Guest Post – How I Write – My 9-Step Process

By Christina Bauer, author

Guest Post – How I Write – My 9-Step Process

By Christina Bauer, author

As part of the launch tour for my new book, FAIRIES AND FROSTING (Magicorum #7), the lovely folks at Your Bookish Fiend have asked me to share my writing process. As many of you know, I keep a tough schedule, so process for me is a super big deal.

Without further ado, here goes:

Step One. I write a series treatment.

By this, I mean the overall direction for a series. Across five or more books, what happens to the heroine? Does she get married, become a queen, what? In college, I learned to write for film, so I feel comfortable following a screenwriting model for story development. A treatment (to me anyway) is a two-page summary of what the series will be about. The end product will deviate from this plan, but mehA nice overview of treatments can be found here.

Step Two. I outline my book.

Here I use a film writing system called SAVE THE CAT. You outline your story into three acts. If this is the first book in the series, then I also outline four sequels at a high level. I cannot over-emphasize how important this is. Otherwise, writing sequels is a total bitch. It’s a lot easier to leave bread crumbs if you know where you want to end up, if that makes sense.

An overview of SAVE THE CAT, Blake Snyder and beat sheets can be found here, along with examples and downloads.

Step Three. I align my outline to other stuff.

Here I rework my SAVE THE CAT stuff by adding three sections. First, I make sure to decide my character arc. Namely, where does the heroine start off emotionally … and where does she end up? Second and third, I compare the outline to both a fairy tale and a movie that match the overall character arc. For FAIRIES AND FROSTING, the arc is for Elle to learn to accept her magical differences. The fairy tale it aligns to is Cinderella and the movie is Die Hard.

Step Four. I create Pinterest Boards.

I read a ton of books, but for me, what I put into my head comes out on the page. If I’m reading the same stuff as everyone else, then I’m writing like them too. My readers appreciate creativity and fresh world building, so reading alone just won’t do. That’s why I create Pinterest inspiration boards for each key character and setting. As of writing this, I have hundreds of boards and thousands of pins.

KEY TASK: When I create a character board, I try to select images of at least one historical figure that reminds me of my fictional life story and voice.

Step Five. I paste my outline into Scrivener

This is a writing tool where each chapter becomes a file folder on the left-hand side of the screen. It makes it easier to move around content as I play with stuff. For me, the outline is never perfect. I’m always adjusting it.

I can play around with stuff in Scrivener for quite a while. Once the story is pretty solid, then I move onto yet another way of looking at story structure…

Step Six. I load my chapter list into Excel

In my work, I often have complex and overlapping story lines. To make sure I’m focusing on what’s important, I map my chapters into Excel and cross-reference that against key themes. Now when I talk about themes, I mean romance, action, the big bad, that kind of thing. To check my work, I create a spreadsheet with colored blocks and then insert the blocks when they appear in a chapter. It gives me a visual representation of the story, as in: crap, I’ve got ten chapters without any action! This is when I (once again!) move stuff around a lot. As in, a lot, a lot.

And now, with all that behind me, I get to the actual writing of the book!

Step Seven. I write chapter one

Please note that I try not start to write in earnest until all the stuff above is complete. Early on in my career, I used to have writer’s block … as in, I’d write ten chapters and chuck nine of them. Now that rarely happens, but it’s because I’ve found that all my prep work is key. Everyone’s process is different, but there you go.

Step Eight. I perfect each chapter, read for flow, and a ton of other stuff

Once the structure of a story is set, each chapter is its own mini structure (in my writing anyway.) I have a whole system for how I write chapters, find voice, set flow, and so on. For example: In a new chapter, I try to describe any new settings by referencing all five senses and finishing in less than two paragraphs.

Step Nine. It all goes into a series bible

Each book series has a bible (which is fancy name for a long word doc) where I keep a list of characters and descriptions.

So that’s it: My writing process in nine steps. Hope you find it interesting and I hope to see you on a future book launch!

Fairies and Frosting

Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, #7)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: July 20th 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

At last, Elle (never call her Cinderella) is reunited with Alec, the Prince of Le Charme Jewelers. Yay! But the pair soon discovers that Alec’s gemstone empire is about to go bankrupt. Boo. So our favorite couple devises a kick-ass scheme to save Le Charme. To announce their plan, Elle and Alec will hold a Glass Slipper Festival complete with music, dancing and cake. Lots of cake.

There’s only one problem. The Unseelie fae have returned.

Talk about bad news. No one combines lovely looks with dark intentions better than the Unseelie. Now, those nefarious fae want to destroy Elle, Alec and any hope for Le Charme. It doesn’t end there, either. The Unseelie are also targeting Elle’s stepsister, Agatha, as well as her old friend, Jacoby. And when will the Unseelie launch their deadly schemes? The Glass Slipper Festival.

Because fairies and frosting don’t mix.

“I thought the Angelbound series was my favorite, but Fairy Tales of the Magicorum may have stolen my heart.” – Smada’s Book Smack Blog

1. Wolves And Roses
2. Moonlight And Midtown
3. Slippers And Thieves
4. Shifters And Glyphs
5. Bandits And Ball Gowns
6. Fire and Cinder
7. Fairies and Frosting
8 Towers and Tithes

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Author Bio

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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  1. avatar

    Thanks for being on the tour! 🙂

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