Blog Hop: The Writing Process

I’ve been blog-tagged by a lovely, interesting new friend, fellow writer and reviewer, Andrew Baker. Andrew is the author of “Heaveny Convalesce to Light State”, and gives indie authors a platform via his book reviews for Fanboys Anonymous (@FanboyAnonymous). His blog-hop appears here:

Blog-Hope Rules

Answer the four questions below. Link back to the person who invited you to join in, and tag five writers who must answer the same questions in their blog next week, linking backwards to you and forwards to five more writers.

Easy, right? I remember when this game was played with a cup-full of banana cake mix. Or a letter: pass this letter on to five friends and your true love will love you back. Or something like that.

But I digress. Here are my answers to the blog-hop questions.

What am I working on?

I’ve just finished writing my next novel, “Tales of the Revolution”, and passed it to my editor at Firedance Books. Firedance Books is a cooperative of writers who are also editors, artists, designers and marketing execs. We work for free and publish original books that we love.

With “Tales of the Revolution” I’ve tried to marry literary values and a social/political agenda with my love of Korean drama and Japanese anime. I’ve always been interested in myth-making and the way we use stories to navigate a path through our lives.  Here’s the blurb:

In response to the Western Wars, the City Fathers have devised a plan to conserve resources. ‘Double Up and Manage’ is simple but effective. The population is split into Diurnals and Nocturnals. Every life in the Cities is a twenty-four hour life shared by two people. Days are no longer counted into weeks and months; there is only Time. No one knows how long the system has existed. Or when it will end.

I’m also working on a second edition of my novel “The Walker’s Daughter”, which was first published in 2012. It’s about spirit-walking, a concept I plan to revisit in future stories; I’m fascinated by it as an imaginative idea. Andrew Baker’s review at Fanboys Anonymous is here:

How does my work differ from other works in the same genre?

It’s story and, above all, characters that I’m interested in, whether they’re stumbling through a dystopian future or doing the dishes in rural Cumbria. Or sending their souls flying through the stratosphere.

Everything I write holds love and connection at its heart. When all else fails, it’s the connections you make that matter; that’s what we live for, whether we live in space or on the ocean floor. It’s all about the love, baby.

Why do I write what I write?

I’m always consumed by one idea or another. Ask my husband. Or my kids. A sticky point in my faith, the smell of a colour, unexpected kindness, what causes dis-connection, a great turn of phrase. Metaphorically speaking, I like to take things apart and find out how they work. What’s the story? What does it tell me about life, my life, life in general?  My writing is a synthesis of the things I find fascinating—which is most things. It’s also a bit of wish fulfilment, a way of living a dozen different lives in a dozen different worlds.

How does my writing process work?

My stories don’t always say what I plan. My characters don’t always do what I want. But I guess that’s my subconscious doing its thing. I’m 70% total control, 30% go-with-the-flow. I trust my instincts, but mostly I believe in planning, practice and hard work. You don’t wait for inspiration; you set deadlines and then you meet them.

I usually begin with an idea, an obsession, usually a theme or a situation. Then I work out the plot around that. I used to make things up as I went along but, increasingly, I’m a planner. I plot every scene and character entry and exit. When I’m happy with the framework, I begin writing. You’d think this would dampen the creative flow but, in fact, I’ve found it to be a completely liberating way to work.

When I’m writing, I need to be free to ‘vanish’ from the real world and imagine myself elsewhere. So generally I write late at night, when my family is asleep, or during the day when everyone’s at work or school. Each scene unfolds in my head. Apparently, I pull a lot of faces; my kids love to catch me unawares. Very occasionally I’ll run to a mirror and check what a face looks like when it’s alarmed, delighted, etc—how do the eyes move, what happens to the creases of the face. I reckon if I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye, I can write it.

You have to take writing seriously if you plan to have any readers, but you also have to not take yourself seriously. It’s storytelling, not medicine. But, at its best, a story is a tiny road-map that someone else might follow. Or a new relationship with a stranger. And that’s a pretty serious business.

Tagging forward!

Would the following writers please report for duty at your blogs on 28 April because you’ve been tagged!

@GaryBonn: Gary is the author of Expect Civilian Casualties, and The Evil Fear, both fresh and original YA novels. He’s also a hugely kind and supportive friend.

@TheBoopadoo: Boops is an inspired book designer, a thoughtful, accomplished writer, and a quietly powerful presence in my writing-life.

@TerriNixon: Terri is the author of historical, mythical and dramatic fiction—including Dust of Ancients which I’m greatly enjoying. She’s a new friend and proof of the power of Twitter.

@rj_mirabal: RJ Mirabal is the author of The Tower of Il Serrohe. Currently a Twitter acquaintance;  hopefully to be a Twitter friend.

@GraemeBrownWpg: Graeme Brown calls himself ‘artist, musician, math and computer programming geek’—what’s not to like? A review of his book “The Pact” appears here:

3 thoughts on “Blog Hop: The Writing Process

  1. Now I’m all envious. It’s such a smooth, professional, and generous blog post.
    I’m waiting impatiently for the second edition of The Walker’s Daughter, to see what changes you’ve made and to own that beautiful cover.

  2. Pingback: Blog Hop: The Writing Process | Terri Nixon

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