I got tagged by the awesome Megan Frazer Blakemore and Maria Padian -fellow Maine authors -as part of a blog tour on your writing process. You can click their names to see their responses to the following four questions about writing process.
Here are my answers!
1) What am I working on?
I have just finished a first draft of YA novel about two boys in their senior year of high school, their friendship and the role it plays in their lives when dark secrets from the past come to the surface. It’s really a book about loyalty and self-worth and how those things affect the relationships that are most important to us.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I think that the YA I write is primarily for high-schoolers but that doesn’t necessarily differentiate it from other contemporary realistic YA. I think what sets my writing apart is the degree of frankness and emotional honesty with which I write my characters. I hope it does, anyway. Also, I like to write about bodily effluence perhaps a shade more than the average author.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Ah, this old question. I write because I like to tell myself stories. I write because I would be doing it anyway in my mind and writing it down makes me feel productive and purposeful. Also, I really enjoy making other people laugh and feel things. I write these specific stories because these are the stories I enjoy telling myself. Sometimes I come up with a really cool story idea but then it quickly becomes apparent it’s not a story I can tell -I want someone to tell it to me. That’s when I go to the bookstore and see if anyone has.
4) How does your writing process work?
My mother asked me a similar question at my book release party and I said something about prescription drugs. My writing philosophy and process is all about the phrase “small chunks” -which is somewhat unfortunate because it contains the word “chunks” in it, but it’s the most accurate verbiage I can come up with. (Small bits sounds like a genital reference.)
In all seriousness, my goal when I sit down to write is always to write 2 pages, 2 pages of dialogue, exposition, word count doesn’t matter to me but that 2 page amount is my arbitrary marker. I always read over my 2 pages from the previous day and I try not to go more than a few days without writing. Sometimes that’s possible, and sometimes that’s not. As a full time teacher, and a human with friends and a family I enjoy seeing, it all has to stay in something closely resembling balance.
I usually have a separate document where I have a table set up with a general outline and scene-by-scene sense of where I’m going. That’s usually only used when I’m writing the first half. That last third of a book is the part I struggle with the most. I’ve set up most of the conflict and now it’s time to hit those climactic moments and unravel things in a way that’s neither too rushed nor too drawn out. It’s the hardest part for me and the time when I experience the most feelings of “what if this all sucks?”
Once I complete a first draft I reread and try and identify the obvious major revisions needed before sending it to my first readers. If I went on about my revision process I’d be here all night so I think I’ll save that for another post/day.
Thanks for reading and for more posts on the writer’s process check out fellow agency sister Valerie Cole’s post or my fellow OneFour Maria Andreu -her book The Secret Side of Empty debuted this spring as well.