Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tagged: My Writing Process

Author Kristen Smith tagged me in a blog tour.  I'm to share my method for generating ideas, mapping out those ideas and eventually writing those ideas down. Today, I mostly focus on the "writing those ideas down" piece.

Kristen writes contemporary romance. We "met" during the A-Z Challenge, and hit it off immediately. I'm waiting impatiently for the publication of her first book, Letting Go, which is the story of a young mother struggling to raise her four small children after the death of her husband. You can find out more about Kristen and follow the blog tour here.

My Writing Process:

What am I working on now?

As most of you know, Sheena Boekweg, Sabrina West, and I started a crazy collaborative project that has grown completely out of control. I created a nice, normal character named Ana, Sheena created a lady's man named Sam and Sabrina created grumpy Juliette. Then we set them loose at a school for students who have been infected with a magical virus. The first book, Alchemy, was released in October of 2013, and we've been working nonstop on the sequel, Pyromancy. It is SO MUCH FUN. I can't even tell you. We're at the not fun major editing phase right now, and even that is SO MUCH FUN.

By the way, Alchemy has been nominated for a spot on the list of 50 Self-Published Novels Worth Reading and  you can vote right here!   (pretty please?)

How does my book differ from others within its genre?

First of all, there aren't many books written by three authors, where each author is completely in control of the actions of one character. We got the idea from Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, so it has been done before, though they only had two authors, not three. Many reviewers said that they thought they would hate skipping from character to character and were shocked because that turned out to be their favorite part of the book.

Second, the idea that magic is a deadly virus is pretty unique. If you survive the infection and recover from the resultant insanity, magic can be pretty fun, but magic is dangerous enough that mages are quarantined and shunned by society. The conversations we've had to create this amazing world have been priceless. I don't know how I'll ever go back to world building all by myself.

Oh, and third...I might be a little biased, but I think we just wrote the most believable romance in the history of the world. Believable yet steamy. Steamy yet clean. I hope the world loves it as much as I do.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I love romance and kissing and all of that fun stuff. If it wasn't for my incredible co-writers, I would forget all about the plot and the magic. It's just filler to get to the kissing. Oh, gosh, Sheena and Sabrina are going to die when they read that. Sorry my friends!

How does my writing process work?

I have two different writing processes now. One with collaborators and one by myself. The one where I write by myself is pretty rusty, so here's how I write with collaborators. 

You can read about the process of collaboration in Alchemy here and here.

The writing process has changed quite a bit in Pyromancy, so I have new things to say. In Alchemy, I was terrified to write scenes with Juliette or Sam in them, because those characters belonged to Sabrina and Sheena. I still did it, but it was awkward. 

In Pyromancy however, Ana, Sam and Juliette are best friends, and there is no avoiding scenes with all of them in it. It's scary stuff, writing fiction with characters that don't belong to you. But we're all getting pretty good at it. This is what happens.

I want to write a scene. I might send my idea via facebook to Sabrina or Sheena to make sure they are on board. But sometimes I'm really brave, and I just write it. When it's done, I'll send it to Sheena to "Samify" or to Sabrina to "Juliette-ify" it. They'll tell me what Sam and Juliette would actually do, fix up their reactions and their dialogue. If I'm way off, then we'll talk, and if it's a tricky scene we might even get on google docs and write it together. We're doing so much more writing together now, but we're super careful of each other's voice.

Here is one example out of many:

Weeks ago, Sabrina wrote a scene with all three of our characters (plus Zach and Seb) in it. When I read it, I immediately said, "Stop! Ana wouldn't do that. She absolutely wouldn't do that." Over the months we've become comfortable saying things like that to each other, because we know that it is quite possibly the most important thing we can do to make the book good. 

The trouble was, having Ana act that way imparted a lot of important information seamlessly, and both Sabrina and Sheena liked it. It was such a small scene, you might have thought I would let it go, but that's not the way any of us work. Neither of them would want me to betray Ana like that.

So I wracked my brain for a way to create a situation where Ana might act that way, but it just didn't exist. Instead I wrote an alternative scene, several pages earlier (still in Juliette's POV. I am so gutsy!!!)  that I thought might take its place. Eventually, my alternative was accepted. But if it hadn't worked for Sabrina, then we would have kept hammering it out. We're getting pretty good at writing each other's characters, but even better at changing things. I love it though, because the finished product is so darn lovable.

I hope when I eventually go back to writing on my own that I can incorporate this into my process. It will be time consuming to get into every character's head in every scene, and it may eventually drive me insane. But boy, it really makes the characters shine. 

What's your writing process like?

Continue following the Process of Writing Tour and see how others hammer out their stories.


Connie Keller, Bryce Moore, and Sheena Boekweg

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Loved reading about your writing process! I'm in awe how the three of you are able to write a book together--so cool! I need to read it!

    Sorry it took so long for me to get over here to read your tag, but I'm glad I finally made it over! And thanks for the mention! :)