Many thanks to Andrea Brame for thinking of me and tagging me for this Writer Blog Hop! Andrea and I met at a writing convention last year. We ended up sitting next to each other for one of the breakout sessions and chatted a bit, and then we were placed in the same group to share the first few pages of a story we are working on. Let me tell you, it was one of the most terrifying things, to be so intimate with other writers to share a part of your WIP (or in my case, one of my many possible WIPs since I was suffering from serious writing ADD at the time… oh wait, I still do…), but you’re all in it together so that makes it pretty neat. Anyhow, this blog hop is a chance for writers to tag others about their process, and I’ll be tagging a couple more writer friends at the end of the post.
What am I working on/writing?
That’s a fabulous question, and if I was a good writer, I’d have a real answer. Instead my reply is that I am somewhat procrastinating on making serious edits/revisions on my NaNoWriMo novel Earthbound that I have referenced here many times. After being tagged for this blog hop I did finally start going through some of my chapters again and brainstormed possible things I might want to add, particularly after reading Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell over a weekend (it’s a real quick read if you want to check it out). While I am
procrastinating on planning out my revising/editing process for this story, I’m also trying to decide what story I want to focus on next, because I have so many half-baked ideas. I want to pick something, plot it out, and focus on it for real, like I did with Earthbound, because that was the most effective I have been at writing out a story ever.
Is it cheesy to say because I wrote it? Because seriously, every story is unique because of the author behind it, so long as they’re putting their heart and soul into the writing and not just trying to copy old ideas and tropes. My worldview, my perspective, my personality, my passions all go into what I write, and that’s what makes it different. I don’t write like John Green or Suzanne Collins or Leigh Bardugo or anyone else in the YA market. I write like me, Amy. Whatever that means. Maybe one day somebody can explain my writing style to me.
I don’t think this is unique in YA, but I will say what is important to me when I write, and that is that I don’t like to boxed into one category (like contemporary, dystopia, sci-fi, etc.) and I always believe in a hopeful ending. Hopeful does not mean happy necessarily, it just means hopeful.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because those are the ideas that pop in my head and won’t leave me alone. Almost all the main characters I dream up are basically in the 16-18 year range (though sometimes college-aged ones pop in there). I don’t know why, but apparently something about that point in life calls to me in my storytelling. When you’re that age, you’re on the verge of figuring yourself out, still idealistic enough to believe that you can change the world, and still passionate enough to possibly do it. Perhaps I write about people that age because I went through so many changes in that point in my life and sometimes I wonder what other people experience during this time, and how it impacts their lives. And I write in general because people and places and ideas pop into my head and nag me. They beg me to write their story down and share in their emotions, the good and the bad.
How does my writing process work?
It’s been inconsistent and basically, it’s a mess. The first “novel” (it’s technically a little shy of novel word count) I wrote took YEARS. And I think it still needs serious work to see the light of day (but I want it to, one day, because I love the idea and characters so much and I think others will too). But basically, I started it many times, at one point I finished it, then I started many rewrites, and I finally finished one of those, and I honestly went through these process once or twice more until I got to the current version of the story.
The last novel I wrote took a month (thanks NaNo) for 51k of groundwork, plus a few more months to increase the word count by another 10,000 to make it a better story (and again, it still needs a lot of work, and probably about 10,000 more words). The other two I’ve written took longer than a month but less than years. The best writing I’ve done has been due to some plotting and planning, so I’ve learned that I need to do that even though I so badly want to be a pantser and just write and write and have marvelous ideas flow out of me. But when I try that, I always flame out about chapter 2. Seriously. Or 3 or 4 if I’m really lucky. So I have to get serious about plotting, otherwise the writing process abruptly stops. And there’s also this…
Honestly, some days if I wonder if I’m cut out for writing, if I’m wasting my time, if my real talents lie elsewhere and I need to move on. But then I read about others’ writer’s doubts, and they all struggle with the same things, go through the same slumps and stages as I do, and the fact that I am constantly haunted by stories that need to be told is a pretty good indicator that I am a writer. Except I need to actually write to be a writer. So I’ve got to keep pushing myself. And that is the eternal struggle.
If you’re a writer, how does your process look for you?