The wonderful Elizabeth Kaiser of E. Kaiser Writes-a-Blog tagged me with the Writing Process Blog Tour. Thanks Elizabeth!
I’d seen it going around the blogosphere and it looked like fun, so I’m excited to finally get to do it! I can babble about my writing, but say that somebody ASKED me to, and therefore I can annoy everyone in the name of being useful. 😉 Hee. That being said, I hope you’ll find it interesting!
So here we go: a look at my writing.
1. What are you working on?
Oh, lots of things. But I think I’ll go with the recentest thing I’ve actively started working on.
The Secret of Kedran’s Wood is book two in a contemporary fantasy series I’m writing. (It’s theoretically a trilogy at the moment, but I hesitate to call it that, lest out of spite it decides there’s another five books or so…) I may have mentioned it before on the blog, but if so it would have been under the title “Snowfall at Kedran’s Wood”, because I recently changed the title… Just so you know, in case you’re getting confused. 😉
It’s about a group of friends (the “Chess Club” of their little town) and how they’re trying to make sense of various mysteries that seem to tie back to the adventurous happenings in the first book, while the still-mysterious Tare has returned and thinks he’s going mad due to a succession of nightmares. There’s some winter fun as they get ready for Christmas, some suspicious villains who are up to suspicious villainous things, and a surprise or two that nobody expected, which includes something going on in the wood . . .
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
The Owl of Kedran’s Wood and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (books 1 and 2, the latter of which I’m writing) are contemporary fantasy, i.e. they take place in a modern but unspecified American town, and have fantasy elements (in the first, some villainous creatures from another world; in the second… well… stuff. *cough*spoilers*cough*). My answers here mainly apply to the first, but, by extension, to the second as well.
I’ve only come across a tiny handful of contemporary fantasy books that I liked at all, so I think I started writing this series to fill an empty slot in the genre. For some reason, I tend to find modern fantasy books to be “icky”. Well, most modern things I find icky, and when they add fantasy it just seems to make it worse.
I feel like most authors, presented with these ingredients: fantasy, modern small-town, group of friends, female MC, dark mysterious guy, monsters — would construct it roughly as: girl falls in love with dark guy because he’s off-limits, while having problems with her friends, amid ickness at school; monsters are a big part and very creepy, and the fantasy element is blown out of proportion with lots of special effects and probably dark magic.
These stories of mine are about modern teens, but being set during vacations I don’t have to deal with them “at school”, which I think accounts for a large percentage of why I don’t like modern YA books. The friends are actually *gasp* nice people, and get along (for the most part). There also isn’t a large focus on romance, and although there are some “couples” it’s not a big thing and it’s more focused on the group and how they’re friends and what they’re doing together. The main girl isn’t even the “main” character–we’re just in her head the most because she’s the newcomer–and she starts liking the happy-go-lucky guy; while the cool dark guy, who is very much a loner and at first they’re not certain he’s even good, lurks on the fringe and slowly becomes a part of their group, almost. But he’s dark and dangerous at times, and this makes them wary of him (instead of the girls falling head over heels in love with him). The monsters I tried not to make too disturbing or gross, and the fantasy element is only that there are monsters who have arrived from another world, that the main characters need to deal with.
In short, it differs from others in the genre because I write contemporary fantasy that I would actually be willing to read and recommend to others, whereas most books in that genre I wouldn’t.
3. Why do you write what you write?
Well, the reason why I write contemporary fantasy is found above. But it’s not my main/favorite thing to write. And that is fantasy adventure set in other worlds, generally without too many fantastical things, and generally with a medieval-esque feel.
I write medieval fantasy-world adventure because it’s my favorite type of genre and I feel at home with it, both in reading and in writing. Since some of my earliest favorite books I read were medieval-esque fantasy in other worlds, or at least places that feel otherworldly (gadrillions of fairy tales; The Princess and the Goblin; The Gammage Cup; the Prydain Chronicles; Narnia; Middle-earth, etc.), I just naturally fall back on that genre. It is HOME to me. The forests, hills and glens, mountains, moors, castles, swords and bows and arrows and cloaks and horses, knights, princesses, kings and kings-in-exile and just everything! I like the FEEL of it, the refreshing sort of green feel, and the possibility of wonder around every corner.
In my writing, I love the freedom that comes with inventing your own kingdoms/lands and all their intricacies and relations and cultures. Especially if there can be a slight fantastical bent to the things in the story, just to spice it up . . . A clan of talking bears, or enormous bats blacker than the night; a stone that glows with moonlight; invented trees or berries; pirate captains who tame the seas with their singing; a different race of people with special abilities. Or you can go the whole way, and have a fairytale kingdom (especially with a fairytale retelling inside it!) with creatures like unicorns or dragons, selkies, birds who turn into people and back, mind reading abilities, fairies . . . The possibilities are endless! (Basically all of these find their way into one story or another of mine, in case you were wondering.)
Fantasy gives me the freedom to write whatever I want, and I am just so very at home in my medieval fantasy worlds, where I feel myself and my characters can go out into the vast green and leafy forests, wandering amidst the tall mysterious trees, and meet fascinating people, mythical creatures, and wild sweeping adventures of any and every kind imaginable.
4. How does your writing process work?
I keep a journal of all my writing ideas, which is generally where my first ideas go. When I have a particular story idea in mind, I keep making notes on it whenever I have ideas, either in my journal or in a file for it, and just let it simmer on the back burner. When it’s ready, it attacks me and makes me start writing it.
I generally have to have a title and a one-paragraph summary of what it’s about before I can officially start a story. That’s the bare minimum, but I usually prefer to have something of a plot outline. I’m a plotter and feel most comfortable when I at least have a list of the main events. I often cut those up into parts–like acts, if you will–and it depends on the story whether I have just a list of events or a full-out outline that’s like a long summary.
When I actually get to writing the story, I often plot each scene before I write, including a rough idea of some of the dialog. It depends on the story whether I feel most comfortable mapping it out so minutely, or whether I let it come as I write. And invariably, there’s always new things that pop up when I’m writing that I hadn’t plotted. That’s one of the best feelings. I also sometimes act out scenes to myself, which can help.
Then I write. Usually in my room with music on. For the most part I write in order, but occasionally a scene from later demands to be written, and I often comply. And I write some more. And make a cover for fun, and make lists of characters, and find songs to play in playlists, and procrastinate, and get stuck. And get distracted into working on something else for awhile. Then I get stuck on that one and go back to the original (or a third). Unless it’s really flowing, in which case I just type madly away and suddenly it’s finished and I don’t know what to do with myself because I’ve been living in it…
And after I finish… I let it sit. And then I edit it. And then I let people read it. And then I edit it again. And that’s… currently as far as I’ve ever gotten with a story. Don’t ask about what comes next–the dreaded Publishing with a capital P–because I’m not sure about that yet. Shhh…
And there you have some of my writing process and thoughts on writerly things! If you actually read it, in which case you deserve a cookie for your patience!
I think I’m supposed to tag people now but most people seem to have done the tag already… But I tag Lauriloth and Ashlee Willis because they’re both awesome people who I would like to hear talk about how they write!