The Writing Prep Zone

Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and
award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian
market. Her most popular series (that started with Always the Baker Never
the Bride
from Abingdon Press) will conclude this spring with Always the Baker FINALLY the
Bride
, which is now available for pre-order at Amazon.Connect with the author on her website or on Facebook.
  

My
name is Sandra D. Bricker, and I’m a serial prepper.
Okay. Let me explain.

Every
few months, I schedule a Skype session with a favorite girlfriend of mine. The
other morning, we had coffee together across the miles between Southern
California and Central Florida, and – as usual – one of the first things she
asked me: “So how’s the writing going?”
“I’m
in the Prep Zone,” I replied.
Because
she’s known me for a couple of hundred years, she understood exactly what this
meant. Ever since my college days, I’ve referred to the hours before an
important date as The Prep Zone. If
you’re a woman, you’ll understand. These are the hours burgeoning with activities
like a fresh mani/pedi, an extra-long/extra-hot bath, a snack of protein so we
don’t sit down for dinner feeling ravenous … The Prep Zone.
My
time before beginning a new writing project is very much the same. I have a sort
of laundry list of things I like to do to find the appropriate mood for the
story I’ll write. It goes a little something like this:
I read. Something
completely UNLIKE what I’ll be
writing; a sort of palate-cleansing adventure. A Frank Peretti, a Brandilyn
Collins, or a Colleen Coble. I like a little something to take my mind off the
last project and away from the one to come.
I listen. To music – all
sorts of music! – until I find that just-right soundtrack for the story I’ll
soon start. When I wrote The Big 5-OH!,
Michael Buble made the cut. And I enjoyed him so much that he carried over to
the next novel, Always the Baker Never
the Bride
. By the time I started the second book in the series, Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride,
the classic rock of Bob Seger rose to the top. For Raw Edges (my upcoming Quilts of Love book releasing in the fall), I’d
found inspiration in vintage Van Morrison. The music is as important to the
writing as the words themselves for me.
I go
people-watching.

I can sit in a Starbucks or on a park bench or in my favorite wine bar for
hours, just watching the folks who cross my path. Every now and then, a
platinum blonde with an enviable sense of style walks by…and an Audrey Regan
(from Always the Designer Never the Bride)
is instantly born!
I scribble. I almost never
leave home without a small leather notebook in my purse. When a funny line or
situation pounces, I’ve learned to write it down before it escapes. If sudden
plot inspiration falls out of the sky, I’m ready to catch it. Not with a net,
of course; but with a sturdy gel pen and a page of my journal.
By
the time my handsome date arrives – err, I mean by the time I type Word 1 – I usually feel fairly
well prepared already. I’ve started getting to know my characters. I know what
music they enjoy, what clothes they wear, what kind of person they’re attracted
to, and whether they have a dog or not. Because of my prep time, I’m ready to
put characters and situations that have already become very real in my mind to
the page so that my readers will feel the same.
What
about you? What’s the most important part of your preparation process? If you
share something that I want to “borrow,” I’ll put you in the running to win a
copy of the final book in my Another Emma
Rae Creation
series from Abingdon Press. Always the Baker Finally the Bride releases on April 1st.