Friday, March 21, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Kat Ross, (who can be found at: author of the super cool book, SOME FINE DAY, invited me to participate in the:
"My Writing Process Blog Tour."
Yay me! *wink*

The blog tour includes wonderful authors who explain their writing processes. So be sure to check out the blog link above and the three below. And in the meantime, I will attempt to explain my own process. YIKES.

The questions:

1) What am I working on?
I'm currently working on two projects ... at the same time ... which is nuts. In the past I've only worked on one project at a time, but when I tried to decide what story to write next, there were two ideas that just would not leave me alone. And as a result, I'm working on them at a parallel pace. And no, I won't give you a description, yet. For now they are both my little secrets, but I will tell you that they are thrillers for the young adult market. 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough question to answer, but first let me say that my genre is: THRILLERS for the young adult reader. I'm not certain how my work differs, but I can tell you that my female main characters are strong young women who make a few bad decisions and then they save themselves. No Prince Charming rides in on a horse to save them. They got themselves into the mess, and they will get themselves out of it. :) Of course, there is a little romance in each of my books, but it's not the main focus, and the girls don't need the guys to save them (even though it really seems like there's no other possible way at some points during the stories).
3) Why do I write what I do?
I am a huge fan of Dean Koontz, and while some of his books are unpredictably HORROR based, he is also an amazing writer of thrillers. I want to bring exciting thrillers to young adult readers ... the kind of books that you can't put down because you just have to know what is going to happen next.
4) How does my writing process work?

1. I read as many award winning and best-selling books as I possibly can.

2. I read books on the craft of novel writing, and especially before I begin writing a new story, I read a NEW book on the craft that I've not read before. This really helps refresh my brain on the skills and techniques involved in great writing. Usually while I'm reading, my brain will spark with character and plot ideas for my next manuscript.

3. I write a query letter, or an elevator pitch, or a quick summary ... BEFORE I write the story. I have found that this makes writing the manuscript easier. First of all, by writing out the pitch, I can make sure the idea is going to work and then stay on track. I even pass that pitch on to my beta readers and critique partners to get their feedback. It's amazing what kind of plot problems people can pick out just from your short pitch.

4. Once I've polished the idea, then I use Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet to rough out the main ideas of my plot. I'm mostly a "pantser" when it comes to writing, but I've found that by outlining the big ideas or main points of my story I can work out problems ahead of time and save effort later.

5. Character development exercises from books by James Frey and Donald Maass have helped me get to know my characters better before I start writing.

6. Then I jump in and write the first draft. I *try* to finish the first draft without revising and editing; otherwise (because I'm such a perfectionist) I would be stuck forever polishing the first chapter.

7. Revising is my favorite part. I start with the overall big ideas and work my way down to the small individual word choices. I believe every word needs to move the plot forward or develop a character. If the word, sentence, paragraph, scene, or chapter doesn't do one of these two things, then it either needs to be cut or seriously revised for improvement.

8. While I'm in the revision stage, I will send chapters off to my awesome critique partners. They lovingly rip my work to shreds, and then I revise it again. I prefer to stage my critique partners so that they are not reading the same version. I will usually send a chapter to one critique partner, revise as necessary, and then send it to another partner for new feedback.

9. Once I'm satisfied with the manuscript I will send it to a few beta readers who tend to look at the bigger overall story rather than nit-picky little details. I make necessary improvements based on their feedback.

10. I send the manuscript to my ROCK STAR agent. After she reads it, she sends me an editorial letter with suggestions for improvement. And I revise again (because her suggestions are always spot-on, and I always slap myself in the head and ask, why didn't I see that sooner?)

11. My agent submits my manuscript to editors at publishing houses. If the planets are aligned properly, it sells. Then the editor sends me a new editorial letter, and I revise again (slapping myself in the head again, asking, why did I not see that sooner?!)

12. And then I start the writing process all over again.


Want to read about other writers? Check out these awesome people. Visit and follow their blogs now, and then check back with them on March 28th when they'll feature a post about their writing processes:

Christi Corbett lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. The home’s location holds a special place in her writing life; it stands just six hundred feet from the original Applegate Trail and the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

In her younger days, Nicole Singer snuck out of bed far too often to read by the glow of her nightlight. Not much has changed in 20 years, except she’s learned to keep the light on and her late nights now consist of reading AND writing. She writes fantasy and is currently working on a space-opera series, as well as outlines for a middle grade fantasy, YA steampunk and a historical fantasy. Her short stories have appeared in Soundings Review, Running in the Dark and the e-anthology Overcoming Adversity. As a public relations counselor, she also has written and edited articles for a variety of publications and assisted with promotions for three nonfiction book launches.

Artemis Grey was raised on fairy tales and the folklore of Appalachia. She can often be found writing by a crackling fire or romping through the woods on horseback. It is her hope to make readers look at the world they’ve always seen, and see the world they’ve always envisioned. She has had five poems published in Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories in the online magazine Underneath The Juniper Tree.

What does your writing process look like?


  1. I love how the author has walked us through her process. I like how she says: I write a query letter, or an elevator pitch, or a quick summary ... BEFORE I write the story. Very interesting. Great post and informative too. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Margo! So excited for my post this Friday. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's posts so far. I''m with you - revising is one of my favorite parts too. ;)

  3. I gave this post a shout out on my blog, too, though I think it also needs a G+1 too. :O)

  4. I like reading about your process. Revision is my favorite part, too!