Monday, May 5, 2014

#WritingProcessBlogTour- a blog hop plus #AtoZChallenge Reflections

Today is part of a blog hop. This tour shares an author's writing process and you can follow it back or forward, wherever your heart takes you. My new friend Samantha, whom I met during the Blogging A to Z Challenge last month tagged me. You can visit her blog and Writing Process post here

My first thought regarding A to Z is how many new friends I've made. Not only was I tapped by an A to Z contact to participate in this blog hop, I asked a couple people I met during A to Z to continue the discussion. I did follow mostly writing related blogs, but not all. I think I read about ten blogs every single day, tried to do another ten random ones, plus visited and commented on the blogs of every person who commented on mine.

The only way I had time to do that (and I know a few people visited hundreds) was because I pre-wrote most of my posts in 2-3 marathon sessions. That way I could focus on visiting during my available free time.

My last comment is on how much I learned. I learned writing my own grammar posts (and got to reminisce as I dug through old photos too!) But I learned so much on other people's posts. One I loved was on phobias. And serial killers. I also got to read several complete stories that followed the A to Z theme in different ways. Awesome fun! Most of all, a huge thank you to everyone who visited and commented. You made this worth it!

I will definitely participate next year. For now, back to the other purpose of today's post - a blog hop on my writing process. Here are my answers to the questions.

What am I working on?My main focus is on writing the second book in a Middle Grade series. The first book is titled MIGHTY MIKE AND THE INTERGALACTIC CANDY DISPENSER, which I'm querying now. The second book is MIGHTY MIKE SAVES MARS. It's nearly complete, but then, knowing me, I'll spend many months polishing.

I'm also preparing to unshelve my very first manuscript. I shelved it because 1) that's what you do with your first, 2) I needed to improve my writing skills, and 3) the idea grew into a 5 book series that was definitely beyond my writing both technically and from a storytelling ability. I hope now I've improved enough to continue.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?Although I write Fantasy and Science Fiction, I ground things in our current world. I know they're not popular, but I've always loved portal fantasies. Not surprising that's where my first book took me (yes, I'm a panster). But, as I've been told by authors and a couple agent who sadly saw early, awful versions, they were intrigued because our world remains part of the story and actions in the fantasy world affect ours.

My MG sci-fi might be a bit out there, but the world is what you see around you, just with a little alien technology thrown in.

Why do I write what I do?Why? Otherwise I'd lay awake at night imagining the stories and probably not get beyond the first few scenes. This way I get to see how they end!

How does your writing process work? As I mentioned, I'm a panster, but I am trying to do a little planning beforehand on future books. At least a beat sheet type approach to make sure I remember conflict and motivation and stakes. My first book was just an adventure and I showed up at a conference ready for the gushing and found I didn't even have a story!

I do my most consistent writing in the winter. There's just too much to do during the summer. I have horses, I train and compete in endurance. It takes time and I never want to give it up (they'll have to lift me from a wheel chair when I'm 95!) So I've taken advantage of NaNoWriMo to put a lot of words down (oh yes, they are edited, I can't shut my editor off) and then I meet weekly with my in person critique group to go over ten pages at a time. Wonderful experience.

On a more detailed level, I sit with a bottle of water nearby, music blaring (alternative and rock), and a cat draped around my neck. I think she's affecting my posture.  

NEXT WEEK on the blog hop
Eliza Tilton is a YA fantasy and contemporary author published by Curisity Quills. We met at when I asked if she wanted to swap critiques. I've enjoyed reading her books and gotten valuable feedback from her, both in critiques and her publishing and marketing experiences. She's got a great blog title Girls PWN.
Amazon / Barnes&Noble / KOBO / Goodreads

Alex Hurst writes primarily character-driven fantasy, in such sub-genres as urban, Gothic, uncanny, and regional fantasy. Sometimes, she dapples in science fiction, horror, and LGBT literature. She also freelances as an editor for the Writers’ Anarchy anthology series, designs book interiors at Country Mouse Design, and admins on the Fiction Writers community on Facebook, assisting emerging writers.

Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of Young Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble an eight and five year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's staring out the window daydreaming about magic and mythical creatures.
Facebook | Twitter

Beckie Kagan is a fantasy writer and a member of my in-person critique group. I can't say enough about the value of in-person critique groups. She founded ours and also finds those little insights I write right past. She's working on a nicely complex epic fantasy about a woman who doesn't fit in our world finds her place and challenges she loves in another world, including a hot, hot love interest who needs her talents to save his (now her) people. Beckie also designs and creates unique jewelry which you can see on her site.


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  2. What a fun blog hop! Love the titles for your novels. They sound awesome! Good luck with the querying.

    I had a mild panic attack two minutes ago because I thought my blog hop was today, but then I came here... haha. I'll not forget the date again! ;)

    See you next week!

    1. Gotta love a quick panic to get your blood flowing!

  3. Interesting post. Writing process is such an idiosyncratic little monster, different for everyone of us. I love the image of you writing with a cat around your neck. :-)

    I'm a bit of a seasonal writer, too. I've committed to a daily minimum of words, but I write much more on school holidays. Because I can! (Samantha from Balancing Act:

  4. I think yours was one of the blogs that got me thinking of doing a YA contemporary book with horses (at some point--I'm balancing multiple projects now).

    My writing process is similar; I do some pre-planning but outlines are tedious for me. Though I do some plotting stuff once a draft is written. The more planning the better, I just loooaaathe outlining.

  5. I had a great time, as well. My suggestions next year would be to allow YA or MI or whatever to have an area that served their focus genre. Have no idea how to do that, but it is a thought.

  6. Would you be interested in posting next week for the My Writing Process blog hop? Here is a sample of what type of posts people are doing: It's just a fun way to connect about how we write. Let me know! My email is my user name at gmail.

  7. Met you during the challenge an I am really glad that I did. Your grammer and writing advice was actually really helpful plus I made a great blogging friend. Stay in touch!
    Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

  8. Congratulations on completing the challenge and good luck with your writing. :-)

  9. So good to hear your positive A to Z report. You have provided another testimonial on the merits on planning ahead. So true--this does open up April for the social networking.

    Thanks for following my blog. I didn't see a Friend Connect widget on your site, but I'm now following on Google+. I was already following you on Twitter.

    Keep up the great blogging efforts!

    A Faraway View

  10. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly before the next A-Z Challenge begins. Visiting from the 2014 A-Z Road Trip.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess