A while back, a friend invited me to be part of a blog hop for writers. The idea is that you answer a few simple questions about what you're writing and then link to three other peoples' blogs who will then do the same. I have found it challenging to find others who want to play this game, so basically I'm answering the questions my friend set me because I said I would, and if, later, I find other people who want to play too, I'll post about their blogs then.
Deal? Deal. Great. Here goes.
A. What am I writing or working on?
I've answered this pretty thoroughly elsewhere, but in short, the answer is as follows:
- A fantasy novel for young adults* whose working title is The Ruler's Mark;
- This blog, and
- Another piece of fiction. As things stand now, it looks like this one might turn into a quartet of books once I finish it, but it's much too early to know if it will develop that far. Really, at this point, it's too early even to say what genre it'll be. Right now it's looking like a three-way tie between fantasy, romance, and the sadly common "nobody but me will ever look at this for any reason" genre.
*Note about the 'young adult' label. I have been advised to say that I'm writing YA fantasy as opposed to adult fantasy because I am not cut out to be George R. R. Martin. As I understand it, YA fantasy is any fantasy that you wouldn't be too embarrassed to hand to someone aged about 12-14 (or possibly even younger) because it doesn't have a metric ton of graphic sex or violence in it. As it happens, most of my favorite books - in adulthood as in childhood - are classified as YA fantasy. You don't have to be a young adult to read YA fantasy, and you don't have to write down to your readers when you compose it. Just ask Madeleine L'Engle, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and a host of others. ...just FYI.
B. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This and all the subsequent questions are answered in the order of the projects listed above.
- I'm trying to think of a way to answer this question without giving away major plot points, so I'm going to leave it alone.
- So far as I can tell, this blog is unique among blogs only inasmuch as it is written by me.
- Ha-ha! I don't know its genre, so I don't have to answer this question!
C. Why do I write what I write?
- Because I do not have a choice. This story has been inside me fighting its way out for more than eight years now. I'm a little bit afraid that if I don't give birth to it soon, either it's going to die or I am.
- Because I occasionally have thoughts, and sculpting them into blog form is a good discipline for me as a writer and as a thinking human. Also, putting my words out into the world where anyone can read them is good practice for the day when I finally do manage to bring The Ruler's Mark out into the light.
- Because it has these big, sad, beautiful eyes, and it keeps tugging on my sleeve and looking up at me, asking to be written. So far, I haven't been able to refuse it.
D. How does my writing process work?
- Most of the time, if I don't work on The Ruler's Mark first thing in the morning, it doesn't get worked on. Period. Which means that if I can't get out of bed at some hideous hour or other, I get very little done on this project these days. When I do manage to get out of bed early enough to work on it, I've been rewriting the book from scratch one scene at a time. This process started during the summer of 2014 when I got some great feedback from a few agents and editors at the Greater Los Angeles Area Writer's Conference and ended up giving this treatment to my first ten pages. I saw that those first ten pages didn't match up with what came after them, so I rewrote the first fifty. As of writing this sentence, I'm on page 152 / 347, and no end in sight except the end of the last page. It's slightly panic-inducing to think about how much work is left to be done, but I am confident that the 151.1 pages I've rewritten are substantially better than the 195.9 pages I haven't.
- Every day, a recurring task pops up on my list. It says, "Work on At the Top of my Lungs." If I'm busy doing things that are on-fire-urgent - which I almost always am - I cycle it forward into the next day... if I'm not, then eventually something gets written and posted.
- I wrote about fifty pages of this and then had to put it aside for a while. When I picked it back up, I started getting glimpses of scenes featuring the story's characters, but they're from all over the place: some obviously much later in the story; some from nearer the middle; some that I have no idea if or when or how they fit into the rest of the puzzle. But I think about it everywhere, and when I have time - and sometimes even when I don't - I scribble down whatever I've thought of as fast as I can get it down.
What writing are you doing these days? Is it pouring out of you like a venti latte dropped on the floor of the back seat? Or is getting it out onto the page or the screen more like pulling teeth? Are you enjoying it, or doing it because you have to? Or maybe both?