My Writing Process

~BLOG TOUR~

WORD OF THE WEEK—Preconception:  pre·con·cep·tion (noun) \-kən-ˈsep-shən\: an idea or opinion that someone has before learning about or experiencing something directly (synonym = assumption). 

ANOTHER BLEARY MONDAY! At least, for me. As you read this, I may already be busily rushing through my day. But one thing is certain: I will, at some point, be writing.

Why, you ask?

Because it’s on my freaking Google calendar, that’s why. Google is the ultimate warden.

I put today on the calendar many weeks ago as the day that I would officially put hand to keyboard and begin my next project. I’ve been scribbling notes in my journal, but today is the day I actually start typing … you know … sentences.

So, it is with great pleasure that I announce this week’s blog post … My Writing Process. I received the invitation to participate in this blog tour by E. B. Purtill, author of The Lamb, a debut novel scheduled for release in March. You can visit her website at www.ebpurtill.com. I appreciate the invite and the opportunity to speak with a possibly wider audience about my work.

This blog tour is a way for writers to extend themselves out to the far reaches of the world and tell the story of their own personal passages through the realm of authorship: the ups, the downs, the laughter and the tears.

It just so happens to be my assigned day in the blog tour to discuss my writing process, and here I am about to embark on the next stage of my journey. Won’t you join me?

{extends hand} Do you trust me?

Now then. Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

What am I working on?

Right this second? I’m getting my notes in order to begin writing my new novel. It will be an interesting experience to get back to the writing portion of this author business. My mind is awhirl with fresh ideas and the inspired connections between them. Up until now, I’ve been promoting my newly released novel, The First, which launched on February 25. Every single piece of me has been devoted to that project for eight months straight. Now it’s time to pull a tiny part of myself back and push on to new horizons.

The new novel is actually going to be a series. How do I know this? I just do. Much as I knew that The First would not. I knew where I was going with that story, and I knew that I would be finished within one novel. This one is different. It has more of an epic feel to it, with lots of exciting fantasy-laden material to come. I have a lot of the story in my head, but there are many details yet to be explored in depth. Those will probably come as I begin to actually write. I can tell you it will be within the fantasy genre with the possibility of some steampunk elements, though I don’t want to make any promises at this point. Magic and other fantasy staples are a given, but don’t think that this one will be any less of an expected thrill-ride than The First. I do so love a good twist. The narrator will once again be female, though I feel like the point-of-view will be third-person this time. Just to keep you on your toes.

“Sometimes a story catches your imagination so much it has to be told. That is what I love about writing. It lets the images in your mind burst forth into words drawing a vivid picture that takes you away on a journey that would otherwise be impossible.”

― S.E. Smith

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, The First is like nothing I’ve ever personally read. Of course, I am biased, but readers are saying much the same. They are having difficulty pinpointing exactly where the novel belongs and are finding themselves loving it for reasons they sometimes can’t even explain. The best comparison I can make in terms of genre are the works of C.S. Lewis, whether it be Narnia or The Space Trilogy. However, I don’t want people to feel as if I am putting myself on his level. But he was one of my favorite authors growing up and beyond, so his influence over me is undeniable. My novel is listed as both mythic fantasy and paranormal fantasy, but it also contains elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, and a few others. There is no escaping the fact that this is a true cross-genre novel that transcends people’s preconceptions.

 “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”

 ― Lloyd Alexander 

Why do I write what I do?

Because I can 😛  No, seriously.

The truth is that I write what I write because it’s what I love. I couldn’t function as a writer in a genre that I didn’t enjoy as a reader. We all have our personal preferences, so I think that’s okay. As long as we read what we love, and write what we love, there will also be readers and writers for every genre.

The stories that sneak into my waking dreams are usually sudden in a lighting-just-strike-through-into-my-brain kind of way. They grab me by the hair and shake me around a little bit. Sometimes an idea might smack me across the face to get my attention if I’m distracted or half-asleep. It’s a love-hate relationship.

“I write because I must. It’s not a choice or a pastime, it’s an unyielding calling and my passion.”

— Elizabeth Reyes

 How does my writing process work?

“You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until a drop of blood forms on your forehead.”

― Gene Fowler 

There are days where writing a sentence becomes an exercise in futility. But I never begin a story without a visit from the muse. At some random moment, a story will come to me. That’s just how my mind works. Sudden instantaneous ideas rush forth, but not all the details. Not yet.

Usually, I’ll spend several days or weeks jotting down any thoughts that come to me. I prefer having an idea of what the title and cover may look like, though at this stage it’s likely to change drastically. But that’s okay as long as I have an image in my mind. I need to have the basics set up: major characters, setting, and some plot. I need to know where I’m going, though I don’t always know the details or how exactly to get there.

When I begin my first draft, I have a beginning in mind, as well as some middle scenes and a skeleton map to the ending. This may change. Again, that’s quite all right, but I need some sense of destination. Without an outline of sorts, plot holes are almost certain to form. They are pesky, persistent, and extremely difficult to sort out sometimes. I prefer to avoid them whenever possible. No story is perfect, but glaring plot holes are a thorn in my side as a reader. As a writer, I try my best not to disappoint my own readers with carelessness. Attention to detail is key. Developmental editing helps at this stage, whether it’s a friend, a beta reader, or a professional editor.

I’m a perfectionist; therefore, I tend to self-correct far too much as I’m typing a first draft. This may avoid more editing later on, but it can slow or impede the muse that is guiding the current thought. My process isn’t ideal for creativity, but it’s a habit I’ve developed over the years that I find difficult to ignore. There was one scene in The First where I allowed myself to flow with a stream-of-consciousness style without correcting as I typed. The difference was that I wanted that one scene to flow that way, so I was able to let go of my perfectionism for a time.

Editing is tedious, and I hate editing my own work. Others were helping in the process, but I personally went back over the entire draft multiple times to ensure that my wording was as genuine and clear as possible. The time spent on this step was incredibly invaluable in the end. I cannot stress enough how important it is to edit your work. Then edit it again. And again. Then have others, hopefully professionals or at least someone with editing experience, look it over carefully many times. Then edit it again. Then maybe put it away for a little while to return with fresh eyes. Then … well, you get the point. Editing can be tiresome (and make you long for a sharp object with which to stab out your eyes in true Oedipal fashion), but it will be your best friend in the writing world.

Next week in the My Writing Process Blog Tour . . .

Kimberly  Grenfell (a.k.a. Devon Winterson), wife of one, mother of two, author of The Perfect Player and other dark fantasy.

M.J. Moores, English teacher turned author, editor, and freelance writer, enjoys connecting and working with authors around the globe.

Court Ellyn, a fantasy writer and the administrator of the LegendFire Creative Writing Community.

The links to their blog posts will be live on Monday, March 17.

Once again, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this. As it was my first blog tour, I wasn’t sure how everything would turn out, but I enjoyed it and hope to hear from you soon! Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for news and updates, including upcoming events.

See you next week, and happy reading!


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