Friday, August 01, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

Well, it's been a while. As usual, right?

I have many exciting things to share, but in the middle of it all, I was tagged yesterday by my dear writing friend and mentor Donita K. Paul for a "My Writing Process" blog tour. She was tagged by author Cheryl McKay, who was tagged by Rene Gutteridge, who was tagged by "Mom's Night Out" screenwriter Andrea Nasfell, who to my geeky delight, had also tagged Cory Edwards, the screenwriter/director behind one of my favorite animated films ever, "Hoodwinked."

So, here goes ...

1)    Who are you?

As my blog header says, wife, mother, writer, barbarian queen. To be more exact, wife of one for 27 years, mother of 8 on earth, 1 in heaven, writer of many things since third grade, and the most distractible and disorganized mother-of-many I know, which explains the "barbarian queen" part. :-) (Or see under "the scoop" for a longer explanation.) Amateur historian, seamstress, purveyor of home-crafted soups and light-and-fluffy whole-wheat biscuits. Homeschooler and birth junkie. Above and beyond all that, a follower of Christ. Not, you’ll note, a subscriber to any particular denomination, but I do believe in the absolute deity of Christ and in a literal, bodily Resurrection ... there are solid, historical reasons and evidence for both.

2)    What are you working on?

A historical romance, set sometime on the eve of the American Revolution (I haven’t worked out exactly when, yet). Not sure how much I can share at the moment, since I just received the actual contract today, but it’s about a young wagonmaster who moonlights as a vigilante. I think it’s the silliest story idea I’ve ever marketed, but since I tend to take myself too seriously, it probably provides some balance. It’s definitely proving to be a lot of fun!

3)    How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Well, which aspects of the genre? :-) And which genre? I have three, historical, contemporary, and fantasy. I’m only published so far in historical romance, so I’ll talk about that.

Historical first, from others in the inspirational/Christian market ... well, I’m a bit of a history nerd, and I’m afraid that tends to leak into my stories. I also prefer the paths less taken—in this case, the colonial era. My nerdiness really comes out in my long historical, Loyalty’s Cadence, which is currently under consideration by a pretty exciting general-market publisher. (Yes, I use lots of adverbs when blogging ... I try to curtail it in my fiction. Truly.)

From others in the mainstream market ... probably my heat level. I believe in working in a good dose of realistic tension, but without the detail others have. Some of my crit partners think I still have too much detail.

I’m also very open about matters of faith in all my stories—I cannot separate my own worldview from my writing, and I believe that’s the case of all writers, whether they’re honest about it or not. I try not to beat people over the head with Christianity, and judging by reviews and feedback on my first novella, Defending Truth, which even as a inspirational managed to final in a large writing contest among a slew of general-market novellas, I’ve mostly succeeded. Or at least I like to think so. :-)

4)    Why do you write what you do?

A sheer love for story ... love for history, and the stories I find there. A belief that we each have something to offer the world that others might not. At last weekend’s RWA conference, I heard someone say, “There is someone out there who can only hear the message they need in YOUR voice.” That resonated deeply with me, since over the years I’ve tended to feel I’m just one small voice in the cacophony that is our world ... one drop in an ocean of stories. And yet, in the eyes of God, I am individual, and I am precious. If He deems me worthy of this amazing gift of storytelling, who am I to argue with Him?

5)    How does your writing process work?

There’s a question. :-) So far, it’s been a little different with each story. Basically, the story idea drops into my head, sparked by research or something someone says, and it grows from there. I’ll simmer it a bit before putting fingertips to keyboard. At that point, sometimes I’ll just free-write my thoughts on the story, but for this novella, and the last, I had to write a one-page summary of the entire story as part of the proposal for selling the idea. It’s been a pleasant shock to find that I already know more about the story than I think, that the story often takes shape as I’m writing. This means I can only spend just so much time on the simmering before I actually have to get to work. :-) It also means that the writing itself has become an act of faith for me.

Writing in the middle of chaos: no discussion of my writing process would be complete without mentioning that I’m a mom of 8. Yes, really. And to complicate things, we homeschool. When we made our huge move halfway across country, the older four stayed behind in South Carolina. The oldest daughter is married, the older two boys are in college (we didn’t plan for the daughter to be married, really, it just worked out that way), with the oldest also engaged, and their next-younger brother is finishing high school at a local community college. Our house is a lot quieter these days, with only four at home, but interruptions are constant most of the day. And I crave at least relative quiet for stringing coherent words together, so some days (and some parts of the day) are easier than others. My daily goal is a mere 500 words, but I can usually double or triple that on a good day.

I’m on a pretty short deadline with this one, but we’ll need to start school in a couple of weeks, so I’m not sure what that’s going to look like ... :-)

Now, I’m supposed to tag two more, but I’m still working on that, so I’ll update later ...

UPDATE! My good and dear friend Lee, AKA Loriendil, AKA L.S. King, has agreed to play!

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