good with the first name I picked out.

  18. I have an awful time with titles--they always end up sounding so cliche.

  19. Our winner is Sarah! Congratulations!