Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

My fabulous friend and critique partner Brandi Barnett invited me to join her in blogging about the Writing Process. Brandi is the author of YA novel Glamour, and she blogs about the magic of everyday life at Thank you, Brandi, for inviting me to join the fun!

Now to the questions . . .

What are you working on?
I just finished a middle grade contemporary ghost story. Now I'm in the planning stages for a couple of Young Adult novels--both mysteries, one contemporary and the other historical. Each has its own little bit of metaphysical/paranormal flair, of course.

How does your work differ from other of its genre?
This is a tough one, so I'll focus on process rather than content. I don't know how other writers of ghostly mysteries get their ideas, but with me it almost always starts with place rather than character or plot. When I discover an out-of-the-ordinary setting, I start to wonder what sort of people might have inhabited it, and what kind of joys and trials they might have experienced. The story takes off from there.

Why do you write what you do?
Simply put, I try to write the kind of books I want to read. I love mysteries and historicals. I love Gothic settings. I can't get enough of characters who are haunted in some way -- by an actual ghost, by the past, by a loss, or perhaps by some trespass they've committed. I collect favorite (& sometimes random) story elements like a magpie, with the goal of mixing them up into something new. Something me.

How does your writing process work?
I'm a planner. I outline. I fill in character questionnaires. I create index cards for each scene and arrange them on a bulletin board. I love any sort of graphic organizer for planning OR revising a story. It's the drafting that nearly kills me -- seriously, sometimes it's about as painful and ugly as ripping the guts from my body. (Well, not quite, but you know what I mean!) Revision isn't that much easier, but for me it's more fun, partly because the graphic organizers come back into play. I like to chart story elements to identify gaps and redundancies. For instance, when I'd completed a solid draft of my middle grade novel, Steve and I charted each chapter on a huge dry-erase board. So fun!

We spent three full days on this. My husband is a prince, I tell you. (Also, it was OU's semester break.)

Next Monday, April 28th (or in Valerie's case, a little earlier than that), three friends will join the blog hop and give you the deets on their writing process. Do pay them a visit!

Jerry Bennett is an illustrator and pre-published graphic novelist hard at work on his 'underwater western'.
Jerry blogs at Tumblr, and you also can follow him on Facebook.

Mari Farthing is a freelance editor and writer in the OKC area who blogs about family, music, pop culture and just about everything else you could think of at Mari, quite contrary.

Valerie Lawson is a young adult contemporary author who also dabbles in middle grade mysteries. She lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her husband and two children who suffer through her delusions of grandeur and bouts of madness with grace. Follow her writing journey at Valerie R Lawson: Barbies on Fire.

Have a great week, everyone!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]


  1. Steve is an awesome husband! I love the idea of charting a novel. That's just not an activity most people suggest for a date night. What fun!

    Thanks for sharing your writing process. I'm looking forward to reading the others next week.

    1. I always feel so lame when I write about my own writing. But it's good to be reflective. And I bet you and Garrett would have a lot of fun doing the revision chart! Not that it was a tension-free experience, heh . . . .

  2. I love that you connect with a place first and let it 'speak' to you - that probably explains why your settings are so tangible to the reader!

    1. I've only once started with character, and that story only took off when I figured out the setting. Strange, isn't it? I might be doing it wrong. :)