My Writing Process – Bloghop

My dear friend Sara Butler, who writes a speculative fiction series about monster-hunting and other awesomeness, invited me to participate in this bloghop:

We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook . . .

So, onward.

What am I working on?

I’m just starting the first draft of a YA contemporary book called The Dark Backward, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Prospero, a brilliant teen trained by his con-artist grandfather, is the master of a small public high school in Pennsylvania – all he wants is revenge on a trio of boys who bullied him as a freshman. We’ll see what it turns out to be, but right now it’s a story about forgiveness, deception, acceptance – and the way bullying, abuse, and social networks affect teens lives.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My retellings are historical and realistic, but they hover near the edge of being too unbelievable; they’re cinematic. I’m not so much interested in hardcore realism as I am telling a good story. I’m not writing to the characters in my book, I’m writing to the people who read it, and my philosophy tends to be that it’s much more important to be a good storyteller than to stick too closely to what’s real. I mean, if a reader were solely interested in reality they wouldn’t be reading a novel.

Why do I write what I do?

Ha ha, I don’t know to answer this question. Because I want to? Not to sound too mystical about it, but these stories chose me. All of my books are different (in approach, in genre, in purpose), and the reason I write them is because that’s the story that comes into my head. Sometimes I get an idea for a book in a genre I don’t even particularly read that much. If I like the idea, I will write it, because I want to and because I need to.

How does my writing process work?

I research quite a bit. I usually have a few pages of notes and snippets. Then I write a loose outline – longhand, on a legal pad – and go for it. I write “higgledly-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way” as Kurt Vonnegut says, and I write fast. I can finish a first draft in a month or two usually, and then comes the second draft, which is almost always completely different. I basically consider my first drafts a level of prewriting, though I’m trying to change that – work smarter, not harder, as they say. Then REVISION. My books are made in the process of revision.

All right. Enough about me. It is my honor to tag these three lovely ladies in this bloghop:

I met Mackenzi Lee because we both interned at the Friend, and she was (luckily) open to my insistent idea that we were destined to be friends. Her debut novel THE SHADOW BOYS ARE BREAKING, a (totally awesome) reimagining of Frankenstein in steampunk Geneva, comes out Fall 2015 with Katherine Tegen Books, and imprint of HarperCollins.

Rebecca Lamoreaux is an old Pandamoon friend who writes lovely historical romance, the latest of which is called LORD HYACINTHE. She also runs an amazing business that hosts online book launch parties called Loving the Book Launch.

And finally, my dear friend Rae Chang – who most of you probably know as the indomitable assistant and Pitch Wars mentor on Brenda Drake’s blog – but she is also a fantastic writer herself (her latest is an edgy take on Sleeping Beauty called CIPHERS), as well as a skilled freelance editor.

Check them all out – they’re awesome.

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