March 10, 2014
Writing Process: A Blog Hop
Tinney Heath, author of A Thing Done, invited me to participate in this blog hop and answer four questions about my writing process.
What are you working on? Presently, I have two projects going:
Snow White and the Queen is a middle-grade fantasy novel, offering a new twist on the traditional fairy tale. Hidden from the Queen and raised in the dwarf kingdom, Snow White leaves the kind but memory-challenged dwarfs to discover her identity. Mischievous elves, a devoted will-o-wisp and a loggerheaded huntsman all help Snow White become what she was always destined to be. I finished the first draft of this story in January. I’m on my third or fourth revision. I hope to be sending it out soon.
The Stepsister is a steam-punk Cinderella story narrated by Drusilla, who is so obsessed with science and her father’s death that she is oblivious to the daily doings of the rest of her family. It’s the Cinderella story, told from a new perspective, with surprising plot twists that come, in part, from the steampunk world. I’m about half-way through the first draft.
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
My fairy tales offer more in the way of character development than that found in traditional fairy tales. When I read, I am most interested in character, and when I write it is the same. I focus on the development of personality, which then makes the behaviors of characters both understandable and believable. Although I follow the basic fairy tale plot, both of my stories include additional conflicts and subplots which, I hope, give the stories more depth and make them more interesting.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I would like to read. I love adaptations of fairy tales, so I wanted to try my own hand at that. My favorite of these so far is Marissa Meyer‘s The Lunar Chronicles, which I recommend to everyone. I love historical fiction too, and my first three novels are all in that genre.
How does your writing process work?
I write linearly. First chapter, second chapter, on and on to the end. In my head, I know the big scenes and what will happen at the end, and I write to those places. I have both electronic files and paper notes in which I keep my tentative outline, research details, and other things that I don’t want to forget.
I work best when I have a block of two or three hours to write. Unfortunately, as a teacher and a mother, I don’t get those blocks of time every day. My goal is one afternoon or one morning a week. Each semester, that is a different day, and I try to schedule and stick to that block of time. No cleaning, no errands, no appointments. Three hours, once a week is for writing. The rest of the week, of course, I think about the story I’m creating. Walking to work, I think. Lying in bed, I think. In the shower, in the pool, in the car driving my children to all their activities, I think. When my writing time comes, I’m ready to go.
In between those blocks of time, I sometimes do revisions and small additions to what I’ve already written. These quick-edits can be done in a shorter time period and they keep my story pretty clean.
In my once-a-week writing session, I average about 1000 words. This isn’t much, but it adds up over time. My adult novels each took about three years to write. My children’s stories have taken less time.
In November, I participate in NaNoWriMo, which increases my word count considerably. I devote more evening and weekend time to writing, and spend less time cleaning, cooking, and being with my family. Since it is only one month a year, I don’t feel as guilty.
The Blog Hop
Many thanks to Tinney Heath for tagging me. Tinney’s A Thing Done, tells the story of the jester who became a pawn in the feud between two noble families in thirteenth century Florence. Her story is suspenseful, beautifully written, with exquisite historical detail.
I now tag Anna Belfrage and Christopher Cevasco, whose writing processes I look forward to reading about.
On March 17, visit Anna Belfrage:
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing and time-consuming interests, namely British History and writing. These days, Anna spends almost as much time writing and researching as she does working, which leaves little time for other important pursuits such as cooking and baking.
Anna Belfrage is the author of The Graham Saga – so far five of the total eight books have been published. Set in seventeenth century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, The Graham Saga tell the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him.
Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.
On March 31, visit Christopher Cevasco:
Christopher writes fiction inspired by history. His short stories have appeared in Black Static and the Prime Books anthologies Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War and Zombies: Shambling through the Ages, among numerous other magazines and anthologies. From 2003 to 2009, he was also the editor/publisher of the award-winning Paradox: the Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is seeking representation for a recently completed historical thriller about Lady Godiva and is currently working on a novel of English resistance and rebellion in the years immediately following the Norman Conquest.
Learn more about Christopher at his website: http://www.christophermcevasco.com/blog/