Today, Cyndi Tefft, the author of the Between series, has provided us with a guest post as a part of her Even in Darkness blog tour!
Writing: It’s a process
When Halee asked me to do a guest post on my writing process, I’ll admit I was stumped for a bit. I’ve always thought my “process” was pretty unexciting: I take my laptop to Panera every Saturday morning and, after eating a scrumptious breakfast sandwich, I work away for a few hours until I either hit a wall or lunchtime rolls around and I have to pack it up in order to go home to my family.
Kinda boring, am I right?
But something happened yesterday that put her question of my writing process in a whole new light for me: I was almost killed in a car accident.
While driving home from my day job, I went through a tunnel. For some reason, the left lane was backed up, but my lane was cruising along nicely. A white car in the other lane decided to make a break for it, so they hit the gas and cut over right in front of me. I didn’t see them coming. I had no time to mentally process what was happening or what could happen. Instinct took over and I slammed on my brakes, wrenching my steering wheel so that my car was poised to kiss the wall of the tunnel. The screeching of my tires echoed around us like harpies. The white car missed me by inches and thankfully, the person behind me was paying attention and didn’t ram into me.
Massive, probably-would-have-squished-me-like-bug crash averted.
Tears streamed down my face as I made my way home. My whole body shook with the force of the adrenaline rush and the horror of what might have been. When I finally got home, I curled into my husband’s arms and sobbed. Even though technically nothing had happened—I didn’t even have a scratch—I was overcome with shock and the recognition that I could have died. My mind circled the drain, imagining my family getting the news, rushing to the scene, asking for others to pray because they didn’t know then that it was already too late. My car wasn’t wrecked, but I was.
My brain was going through a slow-motion reel, swimming in a pool of emotion and terror, and examining the pain from every angle so that I could process what had happened—and what COULD have happened—and finally let it go.
And it struck me that THIS is actually my writing process.
If we were to make a movie of our lives, it would be pretty dang boring. We spend a great deal of time fixing food, eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom, working… Blah, blah, blah. There’s a reason why stories skip over all that, even though we spend the bulk of our day doing these things. We want to get to the good stuff, the exciting stuff, the stuff that matters, that moves the story forward.
Writing a book is a bit like watching life with a super speed remote control. We fast forward through the unexciting stuff with lightning speed, barely registering the day-to-day minutia, but then when we get to the good parts, we slow everything down to a frame-by-frame, thought-by-thought speed so we can extract every little emotion from that critical moment.
When a hero and heroine first kiss, that scene should take ten times longer than any other scene because it matters that much. We should know what’s going on in her head, how she feels, what she’s afraid of, what she’s excited about… It’s more than lips touching. It’s a pivotal scene.
When my near-accident happened, I didn’t have time to think at all. That came later. But in a story, you are immersed in a character’s thoughts and emotions at the time the action is happening, which makes the experience that much more powerful.
So my writing process is to hit fast-forward on the less exciting stuff and to spend hours crafting those crucial moments so that the reader feels every breath, every thought, and every touch as if they were there. And there’s nothing like the high I get from seeing that come to life on the page!
Between (Between 1)
It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water’s life isn’t alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.
After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.
Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven’s siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.
Hell Transporter (Between 2)
Aiden MacRae has been given a new life after being stuck transporting souls to heaven for the last three hundred years. He doesn’t know the culture, the times or the slang, but there is one thing he does know: he didn’t come forward alone.
The master of hell has other plans for the Scottish Highlander and has sent a transporter of his own to get the deed done. Will Lindsey be able to save him or get caught in the crossfire?
Even in Darkness (Between 3)
I thought it was over, that all our troubles were behind us.
We had a fairytale castle wedding surrounded by family and friends. Aiden wore a dress kilt, looking so handsome it made my heart squeeze, and I floated on air in a white version of the ball gown he’d cast for me in Versailles. Flower girl, ring bearer, Scottish ceilidh afterward—check, check, and check. It was perfect.
We were supposed to live happily ever after.
But that was before I walked in to find another woman in his bed, a demon with blood red eyes who’d disguised herself as me in order to get what she wanted most: a child from a heaven transporter.
And it was in that moment—watching my entire world crumble to the ground—that I knew.
This was not over. Not by a long shot.
About the author:
Cyndi Tefft lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is overcast and rainy, much like the Highlands of Scotland. So she was right at home when she got the chance to visit Eilean Donan Castle.
A self-proclaimed Scot freak, she loved every bit about the trip to Scotland: the people, the kilts, the accents, the fish & chips, the haggis…well okay, not the haggis.