Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Writer's Process Blog Hop

Hey all!

Today, I’m excited to be participating in a writer’s blog-hop about the writing process. As you may have noticed, I don’t do too much blogging and sharing (read: I’m shy!). But when my dear friend and CP, the fabulous Ami Allen-Vath, invited me to take place by tagging me in her post, I couldn’t resist. Check out Ami’s answers about her writing process here! And read my answers below:

1. What are you working on?

I’ve been revising a YA high fantasy novel for the past several months. During that time, I’ve also had to revise another book twice, and it was harder than expected to switch back and forth between the two! That said, I’m closing in on the last chapter and am quite proud of the result. It’s a fantasy adventure story about a friendship between two girls, super-creepy goblins, and of course, true love. There’s also a dash of humor. I hope to be able to share it with everyone someday!

I’ve been developing ideas for my next project as well. I don’t want to share too much yet, until it’s a little further along, but it will be an eerie YA historical fantasy that takes place in France during WWI. There might be witches and other creepy things. I’m especially excited about the setting, as I was lucky enough to visit France a few years ago and loved it.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

I write in a few different genres, so I’ll start with my high fantasy novel I’ve been revising. It’s actually more of a ‘low’ fantasy—there’s no complex magic system, no large number of different creatures to keep track of. I think it does a good job of easing the reader into the fantasy aspect (fruit that turns people into vicious goblins) by taking place in a world where most of the rules are the same as our own. There’s also a new take on goblins and how they came to be in this story, inspired by Christina Rosetti’s poem The Goblin Market. The idea for the book first surfaced when I was talking to my husband about The Lord of the Rings. I love those books, but I always struggle to picture myself on Frodo’s adventure because almost every prominent character in Tolkien’s works is male. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but when I decided to write a fantasy story, I made sure that the adventure focused on female characters surviving hardships in the wild and kicking butt!

My historical fantasy novel differs from others in the genre with its setting and mythology. Also, while it has a strong romantic story line, it also focuses on the relationship between a teen girl and an elderly woman. My grandparents are my favorite people in the world, and I haven’t seen a lot of grandparent figures in YA (that said, if you know a great YA about grandparents, comment and let me know!). The book also pulls in mystery and thriller elements along with the fantasy for what I hope is an intriguing story!

3. Why do you write what you write?

I write because I love looking for magic in the everyday, and if I can make someone else see the beauty around us with my words, then I feel I’m doing something positive with my time! I also write to escape, to travel places I would otherwise never get to see, and to go on the wildest adventures.

4. How does your writing process work?

First, I’ll get a new idea and scramble to write it down. I tend to get my best ideas either in the middle of the night or while in the shower (go figure!) so they usually end up scribbled onto a post-it note or the notepad on my iPhone before they make it to a shiny new Word document on my laptop.

Then I start to develop the project by choosing a name for my main character (something I can’t proceed without!). I’m a plotter, and my favorite way to do this is actually in Excel, where I can see a detailed map of the story scene by scene. This really helps later on, when I’m editing, because it’s easy to see where things can be cut when it’s laid out in a spreadsheet. See my post on revising for more on this!

Once I’ve got my first few chapters outlined and a query written (I still write them even though I have an agent, because I believe it’s the best way to understand the big picture of your story!), I’ll sit down to write on my couch in my sunny living room. My four rescue dogs provide a great distract—er, I mean, great company—while I’m drafting and editing! I work pretty much whenever the mood strikes, but I do think it’s very important to make time for family (read: playing Diablo III with my husband!).

When it comes time to share my work, I have six awesome CPs and betas who read and edit for me! They all have different strengths, so I can feel confident that my story is strong from many angles after they’ve been through it. My books wouldn’t be the same without them!

Well, there’s a little bit about me and my work. If you have questions I didn’t answer above, don’t hesitate to ask. And if you’re interested in reading about other writer’s processes, check out some of my favorites:

Teresa Yea: She’s one of my fierce CPs, one of my agency sisters, and best of all, a great friend! Her work is dark and lovely, and the pacing will have you finishing the book in one sitting. Find her on Twitter @litconnection.

Hilary Harwell: One of my agency sisters and a terrific beta reader. Her MG stories have a fresh, authentic voice and they’re deliciously creepy. Not to mention super fun and memorable! Follow her on Twitter @AnInspiredMind.

Rachel Pudelek: Another agency sister of mine who writes a variety of awesome things, from YA horror with strong female protagonists to Egyptian-based MG fantasy. She can be Twitter-stalked @Rachelpud

Thanks for reading!