I’ve been invited to participate in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour by my friend and fellow writer, Stephanie Keyes, whose wonderful website and other social media sites can be found here www.stephaniekeyes.com
It’s an awesome chance for me to get some exposure, but just as importantly, a chance for you to learn, through the following questions, a bit about my writing and my writing process.
1) What am I working on?
My work in progress is a young adult novel about a kid who finds himself down on his luck because of a life-changing event and his battle to make things right.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
One of the main things about my work is that it is pretty much hard-hitting, in the sense that I’m not afraid to tackle real-life subjects that may for some, be a bit controversial. It is my hope that my novels will appeal to readers of all ages, both male and female. Also, because my writing features male protagonists, I hope that young men in particular will find my stories more interesting.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write because stories are floating around inside me that need to be told. The characters I create could be the person who grew up next door, the person who otherwise would have no voice, no way to tell the world about his or her problems. I want those who read my stories to learn about another side of life, a side that may not be as nice as what they’d experienced - - so that perhaps they can affect a change. Also, I want someone who’s a bit down on their luck and alone because they feel no one cares about their circumstances to get a sense of hope knowing that someone does care, that someone has taken the time to talk about their plight.
Lastly, I think it’s ludicrous to believe the notion that boys don’t read. I think they simply have to find the right material - which I hope they discover in the characters and settings I’ve created.
4) How does my writing process work?
This is a great question, and one I addressed in great detail on a previous post titled - Amplitude Modulation? What kind of writer are you? - And which can be found in its entirety here…
When I write I know where the story begins and where it ends. The details, like chapter endings, character flaws, settings and personality traits are worked out while writing.
I let my characters guide me. It may sound crazy, but I can't do it any other way.
A story that follows a straight line from point A to point B is the ultimate goal when I write my novel. When reached, my plot and characters are consistent. They do not waver from chapter to chapter, from beginning to end. However, my first drafts often resembles the image you may have seen in one of your elementary science classes about AM (amplitude modulation).
Sometimes my main character takes me on surprising journeys. He (no female protagonists as of yet) leads, and I follow, and because of that we end up a little off course, a little above, or maybe even way above the line. It is through those journeys that I learn so much more about him, the little nuances and idiosyncrasies that make the character more real, more believable. There are times he introduces me to another character and we dip below the line. That character may become part of the novel. They may even get temporarily left aside... for use in another novel, maybe?
My job is to make my story tighter, as close to the line as possible. That only comes after many revisions, after learning more about how a character thinks and acts and relates to the others within the story.
Dirty Secrets, the novel I recently finished, landed me my agent, Amy Tipton, of Signature Literary Agency http://signaturelit.com/ and was winner of the 2012 SCBWI W-I-P Grant for Contemporary Novel - - but not before I’d revised the entire manuscript six, seven times, or more.
With that said, I want to make it clear that I believe the key to any successful writing, more than the process you choose, is the author’s willingness to be persistent and to take and to apply the corrective criticism offered by peers and professionals.