My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors. I’ve been invited to participate by the multitalented Sarah Remy. Please take a moment to pay her blog a visit: sarahremy.wordpress.com
Without further ado, I present My Writing Process in four answers:
What am I working on?
At the moment, I’m juggling a couple of projects, as is my wont. I’m currently revising a recently drafted short story following some useful critique feedback. I’m at the stage where I’ve identified what needs to be tweaked and have just begun the actual tweaking. It’s a fantasy/magical realism piece, and I’m hoping it’ll be ready for submission soon.
I’m also working on my ongoing as-yet-untitled novel. It’s a sci-fi government conspiracy thriller of sorts, and is proving more complex than I’d anticipated, although that’s nothing new… I’ve had something of a hiatus from it over recent months, but it’s gradually coming together again and I’m hoping to make some serious progress, assuming I’m not hit with another onslaught of short story inspiration. (Love those little guys, but they can be mighty demanding.)
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I like to mix up genres. I dislike boxes and labels, and I often find my stories are hard to classify. Sci-fi ghost story? Why the hell not? Lighthearted adventure caper centred around a fictional genetic defect? Works for me. Classic fairy tale retold as science fiction? Done. And of course, there’s the aforementioned sci-fi-government-conspiracy-coming-of-age story. Fun to juggle.
I also find myself placing genuine character struggles in speculative settings. I’ll often have the spark of a fantasy or science fictional idea, and will work it around a character who’s faced with an entirely non-fantastical conflict. Sometimes these are based on personal experiences, sometimes they’re not, but they’re all issues faced by people in the real world. Character is all-important to me, and this is one way I try to make my characters as sympathetic as possible despite the bizarre or futuristic worlds they inhabit. This element probably doesn’t crop up in every story I write, but certainly the majority.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I’ve always been inspired by massive ideas that aren’t constrained to the world as we currently know it. Fiction is just as fictional when set in the ‘real’ world, so I figure if I’m writing fiction, why not pull out all the stops? Why create only fictional characters when I can create fictional backdrops too? Where speculative fiction is concerned, the possibilities are unlimited. And I hate limits.
I’m also an unashamed geek. Why wouldn’t I write sci-fi?
How does my writing process work?
My actual writing process varies somewhat, depending on what I’m working on and what else is demanding my attention. I work best with a deadline, which can be tricky when there’s no clock ticking down to an actual moment by which I have to have something completed. So I usually set myself weekly deadlines. I’m good at sticking to them once they’re set. I’ll decide to get a story draft finished by a certain day, or get so many chapters or words written, or get a piece polished up and sent out on its first submission round by the end of the week. That works well for me as long as I actually remember to set myself a target.
The vast majority of my writing is done on screen, but every so often I’ll sit down with paper and my shiny fountain pen and scrawl for an afternoon. This happens most often during lovely weather, when I can write outside. There’s something nice about getting back to the basics, and I don’t mind typing everything up the following day, editing as I go. Plus, having ink stains on my fingers feels like proper evidence that I’m a writer. Woo-hoo.
There ya go. Some insights into my personal take on the craft. I’m delighted to pass the blog tour onto two marvellous fellow spec fic writers, who will bring you brand new insights next Monday.
James Beamon, who is a self-professed master of carefully concocted lies of alliterative appeal. Anyone other than James professing this would probably not use the term “master” and would definitely shorten the rest of that down to “storyteller.” His fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, AE The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Penumbra, and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthologies among others. James lives in Virginia but has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan as a defense contractor, not as a storyteller. He blogs at: fictigristle.wordpress.com
Julia Nolan, who, along with writing, spends her time making intricate costumes and spends far too much time playing video games. Check out her blog here: mutive.livejournal.com
Be sure to stop by them both next week!