Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Hello! Today we're talking about about my writing process. Who's we, you ask? A bunch of authors doing a blog hop.

I was invited by Celesta Thiessen, so when you're done reading this post, go check her site out, as well as more friends of mine (that you'll find linked below...)

So, I'm supposed to answer four questions about my writing process:

1) What am I working on?

I'm working on a few things. I'm finishing edits for A New Threat (coming this summer from AltWit Press), working on the second draft of the sequel to that book, and doing the second draft of a completely unrelated book, Wings of Truth.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Since I have a few projects, I'll answer for both of them.

A New Threat is pretty much standard space opera, as far as plot goes. There's telepaths, spaceships, sentient cat aliens... What I think sets it apart are characters. You can only do so much with a plot and still have it flow and make sense, but there's almost infinite variations with characters. And when you apply those different personalities to a "standard" plot, you get something unique.

Here's the blurb for A New Threat: "When an alien ship lands unexpectedly in the middle of her clan's territory, Bast is sent to investigate as part of her scout trial. After an accident, she meets these new visitors. She and her senior scout Rrrark are invited to return with the aliens to their home planet to open diplomatic relations. What started out as a simple mission becomes complicated when they discover a pirate scheme that might be more than it seems. Are Bast, Rrrark, and two of the aliens called Psygens capable of stopping the pirates?"

Wings of Truth is a little different. I like to describe it as "Romeo and Juliet in space... with a happy ending, and some techno-mage sword fighting thrown in."

Okay, so I need to work on the blurb for that one... but I'm really excited about it.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Why does any of us do what we do?



I've always loved sci-fi. It all started almost before I can remember, when we came home from church on Sunday afternoons and Dad would turn on Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Battlestar Galactica (In that order, I think... and I believe Buck Rogers was in there too...) Some people get excited about some Super Bowel Sunday thing (did I get that right?) We got excited for sci-fi. Our family had a special night were we had snacks and got to stay up late to watch the premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation when it first aired.

I've always loved to read too. Science fiction (among almost every other genre) was always on my list. Tom Swift, Jules Verne, Anne McAffery, and tons of others.

So, why is sci-fi my favorite? If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a geek (or nerd, or whatever of the two terms is currently the most popular...) and I love the tech. What cool stuff can we make based on the latest discoveries? How can it benefit mankind? What if it goes wrong. And the adventure. Jules Vern stated that he didn't write sci-fi, he wrote adventure stories. All good sci-fi has adventure elements to it. What's out there? What would it be like to go see it in person?

4) How does your writing process work?

Well, I start with a thousand typewriters, then I get some pet monkeys....

... Okay, not really, but it feels that way some days.

All my best ideas come from dreams, or thinking and uh, heavily modifying a dream idea. My subconscious is MUCH better about this than I am...

Next, I pretty much just start writing. I usually have an idea of a few major milestones I want to hit in the book, and how it ends, but not necessarily how to get there. My brother and I used our imaginations a LOT growing up, which has helped for this part. Instead of forcing the plot how I want it to go, I get into the mind of the characters and think about what that kind of person would do in this situation, and how the other characters would react to him or her doing that, and it all kinda snowballs from there.
A lot of times I find that I've hit every character moment that I wanted to hit in a book, but the plot is a little lacking. In that case, it takes a lot of heavy mental lifting to figure out what needs to be added, cut, or re-arranged.

An example: Near the end of A New Threat, the good guys captured the bad guy. The characer arcs were all wrapped up. Then, one of my wonderful beta readers (who gets a character named after her in book 2 for this...) pointed out that not only had the bad guy been captured off-screen, it was mentioned almost in passing, and one of the minor characters caught him.


When I read that feedback, I face-palmed and re-wrote the whole scene. It's MUCH better now!

Who is on next week? These fine people!

1. Cindy Koepp, author of the awesome Remnant in the Stars (seriously, if you love sci-fi, go read this book!)

With the supportive sound effects and antics of her African Grey, Cindy Koepp writes science fiction and fantasy from a Christian worldview.