Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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.)

I’ve been neglecting my blog for far too long. So it’s Trifecta time once again! This week’s prompt was “ass”. How could I skip that?

*******

Ford was an ass and Bree would have told him so if it wasn’t for the gun pointed at her head. But she thought it. A lot.

Dumb-ass.

She glared at Ford standing beside her with his hands up. He was still grinning like the world amused him.

Asshole.

‘No one’ll be there,’ he’d said. ‘Quick in and out,’ he’d said.

She could kill him.

“Nice night, ain’t it?” Ford asked, unconcerned. As if he were looking into the barrel of a toy gun instead of the real thing.

Jackass.

His eyes flicked to the side. He nodded at the posted sign, the one he’d been chuckling over while he lit the damn cigarette a few minutes ago. “Geez, I didn’t realize this was a nonsmoking area,” he said. One raised hand pointed at the cigarette dangling from his lip. “Mind if I put this out? I swear I won’t try nothing, officer sir. I’m a law abiding citizen an’ all.” Ford smiled that big eyed picture day smile of his, the one that made him look like a golden haired angel.

“Don’t move.” The cop pivoted, eyeing him with automatic suspicion. Smart guy.

“Only be a sec.” Ford slipped the cigarette from his mouth, pinching it like he meant to flick it away from him. Instead he sent it flying into the cop’s face and followed it up with a punch so fast Bree almost missed it entirely. The cop dropped to a knee.

“Ya see that?” Ford asked with a high laugh. “Damn I’m good.”

“Good and careless,” Bree said. She kicked the struggling cop in the head and grabbed Ford’s hand. “Now let’s go.”

They ran through the maze of shipping containers hand in hand, Ford still laughing like a hyena. After a minute, Bree finally smiled too. Her hand cupped the bulging pocket of her coat. They got it. Now they just had to keep it safe.

So. I’ve been thinking about my prose a lot. (And about how I haven’t blogged nearly enough lately but that’s a blog post for another day.) Like most writers I know, my prose concerns me. Too flowery? Not flowery enough? Does it read like an encyclopedia? Am I boring people with my straightforward “he did this and this and then he did this?” It’s a tricky thing to get your point across without overloading readers. Or underwhelming them. So far I’ve only found a couple remedies for my lackluster prose.

One is obvious. Read more. It’s like the cardinal rule of writers. “Read, read, read.” And it’s true and good and other favorable things but what do you do when you’ve been reading like crazy and your prose still sucks? Trying to emulate a writer I love is one thing but it won’t make my metaphors more musical automatically. I can throw words around all day and never come up with that perfect simile to describe the way a character’s smile passes the border of charming and hops a train for creepy. Writing is not one size fits all.

So I sat and thought about my mediocre prose. And then I decided to do something drastic. Something I had pretty much sworn off.

That’s right. I… am going to try writing poetry. Again.

Most of you probably don’t know why this fills me with dread so let me explain. Way back in the land of college, I tried writing poetry. At the time I thought it was okay. And then I went back and reread it a year later. It was horrible. Beyond horrible actually. It was pompous and trite and poorly worded. It was bad. So bad that I’ve never shown my poems to anyone since and I’m generally pretty shameless about my bad writing.

So why am I going to write poetry again when I hated it so much the first time? Because I think that maybe just maybe it’ll result in something a little less sucky. Most importantly: maybe it’ll help my problem with lackluster prose. I’ve always been amazed with poets and their ability to say a lot in few words. I’m crossing my fingers the talent will rub off on me. If you have any spare fingers, maybe cross them for me too. I’d appreciate it.

In the interest of being a better writer I’m pledging now (you guys are witnesses) to write at least one poem every day. It can be crap. In fact it probably will be crap, until it’s not. Hopefully not all of them will be haiku (aka the other only poetry I’ve written in years, usually as jokes.) I won’t lie. I’m a little terrified but also hopeful. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a haiku to write.

So, maybe it’s just me but sometimes when I’m writing I find myself wondering “exactly what DOES that look like?” Today was no different. In the process of writing some fanfiction (yes I write fanfiction when the urge strikes) I came upon a problem: What do burning/burnt feathers look like? And so like any good writer I asked twitter. 😀 Thank you for answering, twitter. And for warning me about the smell. It really was horrible.

But why stop there?

In the interest of fictional accuracy, I grabbed some brightly colored craft feathers and one feather that I found in the yard (I suspect it was from a mourning dove) and set out to burn things. Here are my findings:

#1. Feathers burn surprisingly well. And they also stink. A lot. Someone said they smell like burning hair and that’s probably pretty accurate.

#2. When feathers burn they actually melt and shrivel. There was a bit of bubbling on the last burning attempt and they ended up a big ugly black blob because multiple feathers melted together.

#3. The whole feather burns, including the shaft though that seemed to take a little bit longer.

Now, don’t you all feel so much more knowledgeable?

PS: If you guys would like more in depth info I have before and after pictures. Let me know and I’ll post them.

It’s Trifecta time again! This week’s challenge was a 33 word entry that included a color. Here’s mine:

The setting sun painted cobalt shadows beneath the oak trees. The first stars appeared on the horizon as the village took to their beds. Somewhere a wolf howled. And then there was nothing.

Image

Those of you who stalk me on twitter may have heard that I have an idea.

*cue shocked gasping*

For those of you that don’t know, here it is:

I’m planning to host a story collection on my blog later this year (hopefully in October). It has no name as yet because naming is really not my forte but it has a (loose) theme and I’m getting strangely excited about it already.

I used to paint. A lot. I had two solo shows and did a handful of other gallery showings of my paintings. But in recent years I haven’t done much and that makes me sad. Of course most of my creative energy is going to writing which is also good. Even so, I miss painting. This story collection is kind of like the kick in the ass that I’ve been missing.

The idea is relatively straightforward. I’m going to do twelve illustrations (maybe thirteen if I get really crazy). The participants get to pick one of the illustrations and write a short story to go with it. I don’t care how the picture figures in. It can hang on the wall of the main character’s house, it can be the cover of a book they saw once when they were five, or it can be something internal. It’s up to the story writers. When it’s time, the picture and matching story will get posted together. I’ll probably contribute a story of my own along the way. Guess I need to remember to draw myself a picture too.

So I hope this sounds entertaining to you all. I will no doubt be around to harass some of you into volunteering. Be prepared.

This week’s Trifecta prompt was to explain our writing process in three words. And here are mine:

Swearing. Flailing. Repeat.

 

I think this is my shortest post ever. XD