A peek behind the desk of award-winning author, Melissa Muldoon, where she shares her creative process from outlining and research to drafting and revising
A day in the life of Melissa Muldoon is spent in her home office in Austin, Texas, with a beagle at her feet, a cup of espresso on her desk, typing away on her Mac computer.
Once I have an idea for a story, I literally live in my office in front of two oversized glowing computer monitors during the writing process. I begin my novel with a twenty-page hand-written draft, which I turn into a 100-page typed outline detailing each chapter. When I am in the throes of writing, I rise early, although not a morning person, and work well into the wee hours of the night—I find that is when I do my best writing. This initial phase takes about a month. While doing this, I’m also researching everything from 16-century corsets to footwear to add to my story’s believability and accuracy.
After the story arc has been established and the chapters organized, I begin writing freely, permitting myself to explore plot twists and get to know my characters, allowing their personalities to emerge and “talk” to me. When I have completed the first draft, I obsessively attack the story front to back several times, rewriting and re-blocking scenes. Every time I make a new pass through the manuscript, I enhance dialogues and add more details and things I’ve learned from further research.
…listening to my books being read to me is a fantastic way to proof my work.
Since writing my first three novels, there has been a significant change in how I edit and review my books. This past summer, I turned my first three novels into audiobooks, and I discovered that listening to my books being read to me is a fantastic way to proof my work. So, I began to record myself reading my latest novel, and it allowed me to critically analyze the storyline and each sentence and check for flow and consistency. I can read something silently ten times over and still miss a typo or gloss over a phrase thinking it is beautifully crafted. But when reading aloud, I am more in tune with the words’ rhythm and can catch errors and things that need more flushing out or development.
Regarding developing a novel during pandemic times, aside from not traveling, experiencing new things, and meeting new people, the global lockdown hasn’t stopped me from writing or my other creative pursuits. I have always worked from my home office and spend long hours in front of the computer so, life is relatively normal in that regard. Writing this novel about Sofonisba has been a gratifying and fulfilling experience in these uncertain times. It is a great escape and comfort to lose myself in a new world that I have created and become friends with my characters. When I write, the exterior world ceases to exist for hours on end, so this novel has given me a much-needed outlet.
I do miss book fairs and meeting my readers in person. Still, through the internet, I am reaching out, making new connections I might not otherwise have made, discovering new book marketing avenues, and growing my social media accounts. The computer is a powerful tool and allows me to continue uninterrupted my creative work.
Find more on Melissa at melissamuldoon.com and studentessamata.com.
Connect with Melissa on all her Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc.) on Linktree: https://linktr.ee/MelissaMuldoon
Discover Melissa’s books on Amazon in print, epub, and audiobook: https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Muldoon/e/B01LYC7163