I have this friend, Danyelle Leafty. You should go check out what she writes in her blog, ’cause she’s interesting. You might even read some of the books she’s written, which are middle grade fantasies, generally with fairy-tale themes or backgrounds. She tweets: @DanyelleLeafty. And Danyelle invited me do participate in this bloghop. Thanks, Danyelle!
A bloghop is a chain of interconnected posts across different blogs. The bloghop comes with an explanatory quote:
We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…
And it comes with questions:
1) What am I working on?
Well, lots of stuff. Probably too much. The thing I need to produce imminently is All Along the Watchtower, which is Rock Band Fights Evil #8. The band finally gets to Chicago (their destination in #1, remember?), and it ain’t the Chicago they remembered. I initially thought I’d call it Sweet Home Chicago, but the title was a bit on the noise and the tower theme became… prominent. Twitch has changed; Jim is enthroned; and Crow Jane has joined the band. Eddie comes face to face with his past, while Mike and Chuy remain entangled in theirs. Can Eddie fulfill his divine commission and carry forward the errand of Heaven?
Also queued up:
- Urbane (sequel to Crecheling, in which Dyan and Jak take their rescue mission back into the System); and
- The Iron Mission (sequel to City of the Saints, in which Jacob Hamblin tries to rescue the Deseret Iron Company, find a plural wife for his son Albert, and evade the unrelenting hunt of Cain).
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Good question. Here’s some stuff to look for in my writing:
- Embedded songs
- Easter eggs
- Alternate history (and in the case of Rock Band, alternate Bible)
- Relentless action and conflict, with sharp cliffhangers
- Repartee and wit
3) Why do I write what I do?
I don’t write literary because literary is boring. Stuff should be happening, characters should struggle. Lengthy sentences and complex metaphors are not interesting. At the same time, I don’t write straight pulp because fiction must do more than just entertain to be worth reading. Fiction must challenge the heart, tickle the brain, and enrich the soul. I write speculative fiction because I want to be able to hold a funhouse mirror up to the world itself, as another tool in the activity of holding a mirror up to the human heart.
4) How does my writing process work?
In my experience, you get one thing free, a feather from heaven. An idea, a character, maybe even just a sentence. The rest of it you have to work out. My process start with sitting down to a blank place and trying to drag out of that single feather all the goodness I can. I do this by asking myself explicit questions: Why is this interesting? What does this character want? Who will try to stop him? Who else cares about this objective? How will he accomplish this goal? And so on.
From there I go to outlining. My first outline is a list of characters and subplots, with notes about the key moments in each subplot. My second is an outline by chapter, with key plot and subplot events identified, as well as notes about pacing, genre, tension, etc.
Then I write.
With that, I pass on the baton to three other writer friends of mine:
James Wymore writes fiction. He’s also an acquisitions editor at Curiosity Quills, and a frequent guest in the Wasatch Front convention scene, which he’s associated (in my mind, at least) with semi-improvised mass audience participation games (like Choose-Your-Own-Apocalypse, in which space aliens, zombies, and robots fight it out in the audience and on the stand for the right to terminate the human race). Find James’s blog here. Recent books include Exacting Essence and Salvation. Follow James on Twitter: @JamesWymore.
S.A. Butler happens to be my sister. That’s not why I like her books — I like them because she’ll cheerfully take on a damaged genre like vampire romance, and fix it, by getting it back to its roots in violence, danger, and the possible end of the world. Her debut is Sonya Fletcher: Monster Hunter, a tale of the daughter of Death rallying monsters (including, yes, vampires) and monster hunters in an effort to fend off an apocalypse of her own making. Ms. Butler blogs (here), and you can (and should) follow her on Twitter: @S_A_Butler.
James Batchelor (Twitter: @jamesmbatchelor) writes complicated dynastic yarns about crusaders: sort of a George R.R. Martin, without magic, and with a heart. His first is The Knights Dawning. He publishes through Pendant Publishing, which hosts his blog as well as a bookshop.
Please check them all out.