Oh wait, maybe I was just tagged...
Thanks go to Mason over at Muse Riding Shotgun for tagging me in a Talk About Your Process. This is sort of my favorite topic, so watch out, author rambling ahead.
What are you working on right now?
A blog post—Oh, you mean my novel. Right. So I’m currently in the very final stages of polishing up STORM SINGER. And I mean final. Or not. The problem with all works of art is that they’re never really done. Could I rewrite it and make it better at this point? I don’t think so. Could I go through and tweak it for another twenty years? Oh yeah. I could wax poetic, but at some point, you have to declare them done and send them out into the great big world, and this novel is SOOO CLOSE. Though I might run it through another set of betas, we’ll see. I haven’t decided yet.
How does my book differ from others in its genre?
This is both a great question and a terrible question. In my novel, people control some of the elements through music (singing specifically). In that aspect it’s very similar to Avatar the Last Airbender (Yes, I know it’s a TV show and not a book, so clearly, I’m going straight to literary hell). My story has pirates, giant sea monsters, and people corrupted by years and years of contact with dark forces. It’s different because part of it is based on ideas from the flooding of the Black Sea. Geo-historical evidence suggests that the Black Sea level had dropped WAY down before the Mediterranean Sea rose up and spilled over the land bridge between them—BIG flood. In fact, this event is suggested to be the event that the story of Noah is based off of (before people start going on about God and the bible, please remember that I’m not saying Noah’s story isn’t true; I’m just talking about factual evidence that corresponds to biblical events). Anyhow, I thought it would be neat to have something like that, a little geology based constraints. And of course there’s the whole world that’s different, complete with different mythical creatures (as well as a bunch of normal creatures like cats and dogs and humans). In the end it features a sassy protag who apparently has a really strong daredevil streak (she gets it from her mother).
Why do I write what I write?
I just can’t help myself. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. Or maybe that’s not really what the question is asking. Maybe the question means: Why do I write the kinds of stories that I write? I can’t even get close to answering that. I write the stories that keep me up at night. I have to commit them to paper or I’d go crazy. With STORM SINGER, pirates hijacked my book and went on a dark romp through monster infested waters. With Accidental Godmother, the story rattled out of me like it was dictated from on high (it wasn’t and I’ve rewritten it into a different story: Watch this space for coming attractions). There’s a story behind every novel. There’s a different why for each one, so this is one of those impossible questions to answer. I write what I write because I couldn’t stop (and I’ve tried).
How does my writing process work?
I guess this is the kicker, my writing process doesn’t work. It limps along painfully. It comes together, but for something to work it needs to have predictable outcomes. And seriously, I don’t understand my process. I know what I want, but it doesn’t work that way. Example: I have this novel that I wrote. Then I rewrote it. Then, because it wasn’t enough I wrote it again. Then I edited it forever, sent it off to betas, rewrote a bunch more of it, then edited it again. Then I queried. Within 10 queries, I knew I had a problem and REWROTE IT AGAIN. Edited, edited, edited, then entered some contests. And then, because I hadn’t gotten enough pain, I did a big revision after that. Seriously, I feel like there might be a way to make that novel even better with just one more revision. (yeah, really, but I’d have to read through it with fresh eyes to be sure).
If I have to go down that road every time, I might tear my hair out (hope I look good bald!). One of the things I can’t stand is inefficiency, which is rough. Writing and publishing is NOT about efficiency. Which brings me back to, My Process Doesn’t Work. It’s inefficient, and tangled, and terrible and beautiful and full of love and grit and not enough grace. It’s late nights and early mornings, stolen moments and navel gazing hours. Process is nothing and everything. If I had one that really worked, it would be amazing, but that’s just it: as soon as there’s a formula that works, it stops working. So each novel is using a tank to plow the fields and hoping the flowers come up again (come on rain!). Because sometimes, my process feels like begging for rain in the desert. I suspect, I’m not the only one to feel this way.