Ashley Farley first visited Plain Talk as part of her Breaking the Story blog tour, where she shared her thoughts on self-publishing.
Welcome back Ashley. Today Ashley talks about her writing process.
Do you write or type?
I type! There are plenty of authors who still sit down and put pen to paper. But that is definitely not for me. Being able to move sentences and paragraphs around on the screen saves an enormous amount of time. I would be lost without spellcheck and my dictionary apps.
Do you begin planning your novel with a plot line or a character?
A character. I imagine my character, and once I blow life into her, she shows me the way.
Do your characters resemble people you know?
Not intentionally, but it’s innate. As I get inside my character’s heads, I can’t help but portray a little bit of myself in each of them. I’m always on the lookout for interesting characteristics in the people I encounter everyday.
Do you use your experiences in real life for your novels?
Not the big picture events, but I often use an anecdote from my real life to add humor or to make a situation feel more genuine, more legit.
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
For the most part I’d have to say I’m a panster, but there are definitely times when I need to use outlines to keep my facts straight and verify that my story flows. I’m fortunate to belong to a club that has an outdoor heated pool. I swim laps every day, all year long, even when it’s snowing. This peace and quite time allows me the opportunity to mentally plot what I’m going to write that day, to make up scenes and devise sentences. Then, when I sit down at my computer later in the morning, the words flow much quicker and easier.
Free flow writing, on the other hand, helps when I’m suffering from writer’s block. Good material comes from these sessions, from just typing out whatever comes to mind.
What is your main objective in your writing?
I write the types of novels I like to read. Readers are attracted to my books because of the fast pace. My goal is to create interesting characters with the right amount of description and lots of action. If my readers keep turning the pages well into the night, then I have done my job.
How many hours do you spend writing a day?
Writing has become a full time job for me. Seven days a week, much to my husband’s chagrin. The process of writing takes an enormous amount of time. When I’m not writing, I’m marketing or working the social media networks. I love every minute of it.
What is your editing process?
Getting through the first draft is challenging. Starting with a blank page every day taxes the imagination. The process gets easier, and more exciting and fun, with each subsequent draft. The story takes on a life of its own and things begin to fall into place. My favorite draft is the last edit, the fine-tune edit, when I program my computer to read the manuscript back to me.
Do you always know how your story will end?
I never know how my story will end, oftentimes until I get to the last chapter in my first draft. I bring my characters to life, give them the big picture plot, and let them tell me the story.
Can you speak to the diversity in your books?
Saving Ben is a new adult book. Her Sister’s Shoes is women’s fiction. And Breaking the Story (Scottie’s Adventures Book 2) is romance. I didn’t set out to write novels that cross genres. It just happened that way. Again, I created the characters that spoke to me, and I let them do the rest.
Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.
After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote Saving Ben in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. Saving Ben is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.