Hello all! Today I’m joining in on the “WIP Blog Hop” as I was tagged by Nicole Evelina. You can check out her own post about this here.
Basically I’m going to tell you about my writing process and what I’m working on right now. Hopefully you find it interesting and, maybe, even a little helpful in your own process.
- What am I working on?
The simple answer: the sequel to World of Ash, my Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic NA novel. I am at that weird place of finishing my own first draft revisions before sending it off to my editor. My editor will get her paws on it this Tuesday and she’ll send it back to me, bleeding with red ink, before I send it to betas.
- How does my work differ from others of this genre?
In a few ways actually. First, the age category: New Adult. My main characters are all hovering around the age of 20, which fits nicely in the New Adult category (too old for Young Adult, not quite old enough for Adult). NA is still a new landscape and some books are leading the charge, but most of the more successful of these books are in the Romance genre. Not all, but most. My series, while it has a strong Romance subplot in it, is not a Romance. It’s Paranormal and Post-Apocalyptic.
Secondly, it differs in the Post-Apocalyptic genre. I went a totally different way with this. You’ve seen so many zombies, government take overs, revolutions, nuclear wars, man-made catastrophes that destroy the world, I didn’t want to rehash the same story.
In my story, the end of the world comes on the back of plague bearers taken from Scandinavian folklore: Pestas. Cloaked creatures that breathe pestilence and death, stealing through the night to claim their victims and then let urban population do the rest.
- Why do I write what I do?
This was a new world for me when I first sat down to write World of Ash. My bread and butter is Urban Fantasy with many people and creatures that have powers and magic. In this world, only the Pestas wield any kind of supernatural powers. It’s difficult, I have to admit, to hinder my characters by keeping them normal and just trying to figure out how to survive in this new world. But, one day, after finishing two UF manuscripts, back to back, I had a vision of my main character, Kat, staring into a broken mirror. The room around her showed signs of a fire, her eyes were bloodshot and shadowed by fear and lack of sleep, and her hair was stringy and greasy. I knew the world had ended when I saw her in my mind and I didn’t know how it happened. I wanted to know.
Sometimes a whole story will coalesce in your mind and you just have to sit down and get it out before you lose it, but sometimes a character will just walk into your mind, ready to tell you their story. Kat came to me, with her story of the end of the world, and I wanted to write it down.
4. How does my writing process work?
Oof. That’s a complicated question. It has changed so much over time.
When I first started out, I was pantser – I just sat down and wrote, without an outline or notes, just writing until I hit my goal. Back then, if I tried to write with an outline, I lost the immediacy, the urgency, of getting the story out. That’s how I wrote my first three and a half books.
Now I like outlines. Now I almost need an outline to work. When a story comes to me, whether the nugget of an idea, a character, or a whole thing, I sit down with a legal pad and a pen and take a day or two or a week, to get that outline written. Sometimes it’s detailed, sometimes it’s just a skeleton to keep me on the right road through the mountains, but it’s something to follow. Then, when I know I have enough of an outline to get me going, I take one day (just one!) to build a playlist for the book. At least an hour’s worth of songs, that capture the tone of the book. As I write, as I learn the characters’ personalities, as I learn the details of the relationships, I’ll add more and more songs.
On that same day, I’ll head to Pinterest and start an inspiration board. This is a new one, but it really helps when you have a big cast of characters or multiple series you’re working on – you can pin pics of people who look like your chars for reference later, and you can pin locations and structures that help you visualize what you’re writing about.
Once all that’s done, it’s time to write. And write. I treat writing like a job and go to work every day of the week and take the weekends off. I set a word goal for myself, usually 2,000-2,500 words and I write (usually in sprints with other writers), until I hit that goal or surpass it, if the words are flowing. I don’t make excuses to not write. I don’t’ wait for my muse. I don’t have to have the perfect conditions. I just turn on the playlist and put fingers to keys and get that damn first draft written.