Monday, 19 May 2014

My Writing Process {TAG}

Bonjour, lovely people! I'm here today to do the "My Writing Process" tag, which I was invited to do by Robin Moran. (Clicky click to hear her thoughts on writing horror and what REAL vampires should be.)

What am I working on? 

Right now I'm drafting a story under the oh-so-exciting title of…SURFING GIRLS. This is not, of course, its real title, because I suck at them. It also doesn't really hugely reflect the content of the story, but let's be real, it's only called that because I needed a name so I could save the file.

Anyway. It's YA contemporary, as per usual, and tells the story of four friends (Britt, Nicole, Annabelle, and Tristan) on a mission to complete a task started by their now dead friend Cass. It involves surfing (derr), charity galas, girls in love with girls, girls in lust with boys, and a diary.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess I'd have to say voice, and also my writing style. I write in third person, which really isn't that common in the world of YA, and especially not within contemp. I also always have multiple POVs--the MS I'm querying right now has two, while the one I'm drafting has four…and then a little more. Plus, just to embarrass myself and make it clear exactly how much ego I have, I like to think that my writing is pretty. (Style over substance, perhaps…)

Why do I write what I do?

Contemporary is my absolute favourite genre to read, and I've never written anything else. I love dealing in realism and grounding my characters in situations that most of us have experienced at some point. When I think of someone reading my book, I often think of a girl who is having a hard time with something, or feels bad that day, or needs something to help her escape, and I want her to be able to find that in my stories. Obviously any kind of book can provide an escape to someone, regardless of what genre or category it is, but I think that because those were the books that spoke to me when I was a teenager, they became what I want to use to reach people.

How does your writing process work?

It usually starts with me thinking of characters. Sometimes I hear a name that I love and decide that I want to use that for a character, or maybe I'll see a picture and think I want to write about someone that looks like that. Then I have to come up with the rest of their story and create some kind of conflict (which I suck at). I'll have a couple of scenes in my head that I want to take place, and how I want to start, so then I do.

I draft in Scrivener, which I love because it's so easy to skip back through scenes, or to keep records of important dates/minor characters/research notes. Once I have a first draft I do a first, pretty extensive edit on a hard copy, input the changes and switch to reading it on my iPad. Then it's edit-input-read, edit-input-read, until I have a good-ish draft.

I can work in silence or with music, but the music always comes from my selection of Super Special Writing Playlists. (Or most anything by Sufjan Stevens.) I aim to write 500 words a day, at least four days a week, which hasn't been happening lately since I've been jumping between drafting and revising so much. I'm a slow drafter but a pretty fast reviser, so it all balances out in the end.

I don't have a special place to write in--when I'm at home, it's usually sitting at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, curled up on the sofa if I'm feeling in a gotta-be-comfy mood, or out in the garden if it's sunny. In the dead of winter you can also find me writing in bed, because what's the point of being a writer if you don't take advantage of that particular perk?

I do have my favourite table at my nearest coffee shop and a picnic bench in the park that I like during the summer, but I'm pretty flexible. I often find myself scribbling notes on slips of paper when I'm at work, so really, I mean it when I say I can write anywhere.

Mostly, my writing process is a case of closing my eyes and throwing myself into the great unknown, because when it comes down to it, it's impossible to know exactly what I'm doing (seriously, when it comes to drafting, sometimes it's like going on a magical adventure that's really not so magical). And sometimes the whole thing is so painful and stressful that I just want to get out of the other side alive.

The joys of being a writer, right? Ha!

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I have lost track of who has and hasn't done this tag, so I'm going to be lame and not tag anybody slash tag anybody who wants to do it!


  1. I'd definitely like to read more YA contemporary written in the third person. I was reading Lainey Gossip the other day and she was talking about NA books and the trend for the girl version then the guy version. She said maybe if some of these stories were written in third person this wouldn't need to happen. Obviously it's down to preference but I kind of agree with her. Sometimes it's a little bit boring reading 'I, I, I' all the time. I don't know...Anyway, I think I've said it before but I like the sound of your Surfing Girls - good luck!

  2. Thanks Sophia! Yeah, I definitely find reading first person can get repetitive after a while…sometimes I just want a break from being RIGHT THERE in a character's head. (Sidenote--I didn't realise Lainey talks about more than celebrity scandal…I need to actually pay a visit to her site!)

  3. I like the sound of your WiP. I mostly like the fact that you seem to have a friendship going on in it which I think is lacking in YA. I always feel that the MC is usually a bit of loner who does have people they talk to but aren't really friends with. It's nice to see a group of friends here!