The fabulous Laura McClellan and the amazing Erin Unger both invited me to participate in a blog hop! The assignment: answer four questions about my writing, and then tag three other writers to do the same. Make sure you check them out at the end of this post. Here’s the link where Laura answered these questions on her blog, and the link to Erin’s post as well. Thank you both for thinking of me!
What are you working on? My secret is I’m always working on about five different things. That may or may not also be why I’m a little scattered at times. I’m in the process of outlining the second book in my US Marshals series (first one releases 9/21/14 from Desert Breeze Publishing!) while also jotting down notes for the third. My first young adult novel is about 85% complete…well, the first draft anyway. I’m also brainstorming a series of novellas based around a female Sherlock/Bones type character, which I’m super excited about. In fact, it’s been hard not to push everything aside to work on that.
How does your work differ from others in its genre? This is tough for me to answer, mostly because I’m the least objective person about my writing. I like to think I bring an interesting mix of character-driven stories backed up by mountains of research and my personal experiences. My day job (forensic scientist) gives me insight to the latest developments in forensics as well as a look inside the heads of people who work in law enforcement. I want to know what makes them (us) tick. I suppose that’s the scientist part of me, which I’ve learned to meld with my writing.
Why do you write what you do? I write what I write simply because it speaks to me. I love when God intervenes in my life and proves me wrong, so I like to put characters in situations where He does the same. Sometimes it’s in a major way, other times it’s a small voice. Both defy logic and make a profound impact. Just as I like to understand what makes people tick, I then like to dream about what would make them change, either for better or worse. How do those changes hold up to everyday life? To extreme duress? Those are the questions I love, and ultimately, only God can truly change a person.
How does your writing process work? Well, I’d like to say it’s organized chaos, but mostly it’s just chaos. I’ve tried writing by the seat of my pants as well as plotting everything out before I wrote the first word. My debut novel, Learning to Die, is a product of the latter approach. Since then, I’ve found I’m somewhere in the middle of a plotter and a pantser. I’ve found that if I understand my characters before I begin, I don’t have to have every detail of the plot lined up before I start writing.
So, I usually begin with a character chart/questionnaire. I found one that’s around 12 pages long and ridiculously thorough, but I love it! This is essential for me to find out who my character is and what she wants. It also forces me to think about things I might not have planned to include in the story but that will color her backstory.
Once I’ve met my characters, I introduce them to each other on the page. I love a great first line, but it usually doesn’t happen for me on a first draft. It’s difficult to write without editing every sentence, but I try to push through. Sometimes, once I’ve gotten the beginning on the page, I’ll take a moment to develop my outline a little more. My favorite thing to do is write a few notes for each scene on an index card. It seems a little less daunting if I’m only writing a scene at a time, and it cuts down on some filler when I’m not sure what to do next.
My critique groups usually see the second draft of my work, after I’ve read through for as many mistakes as I can find. I like a fresh set of eyes who don’t know how the story ends. After the story’s been through the group, I incorporate their comments into the manuscript and print it out so I can catch errors easier. If I’ve done any major rewrites, I may send it back through the group again. If not, I give it to a couple beta readers (usually my mom and my sister).
Tag, You’re It!
I’ve enlisted three of my writer friends to pick up the hop from here. They all happen to belong to one of my critique groups, so they’ve helped me tremendously on my journey. Sometime in the next couple of weeks each of them will answer the same four questions in their respective blogs. Be sure to watch for their posts. They are:
Renee Blare writes romance and suspense. When she’s not busy working as a pharmacist, she loves spending time outdoors. She weaves faith and hope into the fabric of her fiction…where the wild meets the Forgiven. Her first book, To Soar on Eagles Wings is scheduled to be published by Prism Book Group in March of 2015. Stop by Renee’s blog, Inspirational Moments, to see what she has to say about these questions.
Peggy Trotter is a schoolteacher by day, Christian author by night… and loving every minute of it. Peggy loves to write about the Lord. From contemporary to historical romance, her characters find themselves in impossible situations relying on a wondrous God. Due to be published by Prism Book Group in April 2015, watch forYear of Jubilee. Visit her blog to see her answers.
Nancy Bolton is a Christian writer who loves the Lord. A wife of 41 years, she’s a mother of five sons and has two beautiful grandchildren. Her portfolio includes poetry, song lyrics, short stories, non-fiction and fiction works. Women’s fiction is her lastest endeavor, and she writes quite the variety from contemporary and historical romance to fantasy. Above all, she strives to show how God changes human lives in both the huge and tiny ways. Soon to be published in September, The Right Ingredients by Prism Book Group! Watch for her answers to these questions in a few days on her blog.