My very dear friend and critique partner, Diane Bohannon of Revision Warriors, tagged me in the My Writing Process blog hop. Woo hoo. Instant post topic!
1.) What am I currently working on?
I am steeling myself to submit my adult epic fantasy novel to two publishing houses that accept un-agented submissions. From Ashes is the first novel of a trilogy set in a theocratic nation bordered by deadly dragons and shape-shifting Interraphym. When the dragons offer heir-apparent, Rhalyn, the chance to undo his greatest regret in exchange for his help in their suit for peace, single mother Kahja will finally have to face the past, because she knows something besides her memory is missing, and she wants it back.
I am also about 20,000 words into book two and can't wait to get all down on paper!
2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write fantasy from a Christian worldview. No dualism (good and evil in balance), no secular humanism (we can fix everything ourselves), and no glorifying immorality (I do strive for realism, but I think one of my strengths is making things that should make a person uncomfortable actually make a reader uncomfortable). Some of my very favorite books have all these things, and I feel like I can't recommend them without contributing to the delinquency of society. However, I am also drawn to examine the messier aspects of life, fallout from a fallen creation. I like asking hard questions. So...I kind of straddle the line between secular and Christian fantasy--which is hard to pitch to an agent!
3.) Why do I write what I do?
I wanted a fantasy where dragons are evil and good is good, even if difficult. Watching my characters struggle for the answers I want helps me clarify my questions. Also, it is so much fun to get to create a world that surprises me and can be both "pleasing" and "instructing." I love Tolkien and Lewis' thoughts on fairy stories and fantasy being able to show things that are truer than life.
4.) How does my writing process work?
My writing process starts with a protagonist in danger--a scene that pops into my head. Then I just follow her around until I know what she fears more than the dragon/ bounty hunter/ looming civil war. :-) By the time I had twenty pages of book one, the rest of the story played in my head like a movie.
I have little time to actually write things down, so it helps me to start a computer folder for each project and a word document for each scene. I order the scenes by number and give them titles that jog my memory. For each of the unwritten scenes, I write a sentence or two about what needs to happen. If I have any other bits of dialogue or inspiration, I add those as well. I don't always feel like writing sequentially, so if a later scene is calling my name, I just open the file and work on that one. I've noticed that the middle seems to come easier after I write the climax. When I'm stuck, I leave the house and write by hand. Deadlines help. Writer meetings with my awesome critique partners help more.
I'm tagging my awesome critique partner Henry McLaughlin, author of Journey to Riverbend. Henry, an award winning author, writes to bring glory to God and give hope, encouragement and entertainment to his readers. He has honed his craft through courses, conferences, workshops and critique groups. Check out his writing process next week.