If you ask five writers about their writing process, you’ll get five different answers. That’s part of what makes reading writer blogs so interesting and inspiring. So, when I got tagged for a writing process blog hop, I was thrilled! Susan Rocan of mywithershins invited me to jump into the fray and I’m more than happy to do so. She is the author of two YA novels and an amazing crafter! I love her blog and highly recommend it for readers, writers, and crafters.
I’ll be answering four questions about my process and current projects. Then, I’ll be tagging three other bloggers to take part in the blog hop.
1) What am I working on?
Currently, I’m working on a number of things. Recently, I’ve started taking my poetry much more seriously. Over the last few months, I’ve tinkered with different forms and experimented with new concepts. As a result I’ve written more poetry over the last couple of months than I did all of last year.
I’m also starting to answer the call of my muse regarding the sequel to The Muse. After a long break of relative silence from my characters, they are starting to pop back into my head. My novel notebook goes everywhere with me and I’m busy scribbling notes, ideas, and concepts. It’s really very exciting to be immersed completely in the creative process.
Speaking of The Muse, I recently hired an editor to comb through my manuscript and help me make it as perfect as possible. I’m super excited to embark on yet another another phase of revision. With the help of my editor, I’m hoping to end up with an even better version of my passion project!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The Muse stands apart from other YA fiction for two reasons:
1. It puts a twist on mythology and art.
I include references to actual Greek myths and works of art with a high degree of accuracy, but I’m also not afraid to alter the truth. Reality and imagination are mixed together to create fictionalized layers to famous works of art and literature.
When it comes to the mythological elements of The Muse, I combed through ancient texts until I hit something rather interesting regarding muses and their origins. Instead of playing with the obvious gods and a goddesses, I took a relatively small aspect of Greek mythology and essentially rewrote the canon. The general structure of the myth surrounding muses remains, but I expand on lesser known elements by creating a backstory with new characters and new “rules.” In my world, there’s a such thing as male muses!
2. The villains are not evil.
After reading a number of YA paranormal/fantasy novels, the one thing many shared in common was an outright evil antagonist. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it got me wondering, what if the villain wasn’t evil? Thus, my imagination went wild in creating antagonists that are mesmerizing with beauty inside and out, yet still pose a grave threat to my protagonists.
3) Why do I write what I do?
The funny thing is I didn’t “get” YA fiction until I was well into my twenties. My students actually persuaded me to read a book they liked and it turned out to be fantastic! As I continued to delve into YA books, I realized the insight they offered helped me understand students on much deeper level.
That being said, I discovered a genre that tells some pretty great stories. YA authors deserve far more credit than they receive for being incredible storytellers and world builders. This is especially true when it comes to YA fantasy and paranormal genres.
I discovered a deep passion for urban fantasy and magical realism. Once I started experimenting with the style, I loved the freedom of having absolutely no limits on where a story could go. The concept of taking elements of the real world and giving them a sprinkle of fairy dust is just irresistible. So is having a platform to explore real emotions and issues experienced by young adults.
So often, young adults are portrayed as being oblivious to life and the world around them, but my experiences with them have given me a different perspective. They are smart, observant, and often wiser than people give them credit. At the same time, they can be insecure and impressionable as they are people still trying to find themselves.
In many ways, I want my fiction to change the way people perceive young adults, while also capturing the internal experience of growing up.
4) How does my writing process work?
My process varies depending on the project. When it comes to poetry, I am very inspired by images. Photographs in particular seem to get my muse rolling. Because of that, I consciously take a lot of photographs of different objects, textures, and locations. Whether I’m at home or abroad, I know my camera is going to unlock poetic verse, so I better pay attention to what’s around me!
For novel writing, I keep a novel notebook. I’m a big believer in brainstorming, so I scribble every single idea that comes to mind. Sometimes it’s a bulleted list of plot points and at others it’s an erratic semantic web of random thoughts. I’ll sketch out locations and make scrapbook pages of character wardrobes. Some pages are reserved for playlist songs or research notes.
In the midst of all the chaos, pages are numbered and details are color coded and/or symbol coded to help me keep spread out ideas connected. I swear none of it makes sense to anyone, but me!
Above all else, I make time to write every single day. Even if its just gibberish, I still write. Sometimes that gibberish leads to an unexpected and wonderful journey!
Psssst … gibberish lead to The Muse!
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Tag, you’re it:
The Everyday Epic – A fantasy writer who documents her journey into fiction both as a writer and reader. Visit her blog for all things Tolkien and inspiration.
Rita Ackerman – a writer that delves into non-fiction, fiction, and the writing process. Her blog offers very informative and inspiring posts on the writing process.
The third blogger I contacted has yet to answer me, but if she does, I’ll add her to the list!
Visit these blogs to see how they respond to the above writing process questions as well who they tag to keep the blog hop going!
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22 thoughts on “Writing Process Blog Hop”
I’m curious to know how you incorporate Greek mythology into your stories. I’m a fellow YA writer and brainstormer and playlist-maker and I love hearing about what other YA writers are doing and how they do it 😀
Hopefully, you’ll be able to read my novel one day and see how I infused real mythology with a little imagination! It was so much fun to take something that is well known and make it something new to discover. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve recently started reading YA and love it. I’d love to write some one day as well 🙂
I’ll always be grateful to the students who pushed me to give YA a try. What a wonderful genre that keeps us all young at heart! 🙂
Thank you C.B. Even though I’ve listened to your comments on what you are doing it is interesting to read. Writers are such wonderful people. I love YA. I’ve read some amazing books too.
I know – you’ve heard babble on and on about this! Glad you still find it interesting! 🙂
Thanks again for inviting me to be a part of this! Hoping to hear back from my three soon. 🙂
I love why you write YA. I’m with you: working with kids and spending the time to really build relationships reveals that there’s so much more to them than most people will give them credit for. And I love that your villains aren’t evil, per se. I can’t wait to meet them someday!
I’m hoping the villain twist works for readers. It’s tricky to make antagonists likable, while trying to make them the “enemy.” Hopefully, I got it right!
Well, George R R Martin has been working with the premise that heroes aren’t good, so why not!
That’s a good point! 🙂
Thanks for participating in this blog hop! It is fascinating how writers’ processes can be so different. You seem to be a much more organized writer than me! 🙂
Thanks for inviting me! I had fun. 🙂
Organization is my middle name (it must be the high school teacher thing!). 🙂
I love the idea of villains who aren’t outright evil. It’s a great idea and I love that it goes against all the cliches. Great post! It’s always interesting to hear about how other writers approach their craft.
I love YA books that defy convention, so it’s only natural I’d look for a way to break “the rules.” 🙂
You’re very correct about young people, they do see a lot of things that adults often stubbornly refuse to see! I know I had a lot of mature thinking going on when I was a teen, and I’m grateful for my parents for at least acknowledging that. But I did have some naive thinking too, but so do a lot of adults – don’t they?!!
Having scrap books and computer files full of ideas is definitely something I do, I’d forget half of it if I didn’t! An aunt of mine gave me some of those flip photo albums for Christmas, and I thought what on earth am I going to do with those, I rarely see photographs printed now, so don’t really need albums to keep them in. She suggested I use them for keeping recipes and other notes, so I filled one of them with cards with all those ideas for writing that I had on bits of scrap paper in a folder. I can just flip through them and get inspired now. It’s sometimes a good idea not to have everything on the computer, those files can get as good as lost sometimes!
Good idea to hire an editor, I hope they’re an efficient one, and you get what you need. It’s always wise to have another mind analyse your writing. My brother does most of mine at the moment, because he’s got an excellent editors head and previous writing experience with a magazine many years ago, but I think if I was about to publish, I’d get a second opinion just to be sure. But it does worry me a bit, trying to find the right one. Where do you get a reliable recommendation?
I love your idea regarding the photo albums – what a great way to stay inspired!
The idea of hiring an editor is one I’ve kicked around every now and again, but it never seemed feasible. Plus, it’s one of those things you have to be ready to do. A few years ago, I didn’t have thick enough skin to handle criticism without sinking into my shell. However, now I’ve grown into to some pretty thick skin thanks to countless critiques and beta readers. I can take anything she throws at me and I’m willing to learn from her insights. 🙂
I wish I knew the secret to finding reliable advice on editors. I got lucky with how I found mine.
❤ Love this, CB! Your writing process inspires me – I think I'll have to get out a little notebook and keep track of story ideas. Currently I take notes in my journal, on napkins, and on scraps of paper… and then lose half of them. Time to get organized! 🙂
Any process is a good process! Maybe keep a ziploc bag handy for all those little scraps! 🙂
Hah, good idea! And then staple it to myself… 😀
I love getting to read your back story!
This was a fun post to write. In a way, it helped me “re-organize” and figure out my next steps. 🙂