I’ve been tagged by the stupendously awesome Katie Bucklein for the #mywritingprocess blog hop. Katie is, quite simply put, a badass. Her writing is smooth as butter, her stories are beyond epic, and her grasp of YA fantasy is stellar. If your interest has been piqued, you can also find her on Twitter.
Now, for the questions!
What am I currently working on?
I’m juggling two projects: a secret serial for a monthly digest, and a YA supernatural horror set in western North Carolina. It’s tentatively titled THE WILD HUNT, and it has ghosts, a haunted forest full of nasty things, snarky best friends, and a huge dose of Halloween. I’ve paused to read Ray Bradbury’s THE HALLOWEEN TREE between writing chapters to keep myself in an autumnal mood, and my Tumblr reflects it pretty clearly!
The writing is slow going as summers tend to be insanely busy for me. I’ve been on the road for the past week visiting family, and I managed to make a side trip so I could research one of the settings for AMoA.
Look forward to more photos like these soon!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I draw a lot of inspiration from comics, manga, and video games. One thing I hear quite often from critique partners is, “Why isn’t this a graphic novel?” I work hard to make my stories as visual as I can, and one of the reasons I do that is because I picture the words as a comic in my head. Some people envision their story as a movie, I envision mine in comic panels. Maybe one day I’ll be skilled enough to turn my stories into graphic novels, but my drawing skills aren’t as strong as I want them to be….yet.
Why do I write what I write?
When I was younger, I went through some hard stuff, and books kept me sane. The stories I gravitated toward tended to be dark, raw, and true, and that’s what I try to write. Books that made me go “Thank God! Somebody gets it! THIS is how I feel, THIS is what I’m going through” were the books I loved. I was so grateful when I found books I could relate to. There’s a quote floating around I’ve seen a few times that says “Be the person you needed when you were younger” and that’s my mission statement in a nutshell. I’ve got all these stories in me, and I want to give them to someone who needs them. That’s what this whole writing thing is all about.
How does my writing process work?
I fill the kettle, I make my tea, I put on my headphones, and I go to work. Sometimes I’ll check my outline, sometimes I won’t. It depends on the day. If I’m halfway through a chapter, I’ll read what I have so far, make whatever rewrites/edits I need to make, and push forward. Some days I blow past my 1200-word goal. Other days, I only get 700-800. I try to limit distractions–turning off wi-fi and my phone are a must. My snags tend to be research. I’ll look up one thing, think of another, and three hours later I’ve fallen down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. I have a research background, and it shows–I’m never satisfied with reading one or two pages. I have to thoroughly explore things, and that usually ends up in more research than is truly necessary.
This would be why the notes for AMoA clock in at almost 100k. I am very, very methodical in preparing a story. There’s a huge Post It note map on my wall for AMoA book 2, another map for THE WILD HUNT, and a story bible for AMoA book 1. I love research almost as much as I love writing, and while it tends to be little more than a footnote here or there in the actual story, it’s putting all those details together into a coherent whole that makes me happiest.
This is not to say that another human being would be able to make sense of my notes. 🙂
When I get stuck, I usually call up my local writer friend Pru Holcombe to meet up at Denny’s around midnight and hash plot problems till five AM. She’s one of my best friends and my very oldest CP–we’ve known each other for roughly twelve years, and we’ve traded words for a good majority of that time. Pru writes a lot of spec-fic, and her current book features some very modern fey, a badass whip-smart protagonist, and an impending disaster that threatens to level London itself. It’s got the feminist overtones of Orphan Black, the humor of Douglas Adams, and a really, really awesome, truly original take on fairies. I’m looking forward to the day you all get to read it! You can find her on Twitter as well.
I’m also tagging Hope Cook. She’s one of my CPs and guys, SHE IS SO AWESOME. I truly lucked out when I met her, because she’s helped me shape AMoA into the book it COULD be, versus the book it was. Hope never stops at “good enough,” and her stories motivate me to push myself as hard as I can go. Her imagery is FLAWLESS, absolutely gorgeous. You’ll have a hard time finding a writer with descriptions as lush as hers. We both value emotional stories and deeply complex characters, and it’s something we push each other on. She’s working on a couple of novels, but her current project is a gothic horror and GUYS IT IS SO GREAT. I can’t wait for someone to snatch it up. There’s a haunted house, a crazed alchemist, time travel, and dirt bikes. It is sad and brilliant and heartbreaking, and I really, really hope the cover does justice to the story 🙂 You can find her Tumblr here and her Twitter here.