Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing Process Blog Chain

Thanks to Jessica Hoefer for tagging me in the Writing Process Blog Chain last Monday. If you're curious about her process, you can visit Jessica at her new blog, here. And, you can even follow the chain from blog to blog to meet lots of writers.

The purpose behind this blog chain is to learn a little more about our fellow writers, so here are my answers!

1. What am I currently working on?

A lot! My comedy-horror novel, How I Spent My Zombie Apocalypse, is currently out with agents and editors, so I expect to hear back about it in the following few months.

I have a YA horror novel in the works, about a teenaged girl who moves from Seattle to Romania, and discovers a haunted forest.

I am also actively working on a collection of humorous memoir pieces.

Lastly, I am in the research and development phase of a novel set in the 1920’s, as well as a television series about an international animal rescue group.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Hm, how to answer that. It’s true, that every writer has her own perspective and experience that she brings to each story, no two stories are ever alike. In the case of my horror novels, I tend towards the comedic and/or creepier aspects, rather than the blood ‘n’ guts n’ gore of some horror. Obviously, my memoir writing is very personal and unique to me and my life, as well as being focused on the humor to be found in all parts of life.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I want to read it! I write what interests me, duh. I enjoy the juxtaposition of life and death, serious topics and humor, and gender equality issues. Some of my stories are based on real people and events (sometimes my own, sometimes those that I’ve been told by others), and some are based on the vivid stories I receive in my nightly dreams. I’ve been known to dream entire movies – title screens, credits, name actors, the whole bit.

4. How does my writing process work? 

That’s something I’m still developing. I can tell you that I am incapable of following an outline! My characters never want to cooperate. They do what they want. So, basically, it goes like this.

  1. Get an idea. I might be inspired by a conversation, a photograph, a word, a movie, a dream, or a google search.
  2. Write the idea down in my Ideas File: I keep a running list of ideas, characters, cool words, etc. to peruse for future reference.
  3. Choose a setting, choose a character or two. 
  4. Start writing. Sounds simple, but that’s how I do it. Once I meet a couple of characters, I stick them in a room and let them talk. They tell me what I need I know! I’m usually just as surprised writing the twists and turns of their story as I would be reading it.
  5. When the First Draft is done, I give it to my beta readers. I take notes and make notes and mull over changes to be made for several months. Like, six. 
  6. When I get into the second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts, I write at least three times a week, usually for about two to three hours each time. This keeps the story line fresh in my mind and allows for better continuity.
  7. When I have a new draft that is significantly different from the first one, I send it to my beta readers again. My beta readers come from my writers group, and a few friends that are avid readers. This gives me different perspectives.
  8. Rework, edit, format, save, back-up, send out to be published!

With my shorter works, like the memoir essays and short stories, I will read it to my writer’s group and get feedback on the spot. I rework, edit as needed, and, sometimes, re-read to the group. After final edits, I send it out to find a home. I love the Duotrope website, because I can find calls for certain kinds of stories that I then write for, or I can find a publisher for my existing work. It is a breeze! Well worth the nominal cost of membership.

Thanks for letting me share my writing process with you. I'm happy to pass this chain along to one of my very talented colleagues, Mariah Klein who also writes paranormal fiction and urban fantasy. Please visit her blog next Monday to learn more about her writing process.

Mariah Klein is an educator and an avid reader as well as a writer with an overactive imagination. She lives in a floating space shuttle tree house in Oakland, CA with her husband and two young daughters, who may be huldras, but please don’t mention that to her husband as he is blissfully unaware. Mariah loves writing: creating new characters, worlds and even species. Her attempts to create an actual new species have so far been unsuccessful. Her paranormal mystery series features Jolene Birch, who knows she is meant to be a huldra warrior but isn’t having a lot of success so far.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Bird (My Novel) Has Left The Nest (My Laptop)

Da-di-di-da! FIfth Draft of How I Spent My Zobie Apocalypse was finished two weeks ago. This week, I followed up with queries all--most-- of the agents and editors with which I spoke last summer at PNWA. The response has been encouraging! A few emails were met with automatic receipt replies - I hope to hear from them in the following weeks. Two agents immediately requested my full manuscript, so I am hopeful! And I am putting it out there, to the Great Spirit of Creative Endeavor, that...

  • I will know the right agent when I am faced with decision. 
  • That I will know the right questions to ask, and the answers, along with the agent, will help me put out the best book I can. 
  • That we will place the book with the right editor, in the right publishing house.
  • That those who will be interested in, entertained by, and inspired by my novel will all buy a copy!
Okay, now that that is done...

I'm fairly furiously writing away on many personal essay/memoir pieces, ranging in length from 3-10 pages, so far. I'm thinking I can get enough written and assembled by this year's PNWA Conference to title it and pitch it. 

My other project, I believe, is a lot further from completion. It still stands as about 3/4 of a very rough first draft. I do want to get back to it, but right now, I'm writing what is bubbling beneath the surface. 

I have several other projects in the IDEA stage, including a sequel to How I Spent My Zombie Apocalypse. 

I was happily surprised to find that, even after ten months, all the people I spoke with at PNWA remembered me. I'm realizing that there are a great number of writers that I met last year that I had hoped to stay in contact with, but if they're not on Facebook or Twitter, it's pretty much a lost cause. I hope I remember those names and faces in person! Looking forward to connecting and reconnecting at the Conference in July. Now to figure out what I'm going to pitch...