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Blog Hop: My Writing Process

My good friend and fellow writer K.T. Briskie tagged me in a blog hop meme and gave me some questions about my writing process. Unfortunately, I have no other authors to tag to keep the meme going, but here’s my answers.

1) What am I working on?

I have a fair number of projects on the go, which is why I keep a whiteboard with all of them on it. Otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in the mornings. Fortunately, I’m sitting across from my whiteboard, so I can list them for you.

Let’s start with the novels:

I am editing two books right now. The first is True Magics, the third and final book in my Magics Trilogy, due out this fall (YAY!). I have sent it to my editor, the brilliant Gabrielle Harbowy, and am waiting to see how much I have to fix to make it marketable. And by the way, if you haven’t bought Small Magics and Cold Magics yet, now is an excellent time to click on the links and do so. Otherwise, how will you be ready to buy the third one?

My second editing project is City of Phantoms, a YA horror novel, and hopefully the first of a series. It’s about a young girl in Victorian England who disguises herself as a boy to take a job, only to find that the work is very mysterious – and dangerous. I’ll tell more when I get the edit done and start shopping it around.

I am working on the series arc for this one as well, so I know what’s going to be happening down the line of books. I have a good concept, now I just have to get it to the end, so I can write the rest of the books.

I am in the planning and research stages for an historical fiction novel, set in Pre-Elizabethan England. Not going to say much about it, but it’s a book I’ve been wanting to write for a long time and I really like the concept so here’s hoping it works. I’m also planning the next YA Horror novel.

And now that we’re done the novels, here’s the rest:

I have just finished a short humorous story and am sending it out to market.

I am starting another short story, with a Noir style, set after the Zombie apocalypse.

For something completely different, I am also working on a six episode web series called “Hendrix’s People” about two thieves trying to prove one of them didn’t betray their boss and their organization. I’m hoping all the pieces will come together this summer and we can shoot it then. It will feature a lot of humour, a lot of fighting, and a great deal of fun.

I am also working on a book with a personal trainer friend on on how to train for Obstacle course races, because they are fun.  Yes, I am eclectic.

And then there’s my day job. I ghostwrite for a living and currently have 3 projects on the go. My client is excellent, and that’s all I can say because, you know, I’m the ghost.

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

All stories are about people, and the challenges they face, and it is seeing how people are transformed by their experiences that is one of the most interesting parts of reading. That is what I try to bring to my work. When I write , I am more interested in the personal side of the story, rather than the grand epic scale of things (though the grand epic may make an appearance).

The other thing I believe in is consequences. Too often in fantasy or sci-fi we have “monsters” – orcs, aliens, zombies, whatever – and the purpose of those monsters is to give our heroes a license to show how powerful and strong they are by killing, and doing so in the knowledge that there will be no consequences. In reality, all actions have consequences. They may be external, such as society punishing you, people’s relatives our for revenge or friends being driven away by what you’ve become. They may be internal: nightmares, shifts in world view, questioning of the society in which you live, self hatred or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

And it is those consequences, or the possibility of those consequences, that I like to explore when writing.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s fun. I love exploring the “might have been” worlds, and the impossible. It’s a chance to let your imagination go in places that literary fiction doesn’t allow. And in contrast, I like the strictures of historical fiction. There’s a challenge in not just getting the characters right, but getting the world around them right as well.

Most important, I like to tell a good story, and these are the sorts of stories I like best, so they’re the stories I write.

4) How does my writing process work?

My writing process has changed a great deal in the last few years. I used to just write, let the story take me where it will and enjoy the ride. I still do this to an extent with short stories because they are short. That said, I’ve discovered that mapping out novels ahead of time makes it a lot easier for me to write them quickly and to get them out. It’s especially useful in the ghostwriting, and I’ve brought it in to my own work as well.

So these days, I will start with a concept, write out ideas and bits and pieces, until I have enough for a story outline. At the same time I work on developing the characters so I’ll know how they’ll behave and what sort of reactions I can expect from them in the situations I put them in. Of course, sometimes the characters react in ways that are completely different from what I had planned, which can be annoying or fun, depending on whether it improves the writing.

I try to write every day, because if you don’t write every day, you can fall out of the habit, and from experience, that can really mess up your timetable.

And that’s me. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks, Katie for tagging me.

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