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Monday, February 24, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

No, this is not my writing space. But wouldn't it be
 distractingly cool?
Kim Rendfeldauthor of sweepingly epic and historically accurate The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar (forthcoming), invited me to participate in this blog hop tour and answer four questions about my writing process.
My Writing Process

1) What are you working on?

Currently, I'm in the ideas stage for the third part of my Providence series. 

It started with "Hope & Benevolent," a novellette about a college girl who tries to outdo her sister, who's so talented, she not only moves things with her mind, but also heals wounds and maladies (a great rarity). 

Before I left North Carolina, I completed the first draft of the second part, Waterfire. It's a novella about the terrible school system set up for firestarters and the lengths a group of them have to go to in order to overcome those obstacles. 

The third will deal with issues of psychics in this paranormal Providence, and will tie in with both of the other stories. I'm also trying to decide whether to self publish these strange little stories. Other exciting projects are also in the idea stage.

Providence as seen from the Mall. When it's not iced over,
Waterplace Park is where Waterfire (real and literary) takes place. My characters
Kelly and Brian end their October stroll on the other side of the bluish glass building, foreground. 
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

My historical fiction is different already because of its setting: medieval Spain, the most awe-inspiring place and time I've ever come across. I like to write historical fiction so that the reader is immersed in the period, but also sympathizes with the characters as much as they would with any contemporary person. Also, I can't seem to help it — my pacing is ten times faster than other historical fiction I've read. 

The magical realism and/or fantasy I write tends to be much sunnier than what I read. Terrible things happen, of course, otherwise there's no story. But the optimism and enthusiasm with which I consider my real life colors my writing as well. Readers often take this lightness as comedy. That's fine. Laughter is good for the soul.

3) Why do you write what you do?

Whether it's about an incident in medieval Spain I've researched to the rafters or just a collection of my experiences and inspirations, no one else can write the stories I do. Would anyone care if they never got written? My writing is an act of faith that someone would!

4) How does your writing process work?

I seem to thrive on routine, which I sorely lack lately. Weirdly enough, going to bed at the same time and doing the same kinds of things opens up my inspiration so the ideas flow. Of course, when I get an idea, I have to postpone bedtime or get up early to jot it down.

It's essential to have a routine during the actual work of writing, too. I've been most inspired and productive when I've set myself a word count goal and sit down at the same place (whether at my desk or on the hotel couch with a laptop) at the same time each day with no distractions. 

I think this sort of spatial routine trains the body to recall what it's like to inhabit the creative space, so the mind responds to a pattern it recognizes with discipline and the fun part — making all the crazy connections and playing with language — follows naturally. I usually use a playlist of music I've compiled for the specific project and have certain sentimental objects around unless I'm moving — which I'm now certain I'm going to do a lot less of!

If you'd like to hop backwards, visit the blog of Marta Merajver, bilingual author of Just Toss the Ashes and many other fascinating fiction and non-fiction titles.

Coming March 10: Kathleen Rollins, who writes utterly original prehistoric epics, will post about her writing process. It's sure to be unmissable!

Thanks for stopping by! This is my last blog post until March, when I shall discuss critique groups, job hunting, and the publishing world. Your input is always appreciated.