Good morning! I was tagged by the brilliant Elizabeth Holloway (check out her site and her blog) in the “my writing process” blog tour. The blog tour works like this: I have four questions I have to answer about my writing process, then I nominate other writers to join the tour. They will answer the same four questions one to two weeks later. So here we go
1) What am I working on?
I’m drafting a companion novel to HOW WE FALL, about a high school dropout and an older college girl. Will’s mother disappeared after his parents’ divorce when he was eight, and he hasn’t heard from her since.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I suppose you could call it new adult, since the characters are that age range. It’s not a college book, though– it’s very much a mother-son story. Also, it’s not a story about Will and Claire getting together; they start out pretty much together and the story follows the trajectory of their relationship, which is not a smooth one.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I like complicated relationships, I guess. Really complex situations with a lot of built-in conflict where no one is entirely right and no one is clearly in the wrong. It feels more true to real life to me, and when conflict and resolution happens, I can make it more genuine. I write YA (and NA) of course, but adults and children feature heavily in all my stories so far, probably because it makes things messier to be dealing with a true-to-life set of age groups. I love having teens as main characters, though, because it’s such a volatile stage in life, and when people with few resources who are just starting to deal with their major firsts are pushed into high stakes situations, it’s fascinating to see what they’re capable of doing.
4) How does my writing process work?
It depends on the book how much I outline, but I always make myself live in the story first. I get out my markers and write a giant web of nonsense on my markerboard wall. I add possible conflicts and organic problems and conflicts for secondary characters, and all kinds of ideas for the main characters. I mull it over, erase and replace half of it. I fill out the (incredible, insightful, you must use them) worksheets in Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. I erase and replace the whole mess on my markerboard with something that looks a little bit more like lists and a plot arc. Then I figure out which scenes happen in what order for the first third, and start writing. I like to fast-draft and save revisions for after I’m done drafting, but if the beginning feels weak or thin to me, I usually take the time to revise those first few chapters over and over until I get grounded in how the characters express themselves and what their goals are. Once I have a few solid opening chapters, I pick up speed and try to write every day or at least every other day. Before writing new material, I read what I wrote the day before and layer it a little more– boost the tension, cut lines, add in reactions and physical cues. Once I’m doing drafting, I send it off to critique partners and then ignore it while they have it. Then I compile notes once I’ve heard back from them, ask questions, cry/mope/run around excitedly while figuring out how to solve the issues, and then dig into revisions. A few rounds of this and maybe a few beta readers, and I send it off to my agent! At which point, the revision process repeats.That’s pretty much how I work!
And now to tag some other great writers–
Alex is a graduate student and a writer. She does math during the day and writes at night. She pretty much likes anything you can put on paper, whether it’s letters, numbers, drawings, music, weird scribbly things and/or souls. Right now her writing interests run the gamut in YA fiction: she’s always been a fantasy and magical realism girl, though recently she’s gotten into contemporary. You can find her on Twitter or on her website.
Kelly graduated from the University of New Mexico cum laude with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Religious Studies. She has worked in the restaurant industry, as a legal assistant for a civil rights lawyer, in churches as a young adult coordinator and as a church secretary, as an operations coordinator for a non-profit volunteer organization, and most recently in campus ministry. She is now a stay-at-home mom who is in the process of discovering the next call of God upon her life. You can find her on Twitter or on her website.
What’s your writing process? Is it anything like mine?