I’m in the thick of lionhearted edits on two books both due by different publishers on the same day. Every day I shake my mane, roar, and try to feel like the triumphant lord of my land while the hyenas snap at my heels.
Some days it’s this
(The Lion King © 1994 mylionking.com)
And other days it’s this
(The Lion King © 1994 mylionking.com)
So when the talented, fun, and funny Joe McGee asked me to be a part of this ‘My Writing Process’ blog I was like “sure I’ve got time for that (gulp)!” Thanks for adding me to your pride, Joe. **Roar**! We writers need to stick together in the circle of life or we end up at the bottom of the food chain (or just disappear in a big mud wallow).
Joe is finishing up his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and his debut picture book, PEANUT BUTTER AND BRAINS is forthcoming from Abrams Publishing this year! Check out Joe’s answers to ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour and follow him on Twitter. He is a cool cat for many reasons but especially because he loathes mayonnaise like me!
So here’s my writing process folks…
What am I working on?
See mention above…thick in edits from my two publishers on two books. My middle grade novel, Joshua and the Lightning Road, comes out April 2015 by Month9Books and is set in an imaginary dark world that steals human children for work slaves. Make sure to add it to your Goodreads to-be-read list! The book is in pieces now as I break it apart and put it back together! Kind of like Humpty-Dumpty on crack.
And the other book I’m editing is my paranormal suspense novel, A Hidden Element, coming out this summer and the sequel to A Human Element. It’s murder and mystery with a dash of steam.
I’m also finalizing the synopsis for book two of the Joshua and the Lightning Road series, which I’m under contract to write this summer. And because I love setting the alarm for 4:30am there’s the…
– Young adult fantasy series I’m plotting full of medieval mystery and mayhem
– My new children’s author website I’m launching soon
– Planning a video blog series with my son
This is in between you know, freaking out to my husband, working a freelance job, and taking care of the family. And the cats…oops, we have cats? Off to feed those monsters…
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My books for adults don’t tend to fit into one genre. They combine a mix of paranormal, horror, and science fiction that often surprises my readers. In writing across genres from paranormal suspense for adults to contemporary young adult to even middle grade fantasy they all have a similar theme to them – darkness with a touch of light.
Why do you I write what I do?
I like the tragic tale with a dash of hope. Because that’s what I like to read, whether buyambienmed.com it’s literary (The Thirteenth Tale) or contemporary (Lottery) or dystopian (The Hunger Games). They all have characters a bit broken, a bit lost, and who struggle to overcome and must call on their own inner power to survive – and thrive. I get my kicks writing the bad ass too, because don’t we all wish we could just be a little bad-ass some times and get away with it?
Just as I love to read the tormented character, I love to torment my own characters. To bring them to that darkest place then give them a way out in the final hour. I make myself fear for them! Like riding the Tower of Terror at Disney. Death looms but we know in the end, we’ll survive.
How does my writing process work?
First comes my notebook, pen, and chair overlooking the woods (or the couch by the fire in winter). It’s where any new idea is gemmed (see I just made up a word there because we writers can do that!). I start with a lot of ‘what if?’ questions. There’s nothing quite like beginning again with a blank page to paint.
My notebook scribble with germ of idea for new series
Then I fast draft a synopsis, flesh out characters, and it takes on a life of its own. And before I even write one word I have a title. I need a title to drive my story. I often journal in my character’s voice to find out who they are then create character worksheets on them. I try not to over-plot as I want the creative part to unfold as I go.
So there you have it! Next week, in a continuation of the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, my friends Catherine Stine and Kerry Gans will share their insight. Please make sure to check out what they have to say on Monday, May 12th.
Catherine Stine is an award-winning author and writes young adult as Catherine Stine and new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare. She writes mostly speculative fiction, anything that speculates on the future: sci-fi, fantasy and post-apocalypse as well as adventure for middle grade.
And if she weren’t busy enough she also teaches creative writing and is an amazing illustrator! And don’t get me started on the month-long class she’s been known to teach (that I’m dying to attend) on a Greek island! Visit her blog and website to find out about her workshops and events and be sure to follow her!
Kerry Gans has been involved in my Bucks County, PA writing community for several years. She’s super talented (just sit in on a workshop with her and see what she cranks out off the top of her head!) and writes middle grade, young adult, and adult science fiction. She’s smart too with a Bachelor of Arts from Chestnut Hill College, and a Master of Arts in English from Arcadia University.
Follow Kerry’s blogs The Goose Quill and The Author Chronicles, both share great insight into the writer’s mind and the ever-changing publishing industry.
Joe McGee says
Great post, Donna! Thanks for sharing. And I am such a HUGE fan of “What if?” That’s my favorite game. Also, that’s interesting about having to have a title first…like the impetus that sets you in motion. Good stuff and so excited for you!
Thanks Joe – and for tagging me! It’s funny as I just can’t move forward without a title and yet I know some folks who don’t choose a title until long after they are done. This is what makes being a writer so fun – there really are no rules when it comes to getting the words written.
Catherine "Kitsy" Stine says
You are really on fire! I wish I was organized enough to put all of my notes in one notebook. Mine are on random torn off bits and pieces of paper that end up everywhere. Yack!
Catherine, now you notice I didn’t mention my several notebooks! I have them scattered all over: spiral ones, tablets, journals. And I have post it notes that end up everywhere too! 🙂
Shelly Chalmers says
Yay for old fashioned notebooks that multiply if you leave them alone too long. 🙂 I love your process, and find it interesting about your title. I’m one of those on the other end, where I give it a working title only because I need a file name to save it as. 😉 But I suppose it also doesn’t matter to me as much because I’m not very good with titles. If you are, maybe you could share those secrets with the rest of us too in a future post? (hint, hint). 😉
Thanks for a great post, and best of luck with the deadlines.
Shelly, thanks for the laughs! Hmmm, I really don’t have a secret for titles. It’s really an intuitive thing. They come to me BANG and then I’m inspired. But then cliffhanger endings on each chapter come easy to me too – it’s the beginnings that can slow me down. So maybe my endings and titles are similar in that I like cliffhangers because they leave you with questions, wanting to know more – and that’s what my titles reflect too. Now if I could only get quick inspiration to write like that all the time for the longer stuff! 🙂
Tori Bond says
I love reading about the writing process and even though I sit next to you every Wednesday and write, it is still a wonderfully mysterious act. Thanks for sharing.
PS. I got the email about your post this morning.
Tori, so glad you got it! And it is a mysterious act indeed and unique to each writer. I’ve learned so much reading your flash fiction pieces and how you can get so much in such little space – and of course learning the many things you pass on that you’ve acquired in getting your MFA.