I was tagged by the stupendous EM Castellan to join her in this blog tour of my writing process. Eve is a fabulous writer represented Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management, writes YA fantasy, and (of which I am eternally jealous) lives in an English castle! She also happens to be a dear friend and a beta reader of mine, for which I am eternally grateful. And, if you want to get to know her more (which you totally should), you can follow her blog or her Twitter.
What am I currently working on?
Currently, nothing, and that makes me a bit sad. I've started two new novels in the past month alone, but time is fickle and so is my motivation. I have both of the novels outlined, but am finding it difficult to sit down and get more than 10,000 words on either. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I'm moving in less than a month, or that I'm trying to get as many hours in at work as possible before I go, or that I just got back from a trip to visit my grandmother, but lumped all together it's just excuses for not writing!
But, I am working on planning yet another novel (it takes me a long time to decide which to write next and to buckle down and write it) as well as still querying A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS. So at least I haven't given up entirely.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The one I'm planning will be the one I focus on for this post, so we'll go with that. It's another YA epic fantasy, but it's set in a completely different world than I've come across before. It mixes in fairy tale elements in a dark and sinister kind of way. What inspired it was a mixture of several things, the first of which being the suffragette movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, the book doesn't have so much to do with males vs. females, but two fantastical races, one of which is treated as lowly as women were before the movement hit full force. So I guess you could say it brings new elements to fantasy books that haven't really been played with before.
Why do I write what I write?
The answer for this is incredibly simple: Because the world we live in is too small. I want to write stories with an epic scope, and though that is possible in this world and has been done before, it's not in the way I want it to. Another part of the reason is because I love creating worlds. The magic system, the politics, the history and the society and the geography... It's all fascinating to me, and I like being in charge of it all.
How does my individual writing process work?
In the beginning, I generally have a vague idea of a character or a world or a conflict (generally centered around destruction). When I have that, I shift to the core of the story: what is driving the characters, be it something they have to find (which is generally the moving force of my stories) or to save something (generally on a grand scale). I then shift to writing a summary, generally around 200-300 words, and that helps me narrow down my story into a coherent plot. During that entire time, I am jotting down notes of scenes or plot points or characters the protagonists meet along the way.
All of that is done by hand (save for the summary, which I always type up). And then I start outlining by hand. I tend to start with the Seven Point Plot Structure so I make sure I have a total story arc, and once that is complete, I do a deep outline of the entire book. I don't outline by chapter because it's hard for me to follow it that way (though I do want to try doing that one day), but instead write anywhere from five to ten pages of outlining notes, which opens doors for me and allows me to discover things about my characters and story that I wasn't aware of while writing notes.
After that, I start writing! My outlines are always guidebooks, but that doesn't mean I have to follow them word for word. That generally causes the stories to take even more directions I wasn't aware of, opening me to characters I hadn't already thought of or telling me who my characters are in a way I hadn't thought about them. I generally have a vague idea of who a character is before I start, as well as their internal arc, but very rarely do I come up with the entirety of a character before I start to write because I like letting them surprise me.
So there you have it. And now it's time for me to tag some friends!
The marvelous Hannah Hunt, who's been a writer friend of mine for years, since the days of Inkpop, a writing community that is no longer active. She writes fabulous YA sci-fi with a futuristic edge to it.
The irreplaceable Anne Tedeton, who was my second critique partner, and one of the best writers of YA urban fantasy ever. She takes elements that have been ground into dust and makes them shine like diamonds. She's one you definitely have to watch out for!