Friday, September 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Many years ago, I crossed paths with fellow blogger Kimberly Vanderhorst, who turned out to be a fellow writer outside her awesome blog, and who has since become a dear friend. She's one of those rare people who cheers and celebrates for friends' achievements because she's genuinely thrilled on your behalf, and she's willing to help you out any way she can.

Kim tagged me on a fun and different blog hop that's going around. I'm egregiously late on following through, but better late than never!

Before I get to the meat of the post, be sure to check out her writing blog HERE.

Here's the gist of the hop: 

"We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hash tag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s play list grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…"

Below are my answers to the same questions other writers who are participating get to answer. I'm excited to see theirs; every person and writers is different, and we can all learn from each other!

What am I currently working on? 
As always, I have a gazillion pots in the fire, but the biggest thing going on right now is continued revisions on Winter's Crucible, my Winter War novel, which is historical women's fiction about a little-known part of World War II. It's also part that factors heavily into my ancestry, so I'm passionate about it. See THIS POST for more about one of the main characters.

The book is fully drafted and pretty shiny, especially certain parts, but a few chapters are sort of yelling at me to come back and fix them again. Every scene deserves to be as shiny as I can get it. I hope to have it all polished very, very soon.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Interesting question in light of the fact that over the years, I've genre hopped to some extent. Not entirely, though; even my romance novels have a solid women's fiction component to them.

At this point, my women's fiction typically has no romantic thread, which seems to not be the norm in the genre. Winter's Crucible breaks that mold a bit, but even it is heavy on the WF and very light on the romantic element. And romance readers can't expect a typical romance arc in it, either.

My women's fiction is definitely driven by flawed characters put into hard circumstances. Sometimes that means external events (like the Winter War), and other times it means looking at hard issues (relationships, addiction, mental disorders, and so on).

Why do I write what I do?
Long-time readers will remember that I went through not all that long ago before finally feeling at home in women's fiction. And that's really the best answer I can give: this is where my heart is. The books that have had the greatest impact on me as a person and as a writer have all been women's fiction. And as much as I enjoy reading other genres, the fact that those books aren't the ones that stay with me, that they aren't the ones inspiring me to write my own stories, is telling.

The vast majority of my colleagues, especially in the very rich Utah writing community, write for Young Adult or Middle Grade audiences, or they write fun, lighthearted romance. I love reading all of that, but somehow, I write darker stuff. And a result, I feel a bit like an oddball at times.

They get to share agents and editors and publishers, and I'm out in the wings doing something totally different. But emotionally intense women's fiction is where my heart is.

How does my writing process work?
It's hard to describe, especially as it's evolved a lot over the years. (That's what happens when you're a mom; you adapt to your kids' ever-changing ages and schedules!)

I do a lot of brainstorming while doing brainless tasks like sorting laundry and putting myself together in the morning. I'll often jot down plot and character ideas in a notebook to refer to later so I won't forget them (or I will forget them; I've learned that the hard way). Often before a writing session, I'll jot down a few bullet points listing the gist of what I want to happen in the scene I'm about to write.

When I'm working on historical fiction, I have to do plenty of research before writing a word, because the plot and characters come from learning about the era, the events, etc. If I ever feel stuck, reading up on research will often slip me right back into the story world.

I often reread what I last wrote, revising and tweaking along the way, to get myself back into the world. I used to be able to write faster than I do now. Today, if I can eke out 1,000-2,000 words in a day, I consider it a success.

That doesn't happen every day, though; I have a ton of hats to wear besides "drafter." Revision takes a lot longer, and I often have to stop working on a project in favor of another one, as deadlines overlap and interrupt. And then I still do a little bit of freelance editing on the side.

(Don't ask to hire me, though; the answer will almost certainly be no. I've backed off a ton because my own work wasn't getting written.)

Now for my tags!

Luisa Perkins is my well-known accountability partner. We first connected online (as I did with Kim), and have since become close friends both in person and long distance. She's a fantastic writer, an excellent editor and critique partner, and one of the best friends a girl could hope for. Find her blog HERE. She's published several books, but my personal favorite (not counting her WIPs) is Dispirited. (Okay, truthfully, I also rely on several recipes from her cookbook.)

Krista Jensen is a pure delight. She began her publishing career with the same regional publisher I did, and she's become not only a good friend but a critique partner as well. She's published several fun contemporary romances, including Of Grace and Chocolate, which I loved because: chocolate and romance. Find her blog HERE.

Jordan McCollum and I first connected when she came to one of my book signings, and we ended up chatting about all kinds of things that would appear random to other people but are near and dear to my heart (like linguistics and the Kalevala. I mean seriously, how awesome?!). She's since published several books, including her Spy Another Day series.

1 comment:

Luisa Perkins said...

Awesome post! I need to get on this!


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