A treasured friend, Kath Unsworth, from Australia’s south coast where she lives with her family and countless animals, kindly asked that I participate in the #mywriting Process Blog Tour so here I am. Kath’s blog posts that explore the best that life has to offer are each a special inspiration (“Believe in the magic of life”). Though her writing talents are many, her art and children’s stories are a true gift to us all. Her blog for this tour can be found here:
So, this post consists of four questions concerning my writing process. In other words: make sense of my chaos. I might actually learn something here…
What am I working on?
Okay, this is pretty easy. The biggest news is that my poetry collection, The Renaissance Cycle, is nearing publication. The book is presently at Createspace…then it’s on to Kindle, etc. In other words, as fast Createspace works determines how long until it’s available. It’s a dream come true and most of a lifetime in the making.
There’s also my online serial, Last Word Before Dying. It’s nearing its end and later will become a free Kindle book. In the background, but not forgotten, is my Ontyre novel, Where Light Devours. Unlike the gentle soul that Shayleen is in Last Word Before Dying, Ergain in Where Light Devours isn’t a patient character and demanding more attention. As soon as the poetry collection is completed my focus can return to Ontyre and its stories. So excited!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It’s tough to answer these in brief. Yikes. Well, anyone reading Last Word Before Dying has probably noticed differences. My fantasy contains elements typically associated with the genre like magic, wizards, potions, and spells. On the other hand, Shayleen lives in a country where magic is outlawed, magic that’s as crucial to their society as electricity and steam were to our late 19th century. Their “modern world” is ruins, a sight similar to medieval peasants viewing the grandeur that was ancient Greece or Rome.
Sure, there aren’t elves and dwarves (gasp!). On the other hand, there are mammoths, werewolves, and gargoyles, but what I’d rather stress is that my stories are also mysteries. In the online story River Rock is threatened with complete destruction because of an event that happened on a journey long ago. Now Shayleen has discovered the resulting evil is dwelling in her kindly employer’s body and for an unknown reason others believe she’s the key to stopping its eventual rampage. Like that.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Finally, an easy question. I write what I do because my imagination is thus far limitless. I could write twenty books about Ontyre and barely reveal all the mysteries there. Ontyre was designed that way. The story centers on the last human refuge near the continent’s center where contact with those beyond its borders is virtually nonexistent. The past haunts. The future is uncertain. The present is crumbling, though hope remains. In the fantasy genre I’m free to explore EVERYTHING and I can borrow from mystery, romance, horror, and science fiction.
4) How does my writing process work?
Poetry aside, I operate off a loose outline that’s varies between vague and detailed…it depends on what surfaces in my brain early on. Too, if a particular scene is burning in my brain I’ll write it. Nothing is sacred and it’s all subject to change.
My writing takes place in 3 to 5 blocks throughout the day, each lasting 1 to 3 hours apiece, though mini breaks occur within those blocks. I don’t snack much, but there’s always a drink…water, juice, or tea. In recent months I’ve added lighting a small candle. The ritual signifies it’s time to work. My first draft is a whirlwind. I play music, sit up straight (often leaning slightly forward), and write as fast as possible (thank you for that advice, Mr. Bradbury). For subsequent drafts the pace slows and often I refer to reference materials. When the story nears completion I’ll shed the music (or switch to instrumental) and read aloud. Except for a few scenes the first draft is written linearly. Later, I’ll move around and address specific scenes or characters.
That’s a brief (for me) process overview. This has been fun. As a part of the tour I have three writers who’ve graciously agreed to tackle the questions next week:
Bill Jones, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in southern Virginia. He is a novelist, poet, photographer, father, and life coach, along with other things he does for money rather than love. Bill wrote his first two novels in 3 months. Since then, he has published 4 novels and a short story collection, and has two more novels currently in development.
On those rare days he’s not working at his Lockheed Martin day job, or his writing night job, Bill can be found under a Nikon, shooting whatever there is. On the very best days, his photos end up as a scene in a book. He likes cheese.
Contact Information: You can find Bill on the web at his writing blog: “This Blog Blank” (http://thisblogblank.wordpress.com); or his photography blog: “Today, on Earth” (http://billjonesjrphotos.wordpress.com/). You can also connect with Bill on Twitter or on his Facebook page.
Jodi L. Milner: For over a decade I’ve had fragments of a fantasy novel floating around in my head. There were always reasons why I couldn’t sit down and work on it, college, jobs, boyfriends, marriage, children, to name a few. The real reason was fear, fear of committing to something that I might not be able to finish, fear of total failure, fear of success. Now that my demon has a name it can be conquered as chapter by chapter I prove it wrong.
About me, I was born and currently live in Utah. I have traveled more than my fair share and lived in Argentina. I’m a full-time mom and a writer at dawn and dark. Before parenthood I finished a BS in Animal Science and worked as a Veterinary Nurse. I’ve also studied karate, violin performance, and operatic soprano. When I’m not being attacked by children or writing I like to work in my garden or get in some exercise. Her website: http://myliteraryquest.wordpress.com/
Laura K. Cowan writes imaginative stories that explore the connections between the spiritual and natural worlds. Her work has been compared to that of acclaimed fantasy and sci-fi authors Ursula K. Le Guin and Ray Bradbury, but her stark and lovely stories retain a distinctly spiritual flavor. Laura’s debut novel The Little Seer was a top 5 Kindle Bestseller for free titles in Christian Suspense and Occult/Supernatural, and was hailed by reviewers and readers as “riveting,” “moving and lyrical.” Her second novel, a redemptive ghost story titled Music of Sacred Lakes, and her first short story collection, The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen, received rave reviews, and Music of Sacred Lakes also topped the Kindle free bestseller lists during its launch, in the top 50 free Kindle downloads on Amazon, #25 in Fiction, #2 in Genre Fiction overall, #5 in Fantasy and Sci-fi/Fantasy, and #1 in Metaphysical Visionary Fiction and Metaphysical Fantasy. Laura’s short stories also appear in a number of anthologies, including the charity anthology Shades of Fear, and the upcoming historical horror anthology Sins of the Past, the rather ridiculous soon-to-come PANTS! anthology, and the completely absurd upcoming Faery Tale Therapy. Her website: http://www.laurakcowan.com/about