Monday, June 2, 2014

In Which I've Been Tagged

So, as the title says, I've been tagged by the awesome Rena Rocford! Don't know her? Check her out because I already told you once she's awesome. And she is. I pretty much luuurve her and that's no lie.

Anyway, this is a "Talk about your process" game and I'm in, so here we go.

What are you working on right now?

What AREN'T I working on right now, right? Nah I'm just kidding. Mostly what I'm working on right now is MFA work and a new WIP. The WIP is cleverly titled WIP right now (because no matter how hard I try (like, maybe a medium amount?) I haven't been able to come up with even a working title for it. But I've been thinking of it as Howl's Moving Castle meets Sherlock Holmes, and whether it's actually like either of those things, I dunno, but it's got a boy who's a cavalry cadet and another boy who's got a demon living inside him, granting him magical powers, and there's a looming war and secret weapon plans that must be discovered and feels and junk.
So yeah, I'm liking it.
I'm only about 40K in. I wish I was farther, but what can you do?

My first MFA semester is allllmost done. Next week, actually. And then I have a small break until Semester 2 starts in early July. So right now I'm doing some voice work for my mentor Anne Ursu to finish out my semester.

How does my book differ from others in my genre?

Shit, these aren't like easy question are they? Hell, I don't know. Maybe if I was, like, done with it, I could tell you? Nah, probably not. I guess I would say it's not often you get cavalry cadets and wizard boys mixing it up together, so I guess my fantasy and world building is what separates it out.

Why do I write what I write?

Because it's fun, natch. And even though I love YA contemporary, I don't think I could ever write it because I'm sure I'd reach a point and write "and then the monsters show up" or something. I mean, the backdrop of teen emotions and drama is made even worse when you have to deal with magic and murder and some other clever "m" word I can't think of off the top of my head.
Mystery? meh.
So, yeah. I write it mostly because it's what I want to read. I think that's pretty much the most important reason to write anything, you know?

How does my writing process work?

I usually spend months brainstorming an idea. Thinking about characters. About specific scenes, all that fun stuff.
Then when it's marinated enough, I'll tackle the first 4-5 steps of the Snowflake Method. Mostly I'll just come up with a one sentence description of the book. Then a one paragraph description.
Then I'll come up with 4 disasters and an ending and plan out what the inciting incident is.
Then I'll work through the MCs motivations, goals conflicts and epiphany.
And finally, when all of that is done, I'll write a query. It doesn't have to be a great query, but I try to make it, you know, not shitty.
Finally part 2, I'll make a list of scenes, which functions as an outline for me, and I jump in.
Jumping in is usually pretty easy because during all of the pre-work I usually come up with an opening scene or at least an opening line, so I know where to start.
Then I'll write the whole thing, beginning to end, chronologically.
Bam. Draft one is done. And because I allow myself to edit every day, after I've hit my word count, my drafts are usually pretty clean, which means revising doesn't take me forever.
And that's my process in a nutshell.

And that's it! I have to tag someone and I'm going to tag Matt MacNish, because, you know, we're pals.


Leandra Wallace said...

I keep hearing about the Snowflake Method and should check it out. I'm just stubborn. Like when I put off reading The Hunger Games, b/c everyone said to read them. =) And when I read them, I loved them. Maybe the same thing will happen w/Snowflake Method? And love the sound of your new wip, b/c Howl's Moving Castle? *flails*

Hart Johnson said...

You're much more orderly than I am with that book planning. I do that fermentation thing though, too... (you say marinating, I say fermenting--you like steaks, I'll have wine... erm)

Your WIP sounds very interesting. I wish I could do the monsters... I think I lack the imagination.

Matthew MacNish said...

I just can't get over the fact that you get to work directly with Anne Ursu.

mshatch said...

Wow, that's an interesting process! I hadn't heard of the snowflake method but maybe I should check it out because my first drafts are MESSY!

Rena said...

Oh man, I think I'm officially jealous of your process. Like for real, that's how you write a novel? It sounds so efficient and organized (read nothing like my herding cats with a helicopter method!).

I'm gonna have to check out this snowflake method. I'm a big fan of Save the Cat (I don't mess with structure until I've written the thing... usually), but I'm officially intrigued by Snowflake now. Also, I love your answer to why you write what you write. I felt a little baffled by that one too. Like was there an option B when I was signing up and I missed "Write deep meaningful novels where people find the greatness and joy of life?" (although, that sort of sound boring, so maybe deep meaningful novels where monsters come and eat all your problems and the magic spell to stop them all was living in your heart the whole time...) Maybe our genre preferences are hard wired...

Kathleen said...

YOur method of writing is nothing like mine. Interesting we are all so different. My method is: idea or main character, write opening senence and then the draft. I also edit as I go so my first draft isn't as messy but I don't outline or write down scenes or disasters. I'm trying my hand at a YA contemporary right now and I much prefer writing fantasy so I'm keeping my hand in by writing a fantasy at the same time. Good luck with your WIP! If you want to see mine it's here:

jenny said...

Oooh, your process sounds really organized and wonderful. Might have to give that a try since my process is pretty slapdash these days.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for sharing your writing process - this was fun to read! I think your book sounds like an interesting mash-up, and I agree with you on the contemporary YA front. I've written a few short stories like that . . . and I struggled not having something wild jump out of a corner.

And, thanks for the blitz today!

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