This post is entirely KT’s fault. She tagged me in this writing process meme that’s floating around.
What am I working on?
Several things, all still codenamed. TopHat is somewhat stymied, I reached the point where things need to start collapsing in, and realized I had no idea how to put it together. Meanwhile, I was distracted by another plot bunny, Starboard, which is a Thai/Japanese inspired YA fantasy, though I may end up making it MG instead. They’re very different cultures, and I want to do them right, even though it’s more inspiration than direct derivation. Thinking something like City of Dolls meets a grand epic. We’ll see, I’m only a chapter into it so far. I also have a side, experimental project I’m working on bouncing around, we’ll see if anything comes of that.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I like to think my interning gives me a bit of expanded perspective on the stories I want to tell. It’s not enough to just have this, that, or the other hot element, all the elements have to work together with tight pacing and fleshed out characters. It’s a LOT to balance, but I think it’s really helping me get a grasp of it. I see what doesn’t work on other projects, and I can (hopefully) apply those lessons to my own writing.
Why do I write what I write?
Simple. There are books I want to read that aren’t out there yet. I try to write things that, if I saw them in a submission queue, I’d want to request, because they’re complex and developed. The worst things are stories where the concept promises something the story can’t deliver.
How does my writing process work?
I don’t have a set process. Generally, my writing is fit in between all the other things in my life. Most of the time, I get an idea and maybe a glimpse of the first scene, or of a pivotal scene. Initially, I often don’t know where it falls. For example, on Top Hat, I was washing dishes when I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. That led me to the first scene, where the MC chases a demon who had been enslaved as a garbage disposal in her trailer. For Starboard, I was reading some Japanese mythology, and one of the stories made me think, how else could this magical artifact be used? What mythology could develop around it if this was their creation myth, instead of simply a side tale in a longer series?
Once I HAVE the idea, if it comes with a scene, I write that bit until I can’t figure out what happens next. This sometimes results in me being up well past when I should go to bed, caught up in the flush of New Story. Otherwise, or once I hit that point, I let it simmer for a while. More often than not, weaker story ideas end here. I get ideas SO often, it’s a bit ridiculous, so any that sputter here I don’t worry about chasing. They’ll often add up into other, stronger ideas, or be forgotten.
The ones that won’t let go I then go and try to outline. It’s taken me a LONG time to really be able to understand my stories enough to outline, but they save me a lot of work in the revisions. If SW had a strong outline, it wouldn’t be facing the kinds of edits it is. (Also, I think I missed the market window on that, actually. Teens with psycho issues and super powers has been done, repeatedly, since that was first written. Annoyingly.)
Once I have my outline, I work on it in fits and starts, as the time, energy, and enthusiasm allows. I generally have my outline divided by chapter, with rough “This because this, MC feels this, so does this.” kind of guides. Sometimes they fit, sometimes an earlier choice will alter it, and that’s ok. There’s a LOT of grumping to KT and bouncing of “Well, This that and the other happened, so maybe ??This??” at it, but she’s awesome and usually can see what I’m missing.
I wouldn’t be still writing if it weren’t for KT. I would have given up many, many times over if not for her encouragement and belief in me. Even my current internship wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t encouraged me to go for it and apply, among MANY other things. Sometimes, when I see what KT says about me, I’m amazed by it, because she believes in me far more than I have ever managed to believe in myself. I have to try to live up to the amazing expectations she sets, and that ends up with me pushing myself to be the best I can and then some.
Publishing is a frustrating process. It’s full of rejections, waiting, hopes raised and dashed. It’s not for the faint hearted, at all, but I really, truly believe anyone can make it if they work hard enough. Just keep at it. When skill, talent, and timing all combine, awesome and magical things happen.
Not tagging anyone specific. If you want to do it, DO IT! <3