Sunday, April 13, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Clare Davidson, a lovely YA author from the UK, tagged me in the writing process blog hop. Woot!

The internet is such a fun place. I’m always meeting new and amazing people from all over the world. I “met” Clare a little over a year ago, when she invited me to participate in a huge indie blog hop. Clare is really fantastic at bringing writers together and organizing fun and interactive blog tours. I always enjoy being a part of her online events. Her YA novels are pretty amazing too! You can find out more about Clare and her writing process here.

Now for the hop questions…

What am I working on?

I am juggling several projects, which I really don’t recommend. At least, not to the extent I’m doing right now. I’m finishing up edits and rewrites for PSYCHOPOMP, the fourth novel in my Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. series. I am also trying to work on BACKWOODS ARMAGEDDON, a comical hillbilly apocalypse novel I’m coauthoring with my husband. I have several short stories I’m working on for magazines, and I’m polishing some synopses and outlines for two different series that I hope will attract the agent I’m stalking—er, I mean querying.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Lana series, which is my baby, is technically urban fantasy. I love vampires and werewolves, but they’ve been done. A lot. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have anything new to offer in that arena. I still knew I wanted to stick with urban fantasy. It just sets my heart on fire. I really enjoy studying world religions and mythology, so I decided to take my writing in that direction. My series is set in a modern afterlife, where all the faiths are right and all the deities exist… and have to work together. So, while it’s an urban setting, it’s still not quite “of this world”, and I’m playing with less familiar supernatural beings than most urban fantasy readers are used to.

Why do I write what I do?

Aside from my love of urban fantasy, I thought it would be fun to put my mythology and religious research to good use. I’m also a big supporter of religious tolerance, and while the deities in my series don’t always get along, my readers are still learning things about different faiths that they might not have known before. Intolerance is a cousin of ignorance. We fear the things we don’t understand. While my primary goal is entertainment, I still like the notion that I might also be subliminally promoting tolerance and peace.

How does my writing process work?

Not very well. I wish that was a joke.

Ok. Seriously… I have a plot board. I’m a bit OCD and ADD, so I NEED the plot board to stay on track. I have oversized post-its that represent my chapters. The post-its are big enough to hold a 2-3 sentence description of what’s going down in that particular scene. I fill out the big events first and shuffle them around until they make some sort of sense. Then I fill in the chapters where foreshadowing needs to happen, where character bonding and development is crucial, ect. ect. ect. Until I have somewhere between 25 and 35 chapters.

Then the actual writing happens. Once again, ADD, so the plot board comes in handy. I do not write my books in order. I often have the last chapter written before the fourth or fifth. If I don’t feel like a lovey-dovey scene, I skip ahead to a fight scene. If I’m not feeling the dialog in one spot, I play with the scenery or narrative somewhere else. My muse has mood swings, so I just go with it. Eventually, I have a book written. Then I read through it and make sure everything is still in order. I do some shuffling again. I polish up a scene here or there. I rebalance the dialog/narrative ratio where it feels off.

Then I email the draft to an author friend or two, a couple beta readers, my husband. I print it out and deliver it to my former college comp professor who volunteers to edit my novels (this is why he has the honorary title of THE professor—he also teaches Shakespeare, and he introduced me to Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, so I trust his judgment and taste in literature). Then I’m bombarded by a plethora of plot holes, grammatical errors, and general typos… which I face palm my way through as I fix. A final read through and BING! It’s done. Yes, it sounds like an Easy-Bake Oven in my head. This has happened in a matter of three months… or a matter of three years. Once again, I wish that was a joke. I have become more consistent and persistent over the past few years, so I’m hoping that means it’s a skill I’m able to hone… and not just a sadistic muse I’m at the mercy of.

Want to hear how other authors do it? (Cue immature giggles here.) I’m tagging two awesome authors to share their secrets next week. These ladies rock! Check them out.  :  )

Monica La Porta is an Italian who landed in Seattle several years ago. Despite popular feelings about the Northwest weather, she finds the mist and the rain the perfect conditions to write. Being a strong advocate of universal acceptance and against violence in any form and shape, she is also glad to have landed precisely in Washington State. Stop by her blog to read about her miniatures, sculptures, paintings, and her beloved beagle, Nero. Sometimes, she also posts about her writing. http://monicalaporta.com/

Elisa Nuckle is a twenty-something fantasy and science fiction novelist. It's always been her dream to chase ideas down and put them into concrete words. Currently, she's undergoing enlightenment at University of Houston, and plans on getting an English major in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.  http://elisanuckle.com/

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