Playing Along with #MyWritingProcess

Chain letters in blog form are a TERRIBLE idea (or maybe brilliant, I’m still undecided on that), and I place full blame on/thank Dan Bensen for everything that is to follow, since he’s the one who invited me to play along. Dan writes science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history, his latest project (for which I take some small blame) being a series of vignettes on his blog imagining a world in which China discovers/conquers the Americas instead of Spain, France, and England.

In all seriousness, I am having fun reading about other writers’ processes through this chain-blog, so I will play along with #MyWritingProcess. And I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love wasting time and talking about their creative work? It’s a win-win.

Not that talking about our work is ever wasted time. I discovered this when I was working on my undergrad thesis–the more time you spend trying to explain your work to others, the better you get at selling it quickly and the more insight you get into what you’re doing and who cares, all of which are beneficial for anyone who hopes to make a living off their writing.

What am I working on?

You know the saying that one rider can’t straddle two horses? The same principle should probably be applied to writers and projects, but I’m not good at that, so I have a lot of projects that get a fraction of the attention they deserve. These ones are at the top of the heap currently.

Autumn’s Daughter: YA fantasy with a sci-fi edge. Niamh Brennan grew up among humans, but discovers that she is something else entirely when political factions of a powerful species from a parallel dimension kidnap her sister. I’m working on polishing this for release on Kindle this fall. You should absolutely sign up for my enewsletter (points right, to sidebar) to get notified once it’s out.

Autumn’s Sister: Sequel to the above, focusing on Niamh’s sister (who is traumatized by her imprisonment in AD) finding her own strength in a world where she is presumed powerless. Much more interesting because it’s not a problematic first novel. Will be seeking beta-readers SOON, which means you get to read it (and Autumn’s Daughter) for free AND say insulting things about my writing without fear of repercussion, so, you know…one more reason to join my mailing list. :D

The Sentinel (working title): An ancient 13-dimensional intelligence “blesses” one woman at a time with its knowledge, superpowers (like time travel and teleportation), and longevity in order to battle injustice throughout space and time. Episodes are intended to be published as novellas one at a time and will be available either individually, or as a subscription to the full collection, hopefully starting in January 2015. Completely chaotic, could be a lot of fun as a comic if anyone wants to talk collaboration…

Here Be Dragons (also a working title): My other blog is a knitting blog. I design knitting patterns and I’m currently working on a collection of tiny, seamless dragons made from the scraps of leftover sock yarn. It will eventually become a book complete with advice on how to create your own stuffed toy designs using the principles my patterns follow along with facts and lore about the inspiration for the various dragon designs.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think of myself as a science fantasist, by which I mean that I think high fantasy benefits from an infusion of thoughtful speculation grounded in the possibilities offered by cutting edge science and I think science fiction is better when it doesn’t sacrifice fun and whimsy on the altar of getting all the science perfect (though there is certainly something to be said for doing your damn homework after the first draft). Recent favorites along those lines include the Doctor Who reboot and Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings.

Why do I write what I do?

To call for a higher standard of human decency and equality: It pisses me off that gals who also happen to be written as complex humans are under-represented in my favorite genres, so I’m trying very hard to add to the pool of books I wish had existed when I was younger and struggling under pressures I barely even knew existed.

To shut the voices up: I have heard many writers talk about this, but character voices and scenarios and ideas get stuck in my head the same way catchy tunes do, and the only way to get any sleep some nights is to trap them in my computer where they think there’s hope of being heard by more people, poor saps.

 

How does my writing process work?

Haphazardly. See above re: too many projects at the same time and my last post re: what I read in order to write. I write with the sunrise and a full cup of coffee at my dining room table, usually uphill against the forces of distraction, the impending obligations of work-I-get-paid-for, and a cat trying very hard to flop across my keyboard.

Outlines: Yes. Loose ones. Knowing where I think I’m going gives me a place to be heading while I figure out where the story needs to end up.

Synopses: Critical for keeping track of who’s doing what when and why and at what point they learn critical information.

Tools: Google Docs for early drafts so I can work from any device easily, WriteWay for anything that makes it past short story length, Kindle (old school with the key pad so I can easily make notes) for the broadstrokes level of revision so I’m better able to sink into a reading experience.

If I had a more rigorous process and better discipline, I might have made more headway by now, but I don’t and I haven’t, so maybe don’t put too much stock in my approach to “process” anytime soon.

Passing the Baton

I passed this chain blog scheme along to some writing friends a week or so ago, but have yet to hear a response. Keep an eye out for an update as and if they get back to me–they’re a talented and entertaining lot.

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