Welcome back Dear Readers,
Today I’m sharing the intimate details (gasp!) of my writing process for this ongoing blog tour that tags various writers and asks us nosy questions. 😉
Samantha Dunaway Bryant kindly chose me to take part, likely since we were both participants in the A to Z Challenge, so she figured I was another glutton for punishment. (And she was right, cause I said yes!) Please check out her post here.
I don’t often talk about my writing process, so my question for you is this: do you find this interesting? Would you like to hear more about what I’m working on and where I’m at? If so, please let me know in the comments. I never blog about it because I assume no one is interested, but perhaps that’s not the case.
Without further ado, here’s my shocking answers to the blog tour questions. (Well, they’re not really that shocking, but it is Monday–had to wake you up somehow.)
What am I working on?
I’ve just started writing a new series set in ancient Egypt that I hope to self publish. Since I’m not an Egyptologist, I’ve been doing tons of research. Every movie I watch is either a documentary on ancient Egypt or Egyptian-themed (thank god for Stargate and The Mummy series!), and every book I read is…you guessed it, about ancient Egypt. I’m immersing myself in that world right now, and I’m happy to say it’s anything but boring.
I recently finished a young adult thriller/horror, and before that, a horror novel for adults. I just submitted a paranormal mystery to editors and agents, so I have one novel out on submission, two that need rewrites, and one work in progress. (Not to mention two other books I need to read again to decide if they’re worthy of submitting.) I also blog a chapter of one of my first books here each Friday, and write a ton of non-fiction articles each week.
How does my work differ from others of the genre?
I love to tell scary stories, but I like to think that I elevate the genre with characters who live and breathe off the page, people my readers will really care about. There’s usually a social issue explored in my books. Human rights is one that I keep going back to. I basically write what I always wanted to read but couldn’t find. Stephen King’s Bag of Bones is an example of the type of book I would love to see more of.
Why do I write what I do?
It all started back in high school with a very picky English teacher. He loathed what he called “Disney endings” and he hated teenage angst. The easiest way to avoid a sappy happy ending? Write horror.
But my first published story in Grade Four was about vampires, so it could have started even earlier. Scary stories–and the taboo that surrounds them, especially when you’re a kid–have always fascinated me. “You shouldn’t read that–it’ll give you nightmares.” What kid wouldn’t find that intriguing?
How does your writing process work?
Here’s the shocking part I promised you. I don’t outline. I don’t plan. I often don’t know how my books will end until I write the ending. Sometimes the process itself is scary, but if I have faith and keep writing, everything will turn out in the end. It always surprises me how every little innocuous thing at the beginning ends up tying into some deeper theme or plot point later in the book–how does that happen? Writing is magic–that’s my only way of explaining it.
My books usually start with a single idea, and it’s often a “what if.” What if a good cop got so frustrated he took the law into his own hands? What if one of Andrea Yates’s children had survived? What if my best friend hadn’t died, but had disappeared? How much worse would that be? What if that house was haunted by its past? I may jot down the idea if I’m afraid I’ll forget it, and then a few days later, a character will start speaking in my mind. These characters come fully formed, usually–it never feel likes someone I’ve made up. The character starts telling me his or her story, and it’s my job to write it down as fast as I can.
I spend at least an hour a day working on a new book, Monday to Friday. So far I’m taking weekends off, but when I’m getting close to the end of a novel, I’ll write on weekends as well. An hour a day doesn’t sound like much, but it means I’ll write three books a year. And as I’m having trouble keeping up with rewriting and submitting what I’ve already written, that’s enough for me.
If you’d like to know more about how I stay on track and how you could use the same trick, check out my post on the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Secret.
Tanager Hammerface (not her real name–ha!): This multi-talented redhead is a writer, an artist, and an acrobatic tumbler who runs her own Etsy shop. She’s one of the coolest people on the planet, and if you haven’t seen her egglets yet, I’m warning you now–you will want one (or three).
Donelle Lacy: Donelle is another incredibly talented writer and artist. Her Twitter sketches have attracted the notice of Neil Gaiman and other famous folk. During the day, she’s a mild-mannered library clerk, but by night…well, I’ll let her tell you about that. If she wants to.
Tui Snider: This woman has been everywhere! Seriously, everywhere. She’s a freelance writer, photographer, and musician who specializes in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. She’s written a book called Unexpected Texas that is a must-read for travel buffs everywhere, even those who aren’t interested in going to the Lonestar State.
These ladies are awesome! Please give them some love next Monday, when they blog about their writing process on May 12th.