So this blog hop has some reach! I was tagged by (the awesome!) Julia Kelly in her post Monday, and in the brief span of time between being tagged by her and writing this post, it seems like everywhere I turn someone else is participating. Which, just to be clear, is amazing, because who doesn’t want to spend a few minutes inside the heads of other writers. When I was just beginning my writing journey I drank in information on other authors’ processes trying to establish my own. Now hearing about how others work just helps me know I’m not alone in the crazy. So here goes . . .
What am I working on right now?
I just finished up the first draft of my second novel. I’ve done the first read-through and am now in full-on edit mode (more about this in the question about process below). I’ve also got a flash fiction piece brewing for an upcoming blog hop (and am admittedly equal parts excited and terrified at the thought of telling a story in 1500 words or less). I’m doing some prep work for an article that will appear in The Write Life magazine this summer and of course, there are my regular weekly blogs.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write women’s fiction, which is all about personal journeys. While my works are fiction, it is certainly impossible to entirely divorce the journey of my characters from my own. Therefore, I feel like every author in my genre tells women’s stories filtered through their own unique lens.
But to avoid totally copping out on this question (*smile*), when I first began writing, I felt like I had read a number of books featuring main characters who were very centered on securing romantic relationships. I wanted to write a story about a woman who felt a little less excited about the idea of committment. These stories, of course, existed well before mine, but at the time I saw it as a void I wanted to fill. I also started writing at the height of Sex and the City’s popularity and as a craft beer aficionado, wanted to have female characters who ordered beer with the same aplomb that Carrie and her friends ordered cocktails.
I also probably have a lock-down on writing about lasagna and for naming characters after the titles of Ben Folds’ songs. (Kate in Neverending Beginnings and Zach & Sarah in my current work in progress – and yes, I know he spells it Zac & Sara.)
Why do I write what I do?
I spent years searching for my creative outlet. I took a lot of art classes in college. I was a theatre major for a semester. I wrote some really dramatic poetry in high school, but who didn’t? (Don’t answer that, I really like to believe that everyone did). Then my husband and I spent several months staying with friends while we were finishing construction on our condo. One of the ladies we were staying with was an avid reader in my genre, and I found myself falling in love with the books I would borrow off her shelves. Around the same time, I took a writing class at a local arts center, decided to try a first person female narrator and haven’t looked back since.
How does my writing process work?
Process? What process? I’m supposed to have a process?
Just kidding (sort of). I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants. I start out with an idea for the main characters and a vague feeling about where I would like things to end. Then I sit down and write.
I attended a presentation by Jessica Brody at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference last summer where she presented how she uses Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat outlining process to structure her novels. I used this method on my novella, Delayed and my current work in progress and I am totally sold on it. But wait you say, how does a pants-er use an outlining system? I know, it sounds strange, right? I use each part of the outline (or beat sheet, as it were) like a writing prompt to move my characters through the story, but I don’t plan ahead.
Which brings me to the editing. I would love to write beautiful first drafts, but I don’t. They’re messy and because I know my characters better at the end than the beginning, I often have pretty large chunks to go back and add in (or subtract out). I’ve stopped fighting this. Once the first draft is done, the real work begins.
That’s it for me! This blog is hopping its way over to the lovely Lashell Collins next, which is sort of perfect, because I happen to know that her process is pretty different from mine, which really illustrates that there is no one right way. It’s all about sitting yourself down and writing those words. All. Those. Words.
And be sure to check out some of these other fabulous stops on the tour: