Writing can be a difficult career. Writers can be lonely, plagued by self-doubt, faced with rejections that feel personal and judgmental, and expected to be good at everything (creative and a sales/marketing person!). Not to mention that we also struggle with balancing procrastination and never taking a day off.
And those difficulties are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. *smile*
Yet we do it anyway. We must have our reasons…beyond sheer insanity, I mean.
Every once in a while, it’s good to step back and consciously recognize why we go through all of those struggles. That’s why when my friend Kerry Gans asked if I would join the My Writing Process Blog Tour, I said yes.
The My Writing Process Blog Tour is a blog hop with new locations each week for writers to talk about their writing process. Read all of the way to the end of today’s post to see how you can participate.
The “My Writing Process” Blog Tour
I was nominated for this blog tour by Kerry Gans, so let me take a minute for introductions. Make sure to check out her answers to the My Writing Process Blog Tour here.
Kerry Gans writes middle grade and young adult fiction. Her debut novel OZCILLATION is coming out in 2015, and she has had two short stories published. She can be found ruminating on the writing life on her personal blog The Goose’s Quill, and her group blog The Author Chronicles. The bulk of Kerry’s time is spent pursuing her most important Work-In-Progress, her preschool daughter.
Now on to my answers to the My Writing Process Blog Tour questions…
What Am I Working on?
*laughs with an edge of exhausted insanity*
It might be easier to say what I’m not working on. As I mentioned last week, I’m recovering from a severe injury to my ankle that has me in a wheelchair and focused on several-times-a-day physical therapy. So circumstances have slowed me down by necessity and various self-imposed deadlines have slipped.
Writing-wise, I’m mostly working on editing, editing, and more editing. I have a short story and three novels I need to get into shape. At the same time, I’m trying to learn All. The. Things. for a new project. So yeah, going in a bazillion directions at once would be an accurate description.
Let’s just say that I’m glad my day job should be calming down for the next month or two. Maybe I’ll even be able to dig out from the avalanche of email. *eyes 4000+ messages in my inbox* Or not.
How Does My Work Differ from Others of Its Genre?
Believe it or not, I struggle with this question, and maybe many writers do. I write paranormal romance, and that genre typically balances romance and paranormal worldbuilding with a strong external plot (battling a villain, saving the world, etc).
So what do I think makes my stories different? In a word, my characters.
I let my characters be strong and vulnerable in unique ways. Unlike most paranormal romances, where the couple is often made up of a non-human, uber-alpha-male hero (also known as alpha-holes for their a**hole-like arrogance) and a human heroine who’s trying to measure up, I break stereotypes.
I have a shapeshifting dragon heroine who’s stronger than the human hero—but she’s also a pacifist who’s taken a vow of non-violence. My heroes aren’t alpha-holes and even have a few beta traits—but one is also a murderer (yeah, imagine the struggle to make that character likable).
I let my characters be broken and messy because that’s how real people are, and I strive for honest emotions in their relationship. They screw up and they call each other on it. They don’t tiptoe around difficult issues. I’m proud of them by the end of each story.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
It’s a cliché, but I write the kinds of stories I want to read. I get frustrated during the editing process like any writer, but when I’m done, I love my story more than ever. I want to write stories that would sit on my “favorites” shelf.
I write romance because I believe that love is the most powerful, most transformative, most redemptive force in the universe. We’re all broken and messy, but we all can become better and deserve happiness, and the need for love and connection often drives that change.
I write paranormal because the fantasy aspects of the world allow me to explore topics and plots I couldn’t in straight contemporary. Throughout history, stories from Aesop’s fables to Animal Farm have used non-real elements to connect with readers, and I see paranormal along the same lines. Plus, as a reader, I find myself more sucked in by stories with deep worldbuilding.
But mostly I write these stories because I love the characters. Like I mentioned above, I’m proud of them by the end of their story, and I’m hoping I’ll get to share my stories with readers soon.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I’m a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants and often have no idea where my story is going. Luckily, my subconscious/muse knows what he’s doing, and I credit him for all good ideas. (Yes, my muse is male.) My characters regularly surprise me by doing something I wouldn’t have consciously thought of in a million years.
So…process? Um, I take dictation from my muse. *smile*
Hmm, you want more explanation? All right, every story is different, but I usually start with the characters. In my current series, each story idea has started with two characters who logically should never be together (in fact, they probably should be enemies), and I tag along as they discover love anyway.
My knowledge of story structure means I do end up with a story at the end of my pantsing, and while I’m a slow writer, I write clean drafts. That might sound great, but that decent first draft also means that I have a hard time seeing how the story could be better. Thank goodness for beta readers!
Now for the Handoff…
Most tour stops have nominated specific people who should participate the next week. I want to do things a little differently and let you nominate yourself because that goes along with my attitude that everyone deserves a chance. *smile*
If you’d like to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour, here’s an open call just for you. To participate, write a blog post next week and…:
- Acknowledge the person and the site who invited you into the tour (that’d be me and you’d link back to this post).
- Label your post as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.
- Answer these same four questions about your writing process in the post.
- Nominate and link to up to three people to participate who would then post their answers the week after yours.
And as this is an open call, there’s a special, additional step:
- Let me know in the comments if you’re going to participate so I can add your link to this post.
Next, look for My Writing Process Blog Tour posts from those brave souls who answered my open call:
- Jennifer Brinkmeyer, who writes and enjoys paranormal with a horror slant
- Taurean Watkins, who writes animal fantasy for all ages
- Caoimhe McCabe, who writes fantasy/romance stories with an Irish twist
- Diana Staresinic-Deane, who writes true-crime stories and novels of Kansas
- Kathryn McKade, my fellow Arizonan who writes fantasy and science fiction
- AK Harrison, who writes speculative fiction of all styles
Do you sometimes question whether the struggles of writing are worth it? Does it help if you step back and answer questions like these that remind you of why you write? What drives you to write? Have you already participated in this tour (feel free to link to your post in your comment)? Or do you want to participate next week?Pin It