The Writing Process Blog Tour
Author Kimberly Pauley tagged me in this blog tour about the Writing Process. She’s the author of the Sucks to Be Me teen vampire series (Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me…Even in Paris) and two other YA novels, Cat Girl’s Day Off and Ask Me which goes on sale April 8, 2014. She is an amazing writer and you should all head over to her blog when you’re done here and check out her ‘writing process’ post from last week. She’s also the person who helped me create the book covers for my three books.
And just so you all know up front, I’m breaking one of the rules for this blog tour (shame on me!). Many of my other writer friends were busy working on projects right now, so rather than tagging two other authors and having them write a specific post about their writing processes at the end, I’ll just link you to some of my writer friends and you can check out their wonderful blogs at your leisure. (Edit: One of these authors might just surprise you next week…)
So now, as they say, let’s get on with the show.
What am I currently working on?
Two different projects…kinda.
Back in 2008, I took a short break from editing my epic fantasy novels and wrote a 60k word sci-fi, fantasy, action, adventure, buddy-‘cop’-like mash-up that was set in a wanna-be utopian future earth where magic had usurped technology for almost everyone, except the main character. It was a bizarre creation with oddball characters and snappy dialogue and it was something I knew eventually I’d want to work on again. But then I misplaced it. Recently, I found it again while going through some old computer files and while it needs a lot of work, eventually, with enough editing, tweaking, and polish, I’ll publish it (and perhaps it will be the start of another series for me).
The book I’m primarily working on though is a sequel of sorts to both The Penitent Assassin and The Rush of Betrayal books, Deception and Absolution. My goal is to write it in such a way that it could also be a stand-alone novel. I suppose David Gemmell’s Drenai book series is a model of sorts for the type of series I’d like to write. Characters from different parts of the same world with their own individual stories, sometimes interconnecting, and all creating a complete and full world, and yet, you can read just one and have a satisfying experience.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write epic fantasy with some grit and darkness, but also with a twisted sense of humor. I’m probably a little heavier on dialogue than some and I love to maintain a high level of action in the story. As I’ve told some people, the books are epic fantasies with the pacing of the “24” TV series. I don’t spend a lot of time describing each individual blade of grass, if you know what I mean. My books also seem to have a lot of villainous characters in them but I write them as if they’re the heroes of their own stories. If you hate to love them, or love to hate them then I feel like I’ve done my job.
Why do I write what I write?
This is asked as if I have a choice! LOL. I write what I write because the characters in my head won’t be ignored. They won’t let me not tell their stories. I have people come up to me and say, ‘you’re such a nice guy, how could you possibly write some of these characters?!’ It’s amazing how well I have some people fooled!
I should probably add a “LOL” after that, right? Or maybe a :)?
I think even the nicest people in the world have a ‘darker’ side; I just tend to tap into mine when I write certain parts of my books.
How does my individual writing process work?
You’re too kind to assume that it does. Oh, you mean, how do I do what I do? Magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming. Being very quiet and listening to the characters in my head. Mostly the last one. In the past, whenever I’ve gotten stuck while writing, it is usually because I’m trying to write something that wouldn’t be true for a certain character.
It makes outlining a little difficult, but I do attempt to keep track of the novel’s general direction. But Shawn, I can almost hear some of you say, your novels are constructed like little puzzles, how could you not plot out all those little details? Well…some of it I do, and thankfully, most of the time the characters are willing to follow my lead, but occasionally, the book will take an unexpected turn and I have to go back and tweak the rest of the novel just to make sure it all matches up. That’s where the daydreaming comes in handy. When I have to make changes to the novel, I usually run the new scenes in my head like a movie over and over, tweaking this, changing that, until I’m ready to write again.
So wait, you might be saying, how do you actually get the novel finished if you’re constantly going back and making changes? Well, that’s the part I’m attempting to stream-line even now. My writing process is continuing to evolve even now. Like editing a book, I keep in the parts that work really well, and delete the parts that don’t.
Speaking of editing, I think it’s one of my favorite parts about writing. Yes, I love the initial discovery of the new story, but it’s in the editing where the real magic happens. That’s where the crappy first draft becomes the slightly less crappy second draft followed by the ‘hey, this isn’t so crappy’ third draft which leads to the ‘okay, I won’t be embarrassed if anyone reads this’ fourth draft and then I add the final polish and the ‘It’s alive!’ final draft is done.
But, you might be saying, what’s the secret to your writing process? How do you do what you do? It can’t just be ‘magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming and being very quiet and listening to the characters in your head’. There must be something more.
Perhaps there is, but I think for each writer you just gotta do whatever works best for you and the only way you’ll discover what that is, is to write. Write. Write.
And then write some more.
Other writers you might want to check out.
Lorijo Metz (YA sci-fi author)
Walter Shuler (adult fantasy author)
Ciara Ballintyne (adult epic fantasy author)
Have a great day!
The Penitent Assassin
In addition to being the author of the fantasy ebooks, The Penitent Assassin, The Rush of Betrayal: Deception (Book One) and The Rush of Betrayal: Absolution (Book Two), I’m a husband, a father to two active kids (one is a teen now), a part time bookseller and an avid reader. On the rare occasion I have free time, I like to bike, read, play video games, and watch movies. Being an author has been a lifelong dream, and currently I’m hard at work writing/editing my next fantasy novel.
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