Special thanks to C.M Riordan for inviting me to participate. She and I met first on Twitter, then face-to-real-actual-face at the San Francisco Writers conference in February of this year. She is great people — smart, funny, talented — and I hope you’ll click on over to her site and get to know her better, maybe check out how her writing process works.
What am I working on?
My book, THE RAMPART GUARDS, is the first in series. It’s an upper middle grade fantasy with some dark elements (not an all-happy-go-lucky type of MG story), mystery and adventure. Oh – and a few cryptids.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As I mentioned above, my book is a little bit edgy for the middle grade set. There’s death and betrayal that pushes the limits a bit at this age, hence the fact that it’s “upper middle grade.” And did I mention it has cryptids?
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always loved fantasy and magic and science fiction. Favorite reads from childhood include A WRINKLE IN TIME, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. So it makes sense that I’d gravitate to writing something with similar elements. And the middle grade and young adult voice is what I hear in my head. I’m drawn to writing stories for those age groups. I can’t explain exactly why that is. It just is. Kind of zen, huh?
How does my writing process work?
There’s no science or process around how I get my ideas – they show up and I feel a bit jittery and excited and the creative part of the brain gets busy, busy, busy. The idea for the current book came when I was watching an episode of the television show Bones. A murder appeared to have been committed by a chupacabra. I’d never heard of such a thing so I Googled it, learned about cryptids, and a “what if” story started brewing.
My next step is to meet my characters and discover their motivations, their positive and negative traits, their goals. I also formulate the story with a rough outline, ensuring I have key elements like the inciting incident, the call to action, first and second plot points, pinch points, dark moment, etc. I’m something of a hybrid between a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants – no outline) and an outliner. My outlines aren’t detailed, but they give me a guideline as to where we’re going next in the story. What happens in between those points is an adventure – I don’t know it until I write it. I must offer a shout out to Lisa Miller here — she taught me this method in her Story Structure Safari class and it’s fantastic. So is she. (If you’re interested, the class will be offered again in September 2014 via the Lawson Writing Academy at margielawson.com.)
I do all of my work in Scrivener and I L-O-V-E that program. My manuscript is there. My character sketches are there. My research is there. It saves my work every two seconds. It lets me set targets. It tracks my project statistics. It’s the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, the writer’s best friend (at least as far as technology for writers goes).
That’s the scoop on me and my writing. Next up on the Writing Process Blog Tour are four talented writers who will share their writing process on April 28th. They’re also rather delightful people.