Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Has it really been 6 months! It's time to revive my poor, neglected blog and share a little of my writing process. I was tagged in the Writing Process Blog Tour by one of my Blue Board buddies, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (  Jennifer loves a good mystery and her middle grade mystery The Mystery of the Séance Swap is coming out in 2016 followed by the second book in her Book Scavenger series. 

So, here we go...

What are you currently working on?

My current project is a contemporary coming-of-age/ghost story. It won the 2013 SCBWI  Work-in-Progress grant, so I’m eager to finish it and get it out there. I am about halfway finished and hope to pick up some momentum through the summer months before school picks up again.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have written mostly historical ghost fiction, so this a jump into the modern pond and I’ve given it a twist. It is not a romantic ghost story or a grim tale of horror. It introduces us to a girl who is thrice gifted, though she considers most of her talents a curse. She is extremely bright, which puts her ahead in school, but she has a cognitive processing issue that knocks her back socially. Add clairvoyance to her list of talents and you have this protagonist waging more than the usual war on adolescence.

Why do I write what I write?

I have always been fascinated by ghost stories. Maybe it’s the idea that we are never really finished. There is always more to learn, more to do, more love. My previous novels have involved a lot of research into history, which I adore because it is so interesting to look back into another time and see people, even fictional people, as deeply human. To ask the same questions modern teens face and imagine what sort of answers would crop up in a different context. Since I have shifted into a modern setting for this book, I have looked to people and situations I know for inspiration, and I found the mother lode. I hope it will help YA readers see their situation from a new perspective. 

How does my Individual writing process work?

The original story concept often comes from a “what if?” in response to something I read or something I see, or even something deeply personal that I would like to reshape. I have both outlined and totally pants-ed it, but the primary element that stays the same is journaling. I guess it’s a sort of pre-writing, but I journal through every book I write. That is where I ask questions and ruminate on the possible answers, critique my concept and consider what works and doesn’t work, and think about what in my own life is influencing my writing, whether it is good or bad. My biggest stumbling block is my inescapable urge to perfect everything as I go. That is why it takes me so long to get through the first draft. I’m starting to let go a little more and give myself permission to suck so I can get that first draft knocked out. Old habits die hard, though. 

Now it's time to tag a few friends.  

Pat Esden is a writer I've known online and finally met in person last fall in the gorgeous mountains of Montreat, NC. She has a knack for some fabulously twisted and gothic tales for YA readers. She writes fantasy, suspense, and historical fiction for teens.  Follow her on twitter—@patesden! 

Lora Rivera is another writer I've known online and hope to meet someday. She writes literary fiction and middle grade novels. Like me, she loves the ghosties, but she also delves into urban fantasy.  Follow her on twitter — @lroseriver!