I was tagged by Fran Veal http://www.franveal.com to take part in what has become a worldwide, tag team blog tour. If you’re a Twitter user and enjoy this post, please Tweet it up and follow me, as well. In this tour, I am asked to answer the following four questions, so here goes:
1) What am I working on?
At present, I am revising Thought Gazer. It is the first volume of a prequel trilogy to my debut novel, the epic fantasy, Awakening. I have already begun writing Foreteller, the second volume of the trilogy, but because its story hinges on several events that occur in Thought Gazer, I have returned to it, both to refresh my memory and to begin one of the necessary revision passes I describe below.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most works of fantasy involve dragons, wizards, elves and magic. Awakening, however, is set in a world where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write to get to the heart of what motivates people, to learn what makes them tick. In certain novels involving the real world—thrillers or mysteries, for example—it’s too easy to get caught up in the events surrounding the characters. On the other hand, in the kind of tales I write, because the world is so alien, after the reader’s initial fascination with its uniqueness wears off, they begin focusing on what they can more easily relate to. The characters move to the forefront and become the center of the story. Take a moment to examine readers’ reviews http://amzn.to/1eu75Rj and you will notice that, time and again, they refer to the characters and the situations I put them in. This, then, becomes a character-driven story, not just an action adventure.
4) How does your writing process work?
Whenever I decide to begin a book, without having to give it much thought, a scene springs to mind. I can see it vividly. I know the names of the people populating it and something of their present circumstance. It is as if I am peering into an event that is happening at the moment, or has already happened, and I am channeling it, writing it down as it unfolds. At that point, I do not know where the story is going, but it is important I do early on. It’s like climbing into a car. If I decide I am driving to New York, I will eventually get there. The story can take unexpected twists and turns and can introduce me to characters I never contemplated, but if I know where the story is going, I will eventually arrive at its proper conclusion. I usually know what that must be by the second or third chapter.
Once I’ve arrived at the ending, I will reread what I have written. Inevitably it’s pretty ugly—punctuation errors, poorly constructed sentences—very raw stuff indeed. Now the real writing begins. Over two or three more passes, I begin correcting the obvious mistakes. After the first of these, I hand the forsaken mess over to my poor wife, who then goes over it for typos I’ve missed or inconsistencies. If I haven’t already created several supporting documents during the first write, I begin creating them now. I create a Timeline, a breakdown of what occurs chapter by chapter. I have documents called People and Places where I store relationships and descriptions that must be consistent throughout the work. Another key document is called Loose Ends: matters I have initiated at certain points in the book that MUST be tied up before the story’s over. Lastly, I have a document called Working Chapter. If I am editing Chapter 3, I never alter the original manuscript. I copy the entire chapter into this document and make all my corrections here. Then, when I am satisfied, I replace what I had originally written. That way, if I mess things up too much while I am editing, I can return to the original Chapter 3, copy it into the Working Chapter and begin again.
Once I have completed these initial passes, I put the manuscript away and begin writing a new one. Months later, when the second manuscript is ready to put away, I reopen the first and begin reading it with new eyes. At that point, if there are still any errors, they leap off the page and everything begins again. Usually however, they are minimal and the kind of problems I encounter at this point have to do with pacing and adding the little details that allow the reader to step inside each character’s mind, to see through their eyes and feel as if (s)he is really part of the scene (s)he is reading.
It’s my turn now to pass the baton to the following authors. Visit their blogs next Monday, February 17, to see how they write.
Eden Baylee is an author of multiple genres, writing her first mystery novel due 2014. http://www.edenbaylee.com
Michelle Weidenbenner is a novelist, blogger, encourager, and tennis junkie writing random stories that move her, that show up in her thoughts from the people and situations that inspire her. http://www.randomwritingrants.com
Natasha Brown was once awarded with a Hershey’s bar ‘the size of a Buick’ in her High School English class for creative writing, and since then her passion and interest in writing (and chocolate) has never dimmed. www.theshapeshifterchronicles.com