Posts Tagged ‘process’

I’m not much of a planner. I don’t plan meals. I don’t plan trips. And I sure as hell don’t plan ahead when I sit down to write. A premise, the desire to entertain myself, that’s about all I have going in. The benefit of making everything up as I go is that I can start writing a story as soon as I have the idea. There’s no world building or character naming to deal with. I don’t have to title. I just have to write.

Here. Let me provide a handy gif of my process:

corgi splash

Do I have stories bomb due to poor planning? All the freakin’ time.

Do I have to edit out pages and pages of random scenes involving cats and stolen jars of jelly when I’m done? Hell yeah.

Do I mind? Yes and no. If I’m being honest.

Sometimes I envy the people who can sit down to outline and have it work for them. I wish I could do that. I’ve tried and I suck at it. I’ve sort of gotten the hang of keeping a loose mental checklist for things that could happen in the next scene/chapter/20,000 words. But that’s as friendly as outlines and I are ever likely to get.

What’s my point with all this?

It goes a little something like this: I never know where my stories are going to go. Not really. I might have an ending in mind but they can (and often do) change. (I’m looking at you over there, Sef. You were supposed to die, not get three books and a novella.) So by now you would think I would stop being so surprised when stories twist out of my greedy little fingers and run away to do their own thing.

And yet.

Any of you who have seen me lamenting on twitter know where this is going. My current story was supposed to be the trashiest, smuttiest piece of throw away crap EVER. I have a list of favorite tropes and I planned to check some of them off the list in one fell swoop. (On a side note, if you haven’t tried writing trash you should give it a go. I’ve never had more fun with my writing.) This was the plan. Write trashy smut. Bang out another novella while having some fun. Emerge refreshed and ready to edit an older novel.

It started so innocently.

I still don’t even know what happened.

confused staring

No. That’s not true. I know.

My character Farrow happened. He may be fictional but he is also a force of nature.

I didn’t get the trash I was aiming for. No. Instead I am nearing 70k on the weirdest, most complicated, strangely personal story I’ve ever written. There’s magic and intrigue and an awful lot of blood for something that I swore was going to be a romance. It’s still fantasy but at its core it’s also very much me talking about issues I didn’t know I was still holding onto. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t INSANELY nervous about it. About sharing it. About reading it. About having to imagine once again, in full surround sound and Technicolor, the anxiety of being in a situation from which there is no obvious means of escape. But I’m doing it.

This wasn’t the story I was looking for. Apparently it was the one that was looking for me.

This novel’s not trashy or smutty (Thanks for being asexual, Farrow. You’re awesome) but I love it anyway. Even though Farrow is an asshole with horrible fashion sense. Even though there are days I want to throw the whole thing into the lake instead of finishing it. (Admittedly, I probably would have done just that if certain people hadn’t kept asking about it.) So… thank you, Farrow, for being an asshole and ruining my hopes of a bit of trashy fun. And thank you to everyone who took an interest in his story. You are the reason I kept writing it. Especially during the aforementioned throw-it-in-the-lake-where-it-will-never-be-heard-from-again moments. Maybe someday you’ll get to read it. (Yes, even the parts that make me remember that I have feelings when I would rather not.)

blowing kisses key

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So. Now I’ve been tagged twice for this blog hop. I figured it was time to actually post my entry about my writing process. I’m slow, but I’m posting now so that should count for something.

For those that don’t know how this works: I got tagged by Murphy and now R. James Stevens. So now it’s my turn to blather on about my writing process. *rubs hands together* Finally a blog subject I can handle.

Blog Hop Rules:  
Answer the four questions below, link back to the person who invited you, and link to the people who will be posting the following Monday.

 

1. What am I working on?

Back when I was originally tagged I was still on the tail end of edits to Taisce and Sef’s book (code name: the idiots; actual title: Forgotten Monster) but now, after much swearing and headdesking, I’ve gone back to wrapping up Dade’s book (code name: that asshole or “my gay superhero book”) and writing the novella that popped into my brain about a month ago. It’s got superheroes and cage matches. It’s fun. I think I’ll keep it. As of this writing I’m 5,000 words into the novella and starting to wonder if it’s actually going to be a novella or something else. (Just please not a novel. Anything but another novel.)

When I’m done drafting, I have no clue what I’ll do. Probably more editing. Because I’m a glutton for punishment.

 

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

I think this is the question that tripped me up last time I attempted writing this blog post. How does my work differ?

It differs because I wrote it and not someone else.

It differs because, though I enjoy a dark atmosphere as much as the next person, I can’t write dark. I can’t resist sneaking in a little sarcasm and humor which sadly seems to be lacking in a lot of fantasy based books lately. Either that or I’m reading the wrong books.

I also like to twist things or mix my genres. Taisce and Sef are set in a Victorian/Old West kind of world, the story is largely romance, but there’s also a bit of magic. Make of that what you will. Dade is slightly more straightforward—superheroes are easier to explain—but I think he spends more time doing everyday things than people might expect. I wanted to cover the parts of being a superhero that don’t usually get written about.

 

3. Why do I write what I write?

I write what I write because it’s what I would like to read. That sounds kind of cliché, doesn’t it? Everyone always says that. But it’s still true. And since I’m a pantser, if I don’t write the stories then I won’t know what happens at the end. That would make me sad.

 

4. How does your writing process work?

I’ve been pretty honest about where I get my ideas. They’re usually from ridiculous places. Dade was born after reading some smutty superhero AU fanfiction and realizing that I wanted to write superheroes too. I used to read comics religiously but I’d never really thought of writing my own. (Well, okay there was that one time but it only lasted a couple of months.) I considered the superhero/reporter dynamic, the superhero/cop dynamic, superhero/villain, etc. etc. and so on and so forth before finally settling on rival superheroes who try to one up each other and end up romantically entangled. (The plot kind of changed along the way but that’s where it started.) I think that’s the most preplanning I’ve ever done before starting a story.

Taisce and Sef were born out of binge watching Merlin last year. Two of my older novels were based on dreams I had. A loose story I’ve been working on (code name: apocalypse girl) came from the title of a movie I found on Netflix one night. And my true claim to fame (or shame) is my only YA idea ever. It arrived after I was forced to watch the Equestria Girls movie repeatedly. I admit it. I appropriated a starting point from My Little Pony. But I doubt you’d ever realize it if I hadn’t told you.

So I guess that leads me to step two of my writing process. I pants everything. I don’t outline. I don’t do character sheets. Any planning I do stays in my head until it’s time to start writing the first draft. I’m told this is weird but it’s just what I do. If I write things down I forget them or over think them. I tried outlining a few times but I need to be surprised when I write. If I know what’s going to happen in too much detail I get bored and I don’t finish. While I work, I form opinions about what should happen next or where the characters need to go to work out certain issues. I guess that’s sort of an outline but it changes as I go and it’s only in my head. My characters usually know what they want better than I do. And when they don’t, we wander around for a while. It’s a pain in the ass when it’s time to edit but I’ve learned to accept it. Better to have a load of editing than an unfinished story. Plus, sometimes all that wandering around helps me dig up some extra gold that I didn’t know I needed.

I also listen to a lot of music while I write. It keeps me going and, occasionally, sets the tempo for certain scenes. Making playlists is my favorite form of productive procrastination, especially since I end up listening to really weird music. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about the music I wrote certain scenes to. Someday. Not now. The contrasts are chuckle worthy to say the least.

So, I think that’s it for me and my writing process. Now you know all two of my steps. Or three if you count the listening to weird music part.

Thank you for reading my babbling. Much obliged.

And a nod back to Murphy and R. James Stevens for tagging me in this blog hop. I will now pass the baton on to:

Ellie (who was already tagged by Murphy too but never posted her entry *stares significantly*)

Trisha (who should know better than to say she needs to get motivated when I’m within hearing range.)

and last but not least @NexusWriter (whose blog link will be added later because I forgot to ask for it.)