Sybil Bartel’s Writing Process

My Favorite Thing To Write by Sybil Bartel

No Apologies AuthorYou would think this was an easy question, right? But really, I equate it to walking into a candy store and having to choose one thing. Who wants that? Well, okay, I’d so go for the chocolate covered cherries. But I’d be tempted, really tempted, by a lot of other candy.

Writing is like candy. I crave it. But mostly, I crave the damaged, desperate parts. If the love scenes are the chocolate covered cherries, I want to write the broken bits and pieces that fall apart. I love the drama. But more? I love a broken character. I love the desperation of wanting something so badly but knowing that getting it will break you. And the bad boy character that takes all that angst and turns it into the prefect alpha storm? Oh man. Swoon.

For me, Graham Allen in NO APOLOGIES is that character. He’s gritty and raw and desperate. He wants his heroine, Carly, so badly but he knows she will break him. With each sentence I wrote, the layers of Graham’s story built up and took me by surprise. I am totally a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer. It’s all character driven for me. I love to watch the hero’s story unfold, occasionally helping out with an adjective here or there (wink). But ultimately, it’s the hero’s story, and all the grit in between the priceless moments. That is what keeps me going.

Is it hard to write the heartbreaking parts? Does it make me want to crawl into bed and cry? Do I wish my characters wouldn’t make such horrible decisions? I so do. But. Without those broken bits and pieces that make up the in between, we wouldn’t have the really spectacular chocolate covered cherry scenes. And I live for those scenes.

So, if you ask me, it’s the grit I love to write. It makes the whole candy store come together. Maybe tomorrow I will change my mind. Maybe I will be writing one of those really spectacular scenes for Graham’s best friend, Myles. And maybe I will say—Hey! Those! Those hot and heavy, clothes flying, hands skimming, breaths faltering, scenes—those are my favorite. But deep down, I’ll know. There’s no reward without the work. There’s no dessert without dinner and there’s no story without the angst. I love the angst—desperately, obsessively, adoringly—love the angst.

Read more about No Apologies here.

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