Last week, the wonderful Adele Jones answered four questions about her writing process on her blog, and then passed the torch to me to answer the same four questions.
I first met Adele last year at the 2013 Caleb Christian Writers Conference, where she won the unpublished manuscript Caleb Award for her forth coming YA novel Integrate, being published through Rhiza Press in September (yah!).
Trust the science - unless your life depends on it.
Blaine Colton had been handed a genetic death sentence until revolutionary gene therapy changed his life. Living a relatively normal existence, he is called to an unscheduled post-treatment appointment just weeks before his eighteenth birthday. Informed that his life saving procedure was never approved, he is held against his will for his status as an apparent illegal GMO. Subjected to constant testing, refused contact with his parents and deprived of life sustaining medication, Blaine begins to suspect that something is wrong. Wanting answers, he escapes the Institute and ambitious Chief Scientist, Dr Melissa Hartfield. Now a fugitive with a failing body, Blaine must find Professor Ramer, the developer of his therapy. But the Professor has vanished and time is running out. Fast.
So, now it's my turn to answer the big four questions. Here I go.
1. What Am I Currently Working On?
While I'm a firm believer in focusing on one task at a time, as you might have noticed I'm much better at giving advice than following even my own. I spent the weekend finishing off my third edit of my 1920's romance, After The Winter, and have finally sent it to my editor for the final check over (unless she comes back suggesting otherwise). I've started a GoodReads giveaway ending on the 24th April, by which time hopefully I will have the book available though Amazon, yah! If you want the chance to win a free paperback copy of it, feel free to enter!
(On the GoodReads note, I'm just going to say that to the person who has already rated the book, even though it hasn't come out yet, thank you, but why 4/5? Is my description only 4/5 worthy? Or is that your prediction about how good the book is going to be?).
After spending the weekend solidly editing, I took this morning off (and went shopping; new gym clothes and bras, exciting). But tomorrow I am back to doing the structural edit of The Five Day Writer's Bootcamp. My goal is to have this done by the end of this week, but that might be a bit ambitious (this is just the structural edit, it will need another few rounds after that.)
As this is the last week of term, I then have two weeks of holidays. During that time I'm going to do more editing of Bootcamp and start writing a new project: a modern rom-com serial. I want to get the plot planned out for the full six episodes and the first episode completely written.
So, at least no one can say I don't have goals!
2. How Does My Work Differ From Others In My Genre?
I'm going to address this in terms of After The Winter, the 1920's romance. One thing that was important for me as I wrote this was not to have a romance based purely on physical attraction. In fact, my main female actively rejects the playboy because he is trying to win her over by being sexually inappropriate. As she later tells him, she is proud of her modesty because she has waited and trusted in love while what he is offering her is second best, offered to too many other women before her.
I have also walked a thin line between being a Christian romance. I didn't want it to specifically Christian, but when I faced the issue of whether rakes really could reform, I found it period-appropriate to bring redemption and repentance into the discussion. I suppose I will always write 'Christian' fiction, as it will always come from a Christian worldview. Even if I don't quote bible verses, sin is sin and humanity fallen but redeemable.
3. Why Do I Write What I Write?
I started writing my first historical romance many years ago when confronted with so many that anachronistically put sex in inappropriate places. I was on a discussion board saying that it was possible to write page-turning romances without having sex in the second chapter (or at all, shock horror!). Others told me it wasn't, so I wrote to prove it to them. I planned to write just the first two chapters and posted them, but eventually ended up writing 50,000 words because they kept begging for more, even though through all of that the two characters didn't even kiss. I have always been a huge fan (if you haven't been able to tell) of Georgette Heyer, so knew it could be done. Of course there are some Christian romances out there that are brilliant examples, but really, who doesn't want more?
4. How Does My Writing Process Work?
The purpose of the 100 first drafts challenge is to test out lots of different methods, and particularly pantsing (writing by the seat of your pants). I'm so glad I started on the challenge, even if I'm not really keeping up at the moment (damn you full time job, or more accurately, the necessity to pay for life).
So far, my conclusion on how to write fast and well:
Step 1: develop the initial image/spark into a set of characters and a desired atmosphere/tone. This will help dictate style and plot development. (My Five Day Writer's Bootcamp is an in depth discussion of this pre-writing preparation.)
Step 2: write first draft as fast as you can (for me preferrably two weeks). Long writing sessions train you to keep writing through multiple scenes, and help you to enter into the flow more readily (see my previous post on the benefits of regularly getting into the flow.)
Step 3: Structural Edit - Go through and make sure that the ordering of the story is optimal and realistic; no plot holes, that chapter flows into chapter, and paragraph into paragraph.
Step 4: Copy Edit - Make sure the language is optimal, that appropriate terms are used, tone and style are consistent, check for repetition, weasel words, etc.
Step 5: Proof Read - I often contract this out as proofing your own work is really hard, but I am learning to print off a copy at the end and with a pen read through it line by line, making sure that each sentence is the best that it can be.
You can see why turning my first drafts into published books is taking me so long! But every time I do this, I pick up on my own idiosyncrasies that weaken my writing, and next time I do a new draft it is stronger.
And Now The Bad News:
So this is meant to be a blog tour, so I was meant to get someone to follow after me. Here would be the part where I would introduce them. Unfortunately, I'm a bad blog tourer. I only bothered to ask one person, and I only saw their message yesterday saying they couldn't do it. So yes, I'm that person that kills the tour.
If there is another writer out there reading this in the next week, and would like to pick up my fallen torch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you a proper introduction.
And don't forget to sign up at GoodReads if you want to win a free copy of After The Winter!