The Writing Process Blog Hop

Thanks to Jennifer Kincheloe for inviting me to join the Writing Process Blog Hop!

Jennifer and I are members of a local writing community in Colorado. Her novel, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, is a historical mystery set in 1907 Los Angeles. The main character is a naive, young socialite who secretly gets a job as a police matron with the LAPD. The novel will be in bookstores in 2015. If this sounds like your cup of tea (and it should! She’s a great writer), then follow her at http://jenniferkincheloe.com/.

Now, on to the questions!

1)    What am I working on?

I’m currently doing a web serial, TOXIC, on my site and on SerialTeller.com. It’s a light YA urban fantasy, and once it’s complete in serial form it’ll be up for sale as an eBook. I’m also writing my first sci-fi novel, set on Titan and inspired by Lord of the Flies. titan2I admit that sci-fi is a major deviation for me and makes me more than a little nervous. I can be anal about details, you see. And in sci-fi, there are a LOT of details. Transportation. Future tech. And whether humankind has learned anything over the years or if we’re still in the same old mess we’re in today. It drives me crazy to get things wrong. And let me tell you, the details in this one? They’re insane, and run the gamut from the effects on a person’s blood from deep sea diving to methane toxicity to the difficulties of life at low gravity. But it’s fun. And as long as I don’t drive myself bonkers from the nitpicky stuff, it has the potential to turn out well.

2)    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t shy away from death and the lack of a happily ever after if the story is stronger without those things. Grendel, for example, has a main character who’s life blows apart by the end. The happy ending is that she survives, albeit with a heavy cost to herself. I’m also fascinated with anti-heroes. I think people who are basically decent but do bad things, and bad people who sometimes do good things, are more interesting and more complex than the typical stereotypes. They’re also unpredictable, and that makes them fun. My favorite characters in stories are these type of people, and if I ever write a book without one I’ll be pretty surprised.

3) Why do I write what I do?

It’s what I read, so it seems natural to write it, too. I started on sci-fi and fantasy when I was very young, and discovered Stephen King when I was around nine. Don’t get me wrong: I read and loved a lot of the classics, literary works, etc.—I read the complete works of Shakespeare at 10, and Solzhenitsyn was a favorite for a long time—but I always come back to the speculative genre.

4) How does my writing process work?

I’m a pantser. I wish I could plot stories out ahead of time, because my first edit would be an edit instead of a total rewrite, and I’d know before I start if the story is going to go anywhere, but it’s just not how my mind works. I see a character and a scene or two, and then I start writing. I discover where the story is going as I type, and that’s fun for me, the not knowing. It’s almost like reading.

Usually I get through a first draft and then I see all these connections I could add in, sub-plots and small threads I can weave to tie everything together and make it more than it was on first draft. Then I do a third pass and add more, then edits for grammar and sentence flow, all the while weaving in more details and subplots. Toxic took about five passes, including a complete gut job on the first draft. Grendel took three or four, but then I did about four rewrites when I was going through the agent process (requested R&Rs with some excellent ideas for strengthening the story). Who knows how many Titan will take. I keep going until it feels right, until I don’t hit a part that makes me look like this when I read it:

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Now enough about me. Check back next week for the next authors on the blog hop! I’d post them today but honestly–I’m already late on this and I’m just a slacker like that. :-)

Hope to see you tomorrow for the next installment of Toxic! And be sure to check out Jennifer Kincheloe’s website. She’s got some really cool stuff on there, and links to her Facebook page with some awesome vintage images.