Author Blog Hop: My Writing Process

So…I’m a bit behind on the bandwagon here. Some of my fellow author/writer friends have been doing a blog hop and I’ve been tagged by Kathleen Allen.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I’m always working on a bazillion things at once. I’ve been editing my  YA light sci fi The Cured with Katelyn Stark of Stark Contrast Editing for the past couple of months, but took a break as I’ve been traveling a lot recently. In it’s place, I’ve found myself completely immersed in my new manuscript, a YA contemporary titled The Truth About Two Shoes, which I’ve been pretty hush hush about. It’s a Freaks and Geeks meets SAVED! type story that follows a pregnant 16-year-old pastor’s daughter who has been ostracized by  her once-perfect Christian friends. The title comes from the nickname her new slacker friends gave her. They call her “Two Shoes” because she was once a good-two-shoes, and now the “goodie” is gone. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve felt like my characters have really come alive in this way before, and so far, the people who have read it (including my high school English teacher brother who is hard impossible to impress) have LOVED it. I’m working hard to polish it up in time for Pitch Wars in August!

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN ITS GENRE?

My sci fi works tend to be different in that they aren’t as fantastical/otherworldly as others in that genre. I usually take sci fi-esque elements and put them in a normal or survivalist/primitive-type world or even in a more contemporary/modern-world setting (hence, why I call it ‘light sci fi’). My contemporary is unique in that I like to deal with issues but layer them with humor and suspense. I don’t like using buzz/trigger/hot button words to evoke emotions, but rather want the storyline and the characters to stir up the emotion in a deeper way that connects with the heart. Shock value for shock value’s sake isn’t really my thing and something I don’t appreciate as a reader. True shock and awe should come from a place of personal and emotional investment that is earned instead of forced.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I focus on YA/MG because I’m a big kid at a heart. I also feel like since I was pretty sheltered as a teen, my self-discovery phase was extended into early adulthood because it still took awhile for me to figure some things out. But I love the adventurous, hopeful, and insightful aspect of being a teen, and I want to convey that in my characters to entertain and inspire young people at the same time. I guess that being an over optimist, as my friends and coworkers often call me, makes me just as hopeful as some teens can be, and this is how I channel that part of myself.

 

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Sometimes I’ll get an idea and just stew on it. I actually have an ongoing list I add ideas to until I have time or have thought long enough about how to develop them properly (It took me more than two years before I started The Cured after writing down the initial idea. Even The Truth About Two Shoes had been conceived (only somewhat pun intended) maybe three years ago with a different working title until one day the story completely clicked for me).

Then, I just write. I like to sit down and just hammer it out as far as I can go. Due to my background as a journalist on deadline and an IB student who was forced to handwrite 15-pages back and front in two hours for exams,  However, I never let it be forced. The second a story feels forced, I put it down and step away for a week or so and work on something else. But I love seeing where stories go and letting my characters telling me what they want to be or do. I also love working with fellow writers and readers, bouncing off ideas and gauging how they feel about certain things.

As for being a plotter vs. a pantser, I always thought myself as a pantser, but now I see the merit in having both aspects married into my writing process. On one hand, I do want my story to be fluid, organic, and allow my characters to take me wherever they want to go. On the other hand, my writing needs to be concise and meaningful. Right now, my process starts out more on the pantser side but then after getting probably to the 20,000 word mark, I’ll stop and re-evaluate where my story is going. Then, I’ll make a list of things that NEED to happen to reach the end. This list is vague so it’s only minor plotting with room for change and surprises. I also like to create charts for my characters that outline their individual strengths, flaws, loves, hates, and fears. This is something I’ve only recently adopted, but it really has added new depth to my characters and has helped me pinpoint what each character would do in certain situations rather than making them bend to my will for plot’s sake.

But in general, I just write when I can– during breaks, at lunch, during my free time at night– and unfortunately, I probably eat too much chocolate in the process.

And that’s me! Now I’m tagging the lovely and amazingly talented Emily Herring Dunn over at Newfangled Housewife who has two books up her sleeve that are just amazing!

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