Welcome to my entry in the “My Writing Process” blog tour! In this blog relay, each author discusses his or her writing process and then passes the baton to three other authors. Last week, my talented friend (and one of the most wonderfully imaginative writers I know), Loretta Torossian, passed the baton to me. Please click on her name to visit her blog, where you can read more about her exciting projects and her own writing process.
So, here goes...
Right now I’m working on what I’ve fondly termed The Book that Will Not Die (otherwise titled Resurrecting Sunshine). Resurrecting Sunshine was my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those unfamiliar with it) project in 2009 and it’s been through several incarnations since. At one point it was even a semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.
It’s also been shelved more times than I’d like to admit (thus its loving TBTWND moniker), usually out of frustration or exhaustion but sometimes simply from the overwhelming feeling that I will just never get it right.
But each time I've filed it away under H for Hopeless, something always happens. Whether it’s a middle-of-the-night light bulb moment, insightful feedback and encouragement from an agent or editor, or just the gentle but steady push from a loyal critique partner, I always end up coming back to it. And I’m always glad when I do.
So at the risk of being wordy, I probably should at least mention what the book is about. Resurrecting Sunshine is the story of Adam, a 17-year-old boy who lost everything with the death of his one true love…until he’s approached by a scientist who proposes to bring her back through a technology combining cloning and memory implantation, with Adam’s help of course. In the process he will be forced to relive the devastating events that led to her death and will have to make the ultimate decision as to whether the cost of resurrecting her is just too high.
I guess I should start by saying that I’m a compulsive NaNoWriMo participant and have gleefully engaged in the ridiculous act of writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November for the last 11 years. For me, a first draft has to be quick and dirty. I can’t do it any other way.
That said, 30-day first drafts net me only the roughest of manuscripts, and I sometimes spend years revising, often with long gaps where I don’t touch the book at all and just let my thoughts about it percolate. I'd have to confess that my process is far from perfect. I'm not a great planner and I often struggle with plot complexity and "making it work."
Most writers would probably classify me a “pantser” (one who writes by the seat of her pants), but I’ve always hated that term. (Random note: Other ‘words’ I absolutely despise are awesomesauce and amazeballs) Me, I prefer to call it Writing Without a Roadmap. There’s nothing I like better than to dive in a project and just let it take me wherever it takes me. I’ve been known to start a book knowing only the first sentence, or a single image.
What I like about writing that way is the surprise, the amazing things that pop up that would never have found their way into my work if I’d stopped to plan it out. (As my significant other says jokingly, loosely quoting me, “Where did the birds come from? There weren’t supposed to be birds.”) For anyone who hasn’t, I’d recommend reading: No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo. It’s a quick, entertaining read, and he talks a lot about this particular phenomenon.
Also, I’ve found that writing 30-day drafts silences my inner critic (at least for those 30 days; revising is another story completely!) and opens me up to the universe. (And yes, I know how hokey that sounds, but it’s true.) During the month of November, when I’m in full-on quantity-over-quality mode, madly scribbling down words as they come to me, I feel like I am wide open to inspiration, an antenna for ideas. And there is nothing I love more.
Stay tuned for the next part of the relay as I pass the baton to three talented writers, who I had the good fortune of meeting through ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award). Next Monday (May 5) they will answer answer the same set of questions, so please stop by their blogs to read more about their projects and their own writing processes. (Click on their names to be taken to their blogs.)
Yusuf Toropov is the author or coauthor of over a dozen nonfiction books, including THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO WORLD RELIGIONS (Alpha Books) and BEYOND MERE CHRISTIANITY (Darussalam). He is also the author of the plays AN UNDIVIDED HEART, which was selected for development at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, and THE JOB SEARCH, which was produced off-Broadway. His debut novel, JIHADI: A LOVE STORY is currently a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. Toropov accepted Islam in 2003.
JD Faulkner lives in Seattle, WA with her two cats (who pretty much are in control). After surviving three years of law school stress and the hell of the bar exam, she decided she’d much rather be pursuing a more artistic form of employment. Thanks to a productive NaNoWriMo, MIRRORED TIME is her first completed novel and book one of the Time Archivist series. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dodging rain drops and devouring every book she can get her hands on.
Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.
You can find her blogging on her writing life at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy
She also blogs on her reading life every Friday on Best in Fantasy
Connie J. Jasperson’s body of work includes:
Huw, the Bard, a novel that takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive. Available as an ebook and in paper at http://bit.ly/HuwTheBard_UK or http://bit.ly/HuwTheBard_US.
Tales From the Dreamtime – a novella consisting of three modern fairy tales told in a traditional style. Available as an ebook, in paper, and as an Audiobook, narrated by the wonderful voice actor, Craig Allen.
Tower Of Bones Series:
Book 1, Tower of Bones, takes the reader to Neveyah, a world where the gods are at war, and one family holds the key to the salvation of the worlds.
Book 2, Forbidden Road, Picks up six years after the end of Tower of Bones. Destiny and ruin collide in the Valley of Mal Evol, and one will not return.