So there’s this pyramid-scheme writing thing going around called the #MyWritingProcess blog tour. The way it works is you get tagged by somebody, you answer four questions (see below) and you pass on the infection to three more people.
I had the honor of being tagged by Daniel Koboldt a genetics researcher, blogger, and sci-fi/fantasy author represented by Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary. We’ll hear more from Dan in a few months when he’ll appear on the podcast, but until then, here’s a look at his writing process, where he says some interesting things about Scrivener.
What am I working on?
I am working on late stage beta-feedback for my fourth book, New Frontiers (full of aliens and sex. Tell me if you want to be a beta-reader) and about a third of the way through my fifth book, Charming Lies.
Charming Lies is a historical fantasy about an Ottoman palace guard and enchanter who is kidnapped to Bulgaria where he meets and falls in love with a local witch. They fight crime!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most historical fantasy I’ve read either takes place in the English-speaking world or in the distant past. Charming Lies takes place in the 1550’s Ottoman Empire and its point-of-view characters speak either Bulgarian or Turkish. The story also takes place at a time when the magic system is about to hit a revolution that might drastically change the subsequent history of this world.
Why do I write what I do?
Giving my characters interesting problems to solve is a fun mental exercise and a good excuse to research such things as, for example, Ottoman history, moral philosophy, and orthodox iconography. And honestly I get a rush when people say they like my work. So there’s that.
How does my writing process work?
Day-to-day it’s pretty constant. Go to Starbucks, sit in an easy chair, and type on my kindle. Write whatever comes into my head until I have to go back to work, then upload those chunks of text onto my computer and clean them up. Simple.
What isn’t so simple is my planning process, which I’ve changed for each of my novels.
1) Every chapter is an episode in a TV series (Kingdoms of Evil)
2) A list of everything cool that might happen, arranged chronologically, becomes the outline. (The World’s Other Side)
3) Heavy outlining based on the Hollywood 3-act structure. (Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen)
4) Heavy outlining, first from the bad-guy’s perspective, and I wrote the ending first. (New Frontiers)
5) Vague outline (based on James Bond and Romance plots), then discovery-writing with the assumption that I will go back and rewrite everything once done with the first draft. (Charming Lies)
But after planning, I write the first draft, which I read out loud to my wife as I write each chapter. When I finish that draft, I read it again and write all the things my wife told me to (the parts I “got wrong”). When the first draft is done, I rewrite it and send that send the second draft to beta readers. Based on what they say, I may substantially rework the novel for a third (or fourth of fifth) time. In New Frontiers, for example, I cut up and rearranged the first five chapters so that each scene is more dangerous to the main character than the last. After a while the beta readers stop finding problems or get fed up and drop out of communication and I call the novel finished!
Meet Some of My Writing Friends
And now to pass on the infection to some of my friends!
Melissa Walshe writes fantastical science fiction and science-y fantasy with the nonsense-filled enthusiasm of a complete n00b. She expects to publish her first novel, Autumn’s Daughter, for Kindle this fall. Melissa has deep roots in Maine, where she and her husband are slowly turning their little bit of land into a mini-farm suitable for raising fiber animals to support Melissa’s yarn habit, which lately has been taking the shape of tiny knit dragon designs. (hear Melissa’s podcast conversation with me!)
Arianne “Tex” Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from UT Dallas and a master’s degree in literature from the University of Dallas, she went on to become a community college professor, teaching the fundamentals of English to adults writing below the eighth-grade level. Now a master teacher for academic tutoring and test prep services, as well as the managing editor for the DFW Writers Conference, Tex is a regular feature at high schools, writing conferences, and genre conventions alike. With her first book, a ‘rural fantasy’ novel called One Night in Sixes, Tex joins the growing ranks of Solaris authors committed to exciting, innovative and inclusive science fiction and fantasy. (podcast coming soon!)
Jeff Stanley In 2002 Jeff Stanley won the Del Rey Online Writing Workshop’s First Novel Contest and had his SciFi novel, Tainted Garden, published in 2003. After a 10-year hiatus, he’s back in full swing, bringing to light again the depth of characterization, the bizarre and unique settings and world-building, and the intricate plotlines that made Tainted Garden the readers’ choice. In the words of one reviewer: ‘This ain’t your Daddy’s Science Fiction.’ (podcast also coming soon!)