I’ve been invited to participate in the fabulous #MyWriting Process blog tour! Today is going to be all about process, process, process.
I was tagged to be a part of this tour by the awesome Ellar Cooper, who shared her writing process last week. Ellar is a heart-stopping writing talent. Seriously, I can’t wait for her books to be on the market! She writes young adult fiction and fantasy, and is a Dystropian from Vermont College. Be sure to read her post and peek into her brilliant mind.
And onto the tour…
What are you working on?
I’m working on a YA steampunk re-imagining of Peter Pan. There’s no magic and Peter and Hook are the heads of rival gangs that sell a hallucinogenic drug known as Fairy Dust. Wini Darling, the daughter of a bank mogul, is lured into the whimsical and artistic world of the Nevers, a secret underground artist community, in order to help her drug-addicted brother who’s been captured by Pirates. Only it’s not so easy to find her brother and leave the Nevers as she thinks.
Wini finds herself intoxicated by the no-rules artist culture of the Nevers and simultaneously mixed up in a street war between the Pirates and the Lost Boys. Then there’s that thrill-seeking, drunk-on-life Peter fellow who’s got one hell of a sweet spot for Wini Darling. Sometimes, not growing up can be a dangerous adventure.
How is your work different than others in your genre?
The tricky part about this question is I’m not sure how you might classify this book’s “genre.” It happens to be its own crazy cocktail made up of:
- 1 part bastardization of Victorian steampunk
- 2 parts fantasy world building
- A ton of multi-cultural characters to keep track of (Game of Thrones style)
- A pinch of Doctor Who influence
- A smidgen of Robin Hood
- A timeless gargantuan dose of never-gonna-grow-up Peter Pan
- Two cups of hot-pink graffitti
- A dash of Ingrid’s deliciously sensual writing
- And some esoteric psychobabble on the importance of art…
- Sprinkle in a little fairy dust, grab the spoon second to your left and stir straight on till morning.
So… yeah, please tell me what genre that is.
Why do you write what you do?
I only write stories that have been simmering in the back of my mind for a long time. This one’s been cooking for at least 5 years (maybe longer if I’m honest). I write the stories that I can’t seem to forget. I write the ones that have some emotional nugget in them that keeps twirling itself over and over in my brain and whispering: explore me, write me, there’s a truth in here and it’s waiting for you to find it.
I suppose those are the stories worth telling: the ones that haunt you, the ones that demand your heart.
My writing process is a daily, hourly, weekly, yearly exploration of the demands and needs of each individual project. And the needs of each novel (like all the relationships in one’s life) are different.
This book demands immersion. She demands focus for hours at a time. And I’m not talking half-assed freewriting or NaNoWriMo first draft word-puke. This novel wants my blood (kind of like Captain Hook). This novel is a jealous and fickle girl too. She hates it when I look at other projects or I divide my attention with puny necessities like food or sleep. This book wants all of me.
I do the best I can to keep myself immersed in this novel as much as I can (because she likes to hole up and shut me out for weeks if I’m not diligent). I keep an extensive Pinterest page for this novel to make sure my imagination is constantly exploring this world visually. I steal words from other books that sound like they might fit the voice of my novel. I try morning writing where I focus on a detail: the view outside Peter’s window, the color of a mermaid’s hair. Sometimes that detail grows into a scene. Sometimes it’s just drivel. The goal is to keep my mind exploring the story every day.
I do the hefty writing on the weekends. I set aside large chunks of hours and get lost. Immersion. I go to Neverland in my mind and I’m there all day. This book is not a vomit-first draft. It can’t be. I have to spend too much time figuring out who these characters are and their motivations. I can’t skim the surface with them. Instead I dig in and write a scene, then re-write the scene, re-position the scene, re-word the scene, re-everything until I find an emotional heartbeat in it. This isn’t a fast process. But it’s a heartfelt one.
The process for writing every novel is different. For this one … slow and steady wins the race.
May the Tour Continue!
If you enjoyed this little glimpse into the writer’s life, please follow the tour as I pass the torch to Amy Sundberg (my sister in last name, but not by blood) who will share her dazzling process next week!
Amy Sundberg is a SF/F and YA writer. Her short fiction has appeared in Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Buzzy Magazine, among others. She lives in California, and when not writing, she’s either buried in a good book, singing musical theater songs, or trying to add more pins to locations visited on her world map. She is an avid blogger at practicalfreespirit.com and can be found on Twitter as @amysundberg.
Please also check out the process of my fellow Dystropians who are also posting today as part of this blog tour!
Happy writing everyone!