I love blog hops. All these great authors and authoresses (is that a word?) coming together to promote and high-five each other’s awesomeness. It’s so much fun and we get to meet so many people. And it gives us topics for our blogs just in case our minds are too deep into torturing our characters to think of anything else.
BIG thanks to Elsie Elmore for inviting me to this Writing Process blog hop. Elsie is amazing and I have to say, I’ve enjoyed reading all the other author’s posts who are participating in this super fun event.
The purpose of this blog hop is to turn others on to our own writing process, so, without further ado, here’s a little bit about my normal writing routine.
1) What are you working on?
What am I NOT working on? I’ve got so many projects going, sometimes it’s hard to keep them straight.
My super big project at the moment is a YA part high, part urban fantasy trilogy. The first novel, tentatively titled IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, is finished and undergoing yet another ‘final’ edit. I keep telling myself this time it is the final edit, but I know me. I know it will be hard for me to let it go because I want it to be perfect even though I know there is no such thing. I’m always striving to make it better, but at some point, I’m going to have to hit that submit button and be done with it.
I am also working on the other two novels in the trilogy and they are coming along well. There are multiple short stories and a YA novella I’ve written. The YA novella, Summerfirth, needs a bit tweaking and a couple thousand words added to turn it into a novel, and then I can send it to a publisher who has already asked for the full and fast-tracked its submission. I’m way too excited about all the prospects. I just need to keep rocking it.
2) How does your work differ from others in its genre?
You know, I keep trying to find the right answer to this question but it seems to elude me. I think I try to find ways to approach stories differently, for example. There are two primary teen characters in my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING. They are unique in the sense that they don’t fall into the stereotypical idea of what YA characters should be. Most YA characters seem to be of mediocre backgrounds. They’ve got some sort of ‘family’ issue that makes the reader bond with them right away. My two main characters are not mediocre. They are both quite wealthy and can get whatever they want, except a few things money can’t buy…honor, respect and family. I like to put different spins on my stories. I like taking people out of their comfort zones.
I also try to add twists to my stories that readers don’t anticipate. I like to give my readers a gasp effect. I love writing those ‘whoa, I did not see that one coming” sort of stories.
Oh, I also love dragons, lots and lots of dragons, so much so, they’re in almost everything I write.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write YA and fantasy because it’s my place to escape. As a teen, I was very sheltered. I was also a ‘goodie goodie’. I mean, I never did anything wrong. I was too afraid of the consequences. I grew up an Army brat and my dad didn’t put up with any, I mean ANY, bullcrap, so I learned early to tow the line. After my father died, I tested my assertiveness with my mom several times with some not so pleasant outcomes. So, I behaved and missed out on a lot of fun, maybe harrowing times during middle school and high school. Needless to say, writing YA allows me to push the envelope. I can test my wings through my characters. I can go to parties, fall in love, drive a car, take leaps, be dramatic, make mistake and grow up.
Fantasy adds a whole new dimension. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with castles and princesses and knights in shining armor on white horses. However, I never wanted to be rescued by such a knight. I wanted to be the princess warrior fighting by his side slaying evil and standing up for righteousness and honor. Of course I was always beautiful in my tales (which in reality I’m not by Hollywood standards), I was always strong, defiant. My knight was always tall, dark-haired with blue or green eyes. I still fall for the dark, gorgeous brooding type.
So, I decided to write mostly YA fantasy because they speak to my soul the most.
Oh, and did I mention I love dragons?
4) How does your writing process work?
I don’t think I have a process, really. It all starts with an idea or a dream. Most of my storylines come from dreams. A lot of times I wake up at night and have to write the dream down because the themes are too good to pass up. Many of those ‘ideas’ are still sitting in a notebook or on the computer because I haven’t gone forward with them, but others have turned into published short stories, a couple of novels that will NEVER EVER see the light of day if I have anything to say about it, a few novellas and the novels I’m currently working on.
Over all, I’m a pantser. I don’t like outlining anything. I do have an idea of how the story starts, where I want it to go, and how I see it ending, but other than that, it’s a crap shoot. I tend to let my characters lead my way in telling the story they want to tell. That doesn’t mean the story won’t change when I get into edit mode, but the story itself is written.
Someone asked me once if my stories are more character or plot driven. I like to think my stories are both. To me, plot and characters are intertwined. Both feed off the other. Any wrong turn by the character will change the plot. Any stray from the plot will change the character. For me, both have to grow and change. Both have to drive the story forward.
Once I get in the writing groove, I go at it for hours on end, sometimes days with little sleep and food. Five to ten thousand words can fly out of me in a weekend if I’m in the groove. Usually, it takes me about 2 – 3 months to finish a 50 – 80,000 word novel. It’s the editing part that kills me. This process can take a very, very long time because I’m always honing, always fixing. I’m always finding ways to make character weaker or stronger, always looking for better words for the characters to use. I find more lyrical ways to say things. It is not unusual for me to spend a year on edits (in between other writing and every now, participating in this thing called life.) I do, however, work well on deadlines from publishers. I think this is because they have a certain idea in mind and I can follow the written train of thought. Left to my own editing, I never stop because I’m a perfectionist. The writing can always be made better. I have to realize there is no such thing as perfection and let it go, but it’s difficult. I hope I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. Otherwise, I might be screwed. 🙂
On that note, I’m wrapping up my portion of the blog hop but I encourage you to bop over to the other blogs that have participated in this awesome event. Head on over to Elise’s page to start it all off and follow the blogs. Make sure you also check out fellow bloggers that are posting this week as well.