I was tagged to do the My Writing Process Blog Tour by my ridiculously talented, embarrassingly prolific, fabulous fangirl friend and critique partner Susan Crispell. Susan writes quirky, romantic magical realism and paranormal for both YA and Adult readers. She has a knack for writing friendships you want to replicate and boys you want to jump in the back of a car with —erm, marry. Her debut novel, Love & Cupcakes from Swoon Romance is about a woman who bakes desires into food but can’t get her own romantic life in order.
I am thrilled to be a part of this tour and hope you guys enjoy learning about the writing process from some super cool writers, add some new books to your TBR lists, and gain some knowledge along the way.
1) What am I working on?
My current work-in-progress is a yet-to-be-titled-though-I-have-some-ideas YA fantasy set in the Islands, a shimmery, ancient world on the brink of early industrialization. The main characters are sixteen-year-olds Aliyah and Aiken, best friends bound by the law to live as brother and sister, forced into circumstances beyond their control by their families, and secretly, desperately in love with each other.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My stories are high fantasy based in worlds not usually explored within that genre. I tend to stay away from stories with easy answers, instead I write big and bold. I meet my characters at the moment their life is about to change, and then they tell me how that makes them feel. While I write about life-altering, global conflict in the worlds I’ve created, the heart of my stories comes from the human experience within that conflict.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I am a glutton for punishment. No, really? For me to pursue something, I have to feel like I’m in a chase. Either literally, like in my first novel Redhunt, where the main character was being hunted through her dangerous, brutal world with a boy trained to protect her, or in this novel, where the ticking time bomb of change could go off at any moment. I am curious about how people react when they are given no way out. But, really more than anything — and I think this cuts to the core of why I write YA — I am still figuring out who I am, even at twenty-nine, and so I write about that journey, that question, that quest for identity.
4) How does your writing process work?
Hmph. It works for me, I’ll say that. I read this Stephen King quote once— it was in On Writing, but I can’t find the direct quote now so I am paraphrasing — that stories are “found objects” that must be excavated with care, like archaeological finds. And I think that is a beautiful way to relate to your writing.
When I approach a story, I approach it first through the characters. I do what I call “method writing”, much like an actor would, where I see the world through the characters eyes, examining every part as they would. There is time later to add in details necessary for more intricate world building.
I also do not plot. Ever. I usually have a vaguest of vague sense of where I am going and why, but details are no where in that scheme. I write on feeling. I will keep notes of thoughts or things to elaborate, come back to, use later, and when I get to the end I will usually write out little scene synopses to make sure I don’t forget anything. More than that and I start to rebel.
Sara is repped by Steven Chudney of The Chudney Agency and she writes YA contemporary that is character-driven, heartbreaking, but hopeful.
Adrianne lives in the Midwest but retains claim to her southern roots. She also writes YA contemporary that is edgy, snarky and fearless.
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check out their posts next week for more insights into the writer’s cluttered mind.