Well at long, long last, it is time for me to fulfill my duty in participating in and passing along this wonderful and superbly interesting Writing Process Blog Hop! The incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining Jumping From Cliffs was kind enough to tag me as one of his four writers, so here I go!
The rules are as follows: I have to answer 4 questions, then tag 4 other brilliant bloggers to carry on the torch. And that’s it!
So. To the questions!
1) What are you working on?
My main work-in-progress at the moment is the novel I started in June 2013, and the novel I worked on for National Novel Writing Month 2013, The Good Thing. I’m still plugging away at the rough draft, which has hit 80k words now and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a science-fiction dystopian-future thriller (sure, I’m gonna go ahead and use that word based on the definition of the genre found here) with an undercurrent (maybe slightly more than an undercurrent? Maybe a subplot!) of romance. I have a back cover blurb I recently wrote and could give to you as far as a synopsis goes … if I can find it … oh yes! Here it is. Ahem. Here you go, the back cover blurb as it currently stands:
Pavel and Amy Sokolov have been approved by the World Population Registry for the great honor of parenthood. Reluctantly leaving their home city, they travel to the community of Una Duo for their First Selection – the ritualistic process of choosing the man and woman who will bear their first child. When he and Amy select a progenitor named Vince Dannel as their child’s sire, the decision sets off a chain reaction that will lead Pavel down a long and twisted path to the truth about his orderly society … truths that will challenge everything he’s yet been told about the progenitors and the “peaceful” world nation he lives in …
Convicted of assaulting the Una Duo officer who’d come to take away his unregistered daughter, Vince Dannel has spent the last eight years in the quarry used as a “rehabilitation” camp for condemned Duo citizens. But now he’s back in the progenitor community, and expected by the Registry to resume his duties as one of the area’s most genetically fit candidates of the Selection program as if nothing had ever happened.
Vince, however, has other plans. There is a legend circulating among the Duo communities about a cache of unaltered history from The War of Unity, and Vince is determined to find it and release its secrets to the general public in the hopes that the truth it holds might break down the system that has robbed him of his family and his freedom. But to do this, he will need the help of someone with access to the global network.
Someone like Pavel Sokolov.
Fighting the forces of a global government, members of an underground organization sworn to keep secrets hidden, and deeply held prejudices against each other, Vince and Pavel embark on an impossible quest that will, ultimately, force both to begin questioning their own personal convictions … and determine if the world once more returns to war.
I’m also working on writing/editing a slew of short stories and poems for the merry-go-round of submission (see my Bait, Fish, and Reel reports for THAT snail-paced progress), occasionally edit novels/short stories/fanfic for other people (send me a message if you’d like me to take a look at your stuff – I have limited time at the moment but I love to help out if I can!), and have JUST started designing and creating my own fandom-based jewelry/knick-knacks, complete with an Etsy store! (I will also be taking requests/recommendations for things to make, so check out the store and the Facebook page and let me know if you want something in particular!)
2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
Ehhh, well, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book like mine, which is why I decided to write it. Oh wait, that’s question #3, I’m jumping ahead! Okay, back to the question at hand … I believe my work is different from others in the genre in that it is kind of a mash-up of genres. This could be either a great thing or a terrible thing, I’ll have to let readers decide! I’m also aiming to make it very real and visceral, while delving subtly into hard questions that don’t have black and white answers. Also, the two main characters are bisexual and homosexual, which is different for the genre as well. I’m looking forward to reactions from initial readers when this thing is done. I feel like it’s such a hybrid people will either love it or hate it, lol. Much remains yet to be seen with this one!
3) Why do you write what you write?
Aha, here we go! Like many authors, I have had to write the stories I’d like to read, but which do not yet exist (or at least, I have not yet found). I want stories with character and emotion, exciting, intriguing, action-y plot AND snappy or clever dialogue. Yes, pretty much I want it ALL, lol. I’m not saying my stories will have them all, by any means, but that IS what I’m striving for in the end. I’ve noticed the stories that stick with me the longest are those that make me think, really really think, and contemplate, but without being overtly preachy or obvious about the message they are attempting to deliver. While at the same time really make me FEEL for the characters involved. Do I love to hate the books that make me hurl them across the room and collapse on the bed in a heap of anguished tears? Yes, but only if they do so in a more evolved manner than George R. R. Martin seems to like to do in his Song of Fire and Ice series. (He just made me stop caring about the characters. And then stop reading altogether. There’s such a thing as overdoing it!) But I’m rambling …
The point being, I write what I would like to read. I tend to gravitate toward science fiction and fantasy because of the freedom of creation they offer. No need to stick to the rules of normalcy and all that, you know. So many more possibilities. Hey, what can I say. I like to play goddess. 😉
4) How does your writing process work?
I’m going to go with a cliché sounding and oft-quoted answer for this one, but it’s true: the process is different for each book. That could be mostly because I’m still feeling my way around, of course, lol. Traditionally I have not been a strong plotter, but with The Good Thing (since it was supposed to be a contest entry and therefore had to be written on a tight deadline) I actually had the ENTIRE NOVEL (okay, the main events) mapped out before I wrote a single word. Funny enough, I have had great success with this novel using my complete, albeit vague, outline, and in the future I will endeavor to repeat this method. Granted, the outline is malleable and has changed and evolved as I go, but it helps immensely to know the end goal. (Also, it’s five months past that original deadline, but who’s counting?)
Over the course of writing this novel to date, I have found “Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell, “The Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maas and “The Plot Whisperer Workbook” by Martha Alderson to all be extremely, extremely useful and I highly recommend all of them! If there is one lesson I have learned more than any other this time around, it’s that in order to have a great plot, you must have great characters first. Knowing my characters inside and out, backward and forwards has granted me plot-on-the-fly more times than I can count, not to mention pulled my characters out of situations I could never have imagined they’d get out of.
Ah, writing stories. I love it. 🙂
Wait, did I even really answer that question? Ah, close enough!
And now on to four of my favoritist bloggers! Go check them out, you won’t be disappointed!
A Girl Who Writes: Sarah has great posts that are not only full of information, but fabulously fun to read! Her “Don’t Do This” series is particularly hilarious. Honest about the roller-coaster ride it is to be a writer and sprinkled with awesome writing snippets, Sarah’s blog is one you don’t want to miss!
The Ordinary Writer: Kristin’s blog is full of sound writing observations and summaries of hard-won lessons that could be very useful if you are a fellow aspiring writer. In addition, Kristin is possessed by wanderlust, which means that for the rest of us who rarely see the outdoors, we can travel vicariously through her!
Blotter Paper: One of my favorite blogs, Rahul’s posts are always well-thought out and incredibly insightful. He brings great points to any subject he deigns to write about. He also offers a unique insight into the world of academic writing for anyone who, like me at one point, might consider a formal graduate-level education in Creative Writing. And bonus! He’s been published in magazines which are some of my own target markets, serving as a reminder to all writers everywhere that PERSISTENCE is the name of the game!
TychoGirl: I kind of go speechless when I see TychoGirl’s breathtaking poetry. Yes, I said see it, not read it. She has the unique ability to make her poetry both visual with words and with imagery. They are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, much less read. And another bonus, if you’re anything like me, she focuses on one of my favorite subjects: astronomy. Astropoetry, it’s called. And it is a glorious thing. Go immediately and have your eyes opened to the wonders of the universe!
And with that, good day! Carry on. Write stuff, and such.