So a couple of weeks ago a fellow writer named Eric M. Ralph (who has the death sentence in twelve systems for aggravated punnery) asked me to talk about my writing process as part of a greater blog tour that’s spreading across the Internet: The Writing Process Blog Tour! (Cue fanfare, streamers, balloons…maybe a unicycling monkey in a Lara Croft cosplay for some reason…) His invitation to action ended with “Don’t make me destroy you,” so of course I said yes!
But first, a little about Eric: He does lots of stuff™! He also likes to write: books, short stories, poetry, speeches, and really disturbing puns. He has a self-described odd sense of humor, a blue and orange bow tie, and a novel: And God Said…An Absurd Tale of Love, Power, and Paperwork. (Hey, I should check that out…) You can find his own part of the tour here, but ignore any libelous codswallop about me that you find there.
And now, on with the content!
What am I working on?
I’m working on two things at the moment. (Well, three, if you count this blog entry. Though maybe that only counts if it’s RIGHT this moment—in which case I’m only working on this entry and nothing else but—okay, I’m over-parsing the question, aren’t I?) So, yes, two things: Working with my publisher (Booktrope) on the final part of the publishing process for Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure (my comedic fantasy about the Greek gods returning to public life in the modern day), and writing the third and final book in my cyberpunk series The New Aeneid Cycle.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It’s written by ME! (Boy, what a silly question!) Okay, so honestly I always think this is a bit of a loaded question. Every author brings their own unique perspective, voice, and nuance to any story they tell. A good deal of what comes from me is likely my sense of humor, which ranges from deconstructive to just plain goofy. There’s less of it in The New Aeneid Cycle, as those are serious novels (though certain characters within them have a sense of humor that’s informed by my own), but the humor nozzle is on full blast for Zeus is Dead. I had so much fun writing it.
I’ve also found that I have a thing for the concept of memory and of Greek mythology…
Why do I write what I do?
Some writers write to give voice to their deepest yearnings, strongest opinions, or universal truths they feel cannot be expressed in any other form. While such things do find their way into my writing, my primary motivation is simply to tell a good story. I write to entertain, both myself and my readers. I love to grab a reader’s emotions, pull them to the edge of their seat with excitement, laughter, or intrigue, and keep them there for as long as I can.
I confess I also take a special delight in making a reader curse me at the end of a chapter because they just can’t help but turn the page. (If a beta-reader wants to beat me over the head because they just finished a chapter and I haven’t yet written the next one, I consider it a success.)
How does my writing process work?
Heh. “Writing process.” Like it’s so organized. …Well, okay, so it kind of is. I tend to front-load the work in the sense that I prefer to plan things out ahead of time:
- I get my premise, which can often take a long while as I search for an idea that excites me enough to keep me interested the entire time it will take me to write a novel.
- Sketch the main characters, create a “step sheet”/outline that shows the flow of both character arcs and plot progression, and a general bunch of notes about the setting itself to help inform the writing.
- Actually write, using the step sheet and character sketches as a guide. This does NOT mean such things are inviolate. On multiple occasions I might come up with new ideas as I go (and certain parts of my outline might simply say “whatever seems to make sense for the characters at this point”), change directions, or even discover that the characters themselves have tapped me on the shoulder (or punched me in the face) to say they’d do things differently.
- Edit, revise, agonize, improvise, and probably eat some pizza.
Next on the tour…
Rachel Frost: An author, artist AND musician, Rachel is in the midst of writing a sequel to her first NA novel (Tsirash), in between a multitude of art and music projects. Nevertheless, she still has the good taste to play lots of video games.
Mary Lynne Gibbs: A former city-dweller now ensconced in Kentucky farmland, Mary is both an author and an actress. Her interests lie in fantasy, scifi, paranormal, and adventure fiction (so hey, she’s got excellent taste), and in creating worlds with strong female characters.
J. Edward Neill: J. Edward is a dark fantasy writer living in the southeastern United States. Among his inspirations are Dan Simmons’ characters, Shakespeare’s truths, and Tolkien’s wordiness. You’ll find no elves or dwarves in his writing, but epic tales written for adults with sharp (and slightly twisted) minds.
Gareth S. Young: Gareth is a lover of all the stuff and most of the things (that’s a direct quote), as well as a watcher, listener, thinker, and dreamer (that’s another direct quote). His psychological thriller Monsters, with a 4.4 rating on Amazon, is set in my own backyard in the shadow of Mt. Rainier (that’s a sentence I mostly wrote myself).
Look for their contributions on May 19th!