The lovely Margo Kelly invited me to join in the "My Writing Process Blog Tour," so today, you guys get an inside peek at what I'm working on and how I develop my stories.
Be sure to stop by Margo's blog and thank her!
1) What am I working on?
The sequel to my space opera, Rain Reader. I'm so excited about how it's coming together and hope to have the draft done by summer! Next up will be the YA steampunk that's been rolling around in my brain these last few months and an MG portal story with a twist.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm a character writer. My characters are the first aspects of a new story that come to me, and they're what drive my books and win the hearts of readers. Yes, the plots are twisty too, but it's the characters that keep it interesting--what they value, what they choose, what they're willing to fight for or give up when faced with dire odds. I want to create characters that stay with people long after they've read the last page.
I also love the idea of making fantasy more accessible. It's my favorite genre, and I always want to draw in new readers. There's so much great happening in YA right now, but I'd love to write a bridge that pulls some of those folks into adult fantasy as well!
3) Why do I write what I do?
Haha, well I sort of started my answer to this one already. For me, spec-fic takes the best elements of other genres—romance, history, suspense—and adds a touch of wonder and magic! It has adventure, love, big glorious good-vs-evil showdowns, and characters that make us feel like we’ve known them all our lives. Writing it is a pure joy!
4) How does my writing process work?
It usually starts with a character who's suddenly THERE! The character's name and backstory typically come to me in that first bolt of inspiration, and then I spend a few weeks playing with scenarios and plot lines and letting it swirl in my imagination while I write whatever I'm currently working on.
I'm not an outliner, but I do let stories develop pretty thoroughly in my head before I begin writing them. Sometimes, I'll also do a few character sketches, jot down the plot highlights and firm up any worldbuilding details. Then I jump into the first draft and go! My goal at this point is to get the story out. I don't necessarily write in order. If a scene is screaming at me, I'll go with my gut and write it in the moment, then come back to fill in around it later. On the first draft, I also allow myself freedom to leave some parts in brackets, describing what I want the scene to do, but not necessarily worrying about the exact language and pacing yet. I do a little bit of editing along the way, and I have the advantage of an every-other-week crit group which gives me a nice recurring deadline to make sure I refine things enough for beta feedback.
After the first draft is done, I edit out all the rough edges, finalize the scenes I left loose, and delete anything unneeded. This is when the story really tightens and begins to pop. I LOVE editing!! No, seriously, I do! If I'm loving the story at this point, I know I'm getting really close.
I usually do a couple rounds before setting the latest draft aside for a few months to begin something else. During that time, I'll also start working on the query and any other pitch materials. Then, I come back for another round of edits - I like to print it at this stage. After that, it's final rounds with beta readers and prepping for the query stage!
I'm passing the tour baton on to my writing buddy, Kristen. She's writing an awesome historical fiction on Judy Garland, so tune in to her blog next week and check out her writing process!
What I've Been Reading!Here's the stack I've tackled in the first three months of 2014. Lots of great reads in there! I knew I would love A Memory of Light, and it delivered in a big way. Lady Thief was amazing--seriously, you guys, I cannot sing this book's praises enough--and These Broken Stars shocked me with how much I liked it!
What have you been reading lately?
It's almost heeeere! My theme this year is Story Songs, so stop by and enjoy the alphabetical awesomeness.