Hello, friends, fans and anyone just randomly stumbling in! Welcome!
So, I was wondering what my next blog post should be, and Deb E. Howell became the cosmic messenger bestowing upon my ever-so-humble self a sign by tagging me for the My Writing Process Blog Tour, so in case you don’t know her, let me introduce you:
Deb is a lovely, lovely writer from New Zealand whose writing I had the pleasure of discovering on a writers site before she even got published! Looking at her bio now, though, I see she’s been hiding things from me. I just discovered that she traded study of nematophagus fungus in for fiction. How did I not know this, Deb? Such secrets. Tss! We’ll be talking about this later.
Anyway, I have to be grateful that she abandoned the fungus for fiction, because her book Healer’s Touch has one of the coolest concepts I’ve read in a long, long time (like ever, maybe); it’s about a girl who has a gift where her body heals itself from any injury – but at a cost to anyone nearby… You should check it out!
Aaaand the next part involves me answering a few questions:
What am I working on?
Editing Heiress of Magic, in which there’s lots of sparkly magic and all sorts of hopefully interesting relationships and situations, including the pair of disgruntled enchanters stuck together in a pendant.
I’m also writing new stuff on Heiress of Rebellion, in which the plan is that Seriah becomes a total kick-butt heroine!
Writing on Try to Control Us, too, in which Anzaria gets wings and subjects everyone to her vocal opinion of that fact and her general sarcasm…
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Er… I’m writing it? 🙂
Honestly, I couldn’t say. I’d like to think that my books hit the perfect balance between plot/fantasy and romance, where the romance doesn’t drag down the plot so much as give it texture and depth and motivation, but that’s not something I can really judge, and so far I haven’t gotten enough outside feedback to say whether my books are different at all. (hint, hint, anyone want to give me some reviews of Heiress of Healing or beta read Heiress of Magic?)
Why do I write what I do?
Because I love love stories, and I love humor, and I love adventure and mystery and magic, and I believe all of those elements can come together into something wondrous and beautiful, in a story that can wrap you inside it so thoroughly that you won’t want to disentangle yourself from it when you finish it. I want a tale that I can live and breathe and feel, and when I write my characters, I want it to be real.
I write what I write because it’s the world I fall into when my words hit the page, the world I see as I walk home in the evening and look up at the shadows of the trees against the starlit sky; when I imagine flying creatures blotting out the heavens, and lovers dancing over moonlit cobblestones, and an enchantress casting sparkling stars into the night, and a fire-seller with tormented eyes but undying love. It opens up a realm that is gorgeous and fascinating, and yet with its own darkness and treacheries, as well.
How does your writing process work?
Well, this is about how it works: I sit down and force myself to write. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but generally I plod onward. Then it goes something like this:
Idiot. Hey, Idiot!
At which I look around. The cats look at me and I look at them and I ask Did you speak? And they’re like, No, dude, we didn’t. We’re cats. We don’t speak.
Don’t look at the cats. (the voice says) Cats don’t speak. And don’t look at the computer screen, either. I’m sure as heck not in that drivel you’ve been typing the past three hours. I’m in your head. I’m your character. And I’m telling you that you’re getting it all wrong.
I see that crap you’ve been writing. I’m here to help you get it right. You want the real idea, don’t you?
Me: Yes, please! Yes! I do want the real idea!
Come and get me then, baby. But first! There are a few rules we need to get down.
Me: Uh, Okay…
No breaks. No sleep breaks. No food breaks. No potty breaks. Got that? Once we start writing, you’d better run to keep up, because I’m not stopping. You stop, you lose me and I won’t be coming back until I’m good and ready to, if ever. You got that?
Me: Uh… yes?
My bladder: Not a good idea.
Me: You’ll live.
Bladder: I don’t live. You live. I only serve.
Are you worthy of telling my story, human? Are you really worthy? Can you keep up despite how it will CRUSH those who serve you?
Me: Uh… yes, I think?
Stomach (accompanied by hunger pang): Did you eat breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
Me: Uh… I’ll eat tomorrow?
Mind: It’s nearly 11pm. You need sleep for work. You know, so you don’t fall asleep at the job that actually pays your bills and keeps you fed, unlike this writing spiel you’re playing at?
Ready? On your mark, get set…
Me: I’m ready, I’m ready! Just first let me…
Freaking crap! And I’m off running (well, writing…)
Bladder: Uh, sorry to bother you, but I’m getting full.
I ain’t stopping, human!
Me to bladder: Hold it in.
Bladder: Order received.
Stomach: I’m weak.
(not important enough to merit response)
Mind: You need sleep. It’s like 3am.
No stopping! Keep up!
Writing, and writing…
Bladder: Uh, I really gotta go.
Legs: We’re getting swollen.
Me to bladder: Hold it in.
Me to legs: Who said you could speak?
Mind: 5am! Sleep! Job! The thing that pays your bills!
Are you worthy, human? Are you really worthy?
Me: I am, I am!
Bladder: I’m in pain here, man. Like, serious pain.
Me: Serve in silence.
Mind: Sleep. You are getting very sleepy. Sleeeeeep.
Me to fingers: Override mind.
Fingers keep typing. Eyes blurry. Can’t really focus on screen but valiantly pretending to.
Aaaand finished! (stands above me as I tumble out of the chair.) You did well, human. (tilts head, hearing rustle from somewhere else in the flat) Oh, did you have a boyfriend? Hope he’s still around. Well, gotta run! See you next time. (pauses) You DO want there to be a next time, don’t you?
Me (croaking): Yes! Please!
Groveling humans are productive humans. But now you have to edit out all that drivel you wrote before I came.
Me (clasping hands in supplication): Mercy!
(character no longer there)
Me to body: You can get up now. Bathroom, then sleep.
Body: Screw you.
Zulejka: Meow (translation: Human, we require Food, Water, and you haven’t collected our Stools from the Cat Litter Bins, and what are you collecting them for, anyway? Are you using them for some dubious Form of human Art? You are a weird, weird Whisker.)
Okay, so the meow was only to get my attention; what I actually translated was the expression on her cat face. And, yes, Zulejka speaks in Capital Letters.
I crawl to the window, grip the windowsill and drag myself up by fingers frozen into claws from writing cramps. My bleary eyes blink at the dawning world outside. Work? I think.
I see goats.
Prancing in the ruins of the demolished building outside my flat.
Or is that a cat?
Yup, that’s the first part of the process – not collecting cat stools, I mean the parts before that, where I force myself to start writing not really always sure what I’m going to write, and then up skips inspiration La Dee Da and suddenly I won’t stop until hours and hours later, sometimes really not to eat, to sleep, or anything, and a couple times it has lasted until around 6 or 7am when I had to go to work in just a few hours. Enter the well-known Zombie Daze.
Then comes the editing process. At which point I’m like this: Oh, wow, writing was soooo easy. I was a flitting, frolicking princess sowing a garden of text by tossing word seeds here and there. And Lo and behold! A thick, beautiful garden of text burst into bloom, lovely to behold – but Lo! There be weeds. And Lo! The writer must do the weeding. And Lo! I go kneeling amongst my lovely garden of text and I tear out the ugly weeds choking my story to death. I labor and sweat for hours and behold! There be but one patch of 500 words weeded. And I look at the rest of the garden of text and I think I’ll never get this done! Why can’t I just put it out like this because, you know, it’s pretty even with the weeds, isn’t it?
And then I imagine the reader wading through the weeds, being dragged down by them and giving up before ever getting to the good parts, or not recognizing them among all the smut – or, oops, getting digested by that particularly poisonous part I forgot to omit – sorry about that!
And so I drop back to my knees and start the agonizingly slow process of tearing out the uglies again and beautifying the beauties.
Then comes formatting the book, and I don’t even want to go there.
And that, ladies and gents, is my process. Thanks for coming to the show. I hope you leave in a better mood than you came in and that mean old life out there won’t beat you up too much when you return. Hope to see you again next time!
That is, after I tag three more uber-fortunate writers 🙂 Which victims shall it be this time… Hmm. I think I’ll choose a couple of fellow Prague writers who I know have blogs. So, Rebekah Mays , Petra Valica and Damien Galeone, you’re it!
Btw, I’m still looking for beta readers for Heiress of Magic if you’re interested in seeing it before anyone else does. And it should be out by May 8th. That is, if I crack down and sleep a little less each night… Four hours is already too much to sleep anyway, right?