So here's some insight into my writing process.
1. What am I working on?
I'm editing a futuristic novel in preparation for submission. Sadly, I've had this book around for a while and I've never subbed it. This is my perfectionism procrastination coming to the fore - I need to get it "perfect". Recently, I was in the company of some really cluey published authors and I realised that your works can't be perfect - and they'll never sell unless they are subbed. So rather than writing a book of my dreams, I've reframed. I'm writing a product, with lots of personalised elements that come from my dreams. It's helping me get rid of my perfectionism.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write futuristic, and that allows you to explore endless possibilities. One small change now and in two hundred years, the entire civilisation is different, all as a result of that one change. For example; a new colony where fruit is prohibited. What is a normal part of our existence right now becomes a much sought after commodity two hundred years in the future. It's rare. It's expensive (more expensive than now...) What if your heroine had the ancient art of grafting fruit trees? What if mortal enemies in a battle for control of this valuable resource are after her? Imagine the joy on a child's face the first time they taste pineapple, or orange, or apple. Hmmmh, I think I need to get writing.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I've always loved the concept of space and exploration and the endless possibilities that go along with it, and that's why I write futuristic. Going into the future you aren't bound by historical facts, if you can explain why it is like it is, then you've done your job as a writer. Writing this way frees me to create and I find the writing flows more freely when I am on a different planet. Having said all that, one of my mentors suggested reading historical to improve my writing. Why? Because it brings to life social norms and clothing in a way that is beneficial to a futuristic writer. The conflict should still make sense if you take your characters out of your space suits and craft and plop them into a drawing room having tea while wearing petticoats and corsets, provided you've explained the social norms adequately.
4. How does your writing process work?
Here are some of the keys to my writing process:
1. Pre-writing - this is my imagining phase and I do it while running, walking the dog, working round the farm - it gives me a feel for the characters and the time. It results in lots of chicken scratchings that end up in a folder. I'll also raid my photos folder (stuff cut from magazines) to get a visual on my characters.
2. Writing - I find organised activities like NaNoWriMo and RWA's 50K in 30days are great to get the rough draft of the story down. Having a word tally helps me get rid of my perfectionism. Typing blind i.e. covering the screen or my eyes helps as well - I can't edit as I go. A big thank you to year nine typing lessons, where typing blind was taught using a bib type arrangement so you couldn't see the keys. I also find an album that says something about the type of story I'm writing and play it while I'm driving, vacuuming etc to try and get my creative juices flowing.
3. Editing - This is where I fall down. I don't feel I have a good grasp on effective editing. Again, a deadline is the way to go. I do an initial cull, then print and rework numerous times before I'm happy. I always run through Angela James' "Before You Hit Send" checklist as the last step before submission.
4. Waiting... Again, I'm not good at this. What I should do is start at step one all over again (and I have a number of folders with stories in waiting to be written). Instead I obsess about whether anyone will like my baby. I'm hoping to delete this step from my process at some stage.
Anyway, enough about me. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my writing process. I'd like to introduce you to two of my good friends, and let them tell you about their writing process, as the writing process blog tour progresses.
1. Anita Joy
2. Cate Ellink