Thanks to Cindy Wilson for tagging me in the Writing Process Blog Chain last Monday. If you’re curious about her process, you can visit Cindy here. The purpose behind this blog chain is to learn a little more about our fellow writers, so here are my answers!
1. What am I currently working on?
I’m about halfway through my third YA novel, a character-driven story with SciFi elements.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
A lot of science fiction takes us to worlds outside our own, whether it’s in space, hundreds of years in the future, or on an entirely different planet. My projects are grounded in real life with just enough ‘what if’ to create a unique setting and speculative twist that takes readers away—but not too far.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Because I have to. I started a NA crime story (which I might revisit someday) but it was TOO grounded in real life. I visited my local jail, met with an attorney and talked to countless police. I even called the Poison Control hotline (to reiterate…I am NOT trying to kill anyone in real life but thank you for taking down all my pertinent information). A third of the way into the story, it felt like work, and my creative energy vanished. I had to let it go—for now.
I gravitate toward YA books because I love the intensity in the emotions and the rash decisions of the young and the fearless, and I write Speculative Fiction because those stories veer outside the norm. I’m passionate about writing novels that are as unusual as the books I love to read.
4. How does my writing process work?
I start with a concept that hits me, and I figure out the MC’s goal, the obstacles in the way and what the MC needs to do to achieve their desired outcome. I like flipping through magazines to find pictures of the characters in my head so I can study them, find good names that fit them, think about their backstories/motivations. Then I try to plot. I really do. I stay on course for a few chapters, but then my characters usually take me in random directions. Sometimes it creates a mess of plot holes, and in order to break through the chapters that get me stuck, I’ve been prone to highlighting areas that I’ll need to revisit in second and third drafts. I’ve gotten better about moving forward with every novel, remembering to pile in the sand and mold the castles later.
While I’m writing, I’ll send chapters through a CP to make sure the plot is developing as I’d hoped. This CP has a general idea of the story, so they understand the vision I’m going for. I try to let the manuscript sit before going through it again to flush out plot issues and add much-needed layers. Then I’ll send it to another CP and after I receive their notes, I’ll send chapters through a third CP. That’s when I start rounding up beta readers for the first round of feedback. At this point I’ve stepped away from the manuscript and am itching to go through the draft again, using beta readers to fix problem areas and address questions/issues. I’ll send my novel through another group of betas while I work on my query and the dreaded synopsis.
Thanks for letting me share my writing process with you. I’m happy to pass this chain along to Michele Cacano-Green, a fellow writer I met at the 2013 PNWA conference. Please visit her blog next Monday to learn more about her writing process. Her author’s blog, “A Dream and a Scream”, can be found here.