#MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

2013-12-12 Reflections on writing process
2013-12-12 Reflections on writing process (Photo credit: sachac)

I’ve been tagged by Nicole Ciacchella, a fellow Infinite Inkling (infiniteinkauthors.com), to participate in this blog hop about my writing process. Check out Nicole’s blog at www.nciacchella.com to read about her writing process. Better yet, take a look at her books while you’re there. She writes everything from contemporary women’s fiction to YA dystopian, including  the Contributor Trilogy and the Fairytale Collection under her pen name, Elizabeth Darcy.

I think I did a post about my writing process a year and a half ago or so. If I do one every year it will be a nice way to track how my writing process changes over the years as I develop as an author! But here goes for now …

1)     What am I working on?

I’m drafting The Fire Sisters, the third book in my Brilliant Darkness series. It’s semi-sadistic fun to dream up all the ways I can make Fennel, Peree, and their friends work harder for their happy endings. It’s still early in the drafting process, so no specific time frame for publication yet. I’m sticking to a general commitment of 2014, and I promise I’m working hard to make it the best novel I can write.

I’m also revising my new YA fantasy, Beyond the Mist. I have a lot to work out with it before it’s ready for publication, but I’m determined to prevail over the misbehaving manuscript.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, this can be a hard one to answer. My Brilliant Darkness series is YA dystopian/fantasy romance. I’ve read quite a bit in this genre, and I’m often surprised at how many elements seem similar between many books (or maybe I’m self-selecting, attracted to the ones that have similar elements!) I think one big difference in my series from others in the genre is that the main character, Fennel, is blind. She has to negotiate her surroundings without the benefit of sight, and I have to write whole novels without the benefit of visuals. It was a challenge for my first published novels, but one that I hope enriches the books rather than taking anything away.

The other difference is that many dystopians take place in the future after an apocalypse, and they are set in cities or other urban environments rigidly controlled by an often militaristic governmental entity. The setting for Brilliant Darkness takes place after a zombie apocalypse, but the setting is a vast forest, and the novels revolve around communities that, while dystopian, are smaller in scale and much more primitive than in most novels in this genre.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I usually end up pursuing the ideas that stick around in my head for the longest. I’m often mulling over concepts and plots for many months to years before I start writing them. This allows me time to compost my ideas and see what grows. My first published novel, The Scourge, was born over the course of a month of near constant brainstorming. But The Fire Sisters has been clamoring to have its chance for probably two years now. I’m glad to finally get the ideas out of my head and into the computer and to see what my readers think of them.

4)     How does your writing process work?

I guess I started answering that one in #3 above. Once I have a concept that I feel can carry the weight of a whole novel (or series), I start drafting it. I am NOT a quick drafter, maybe because I don’t tend to outline. But I enjoy the process of discovering the plot and new characters along the way as I write. Once I have a draft, I do one or two big revisions where I work through the book, rewriting or moving scenes, fixing both big-picture problems and smaller issues until I think it’s in shape. I have a beta reader or two read it for me and suggest changes. Then I revise again until the problems are worked out.

This has worked well for me in the past with The Scourge and The Defiance, but it’s not a particularly efficient way to produce novels. So, I’m experimenting and refining my process. I suspect that creating a synopsis in the beginning, followed by at least a minimal chapter and scene outline would ultimately reduce my drafting time and help me pinpoint story problems before I spend a ton of time writing them.  As a writer—heck, as a human—I want to stay open to trying new things and not get stuck in my ways. It’s what’s fun about learning the craft of fiction and what’s fun about life.

Up next on the #mywritingprocess blog hop:

1) A. B. Harms, author of the middle-grade fantasy BEWILDERED, A Bewilderness Tale, Book One lives in Louisville, KY with a wildebeest, a pontificating squirrel, and quite a lot of bees… at least that’s what she told me.

2) Kimberly Johnson. Kim relishes stories that are suspenseful, mysterious, and filled with diverse characters. She lives in Oregon with her husband, six-year-old, and newborn. The dreary winter months have been great inspirations for writing her two YA Suspense novels in progress, HER ONLY ESCAPE and CROSSING ANGELA.