Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Hop: My writing process - take 2

I first took part of this hop about six months ago, but with full blown, third trimester preggo-brain, I completely forgot. When I realized I'd already answered these questions, I nearly declined the opportunity. I read over the answers I gave back in April, and realized that drafting Wildwood - the final book in the Moonlit Trilogy - has changed a lot about my process. So I answered them again, if only to chart my growth, and I enjoyed reflecting on how much I learned while writing book 3.

Thank you, Brittney Joy, author of the Red Rock Ranch series and fellow equestrian, for inviting me to follow her on the hop. I adored the first book in Brittney's series, Lucy's Chance, and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, which is coming out this fall. With a tagline like this: "Sixteen year old Lucy Rose is spending her first summer away from home and she has two things on her mind: an abandoned, violent horse and a blue eyed cowboy... only neither is hers." How could I resist? We also both have an obvious love for writing a lead female character with grit and a feisty streak. Learn more about Brittney Joy and the Red Rock Ranch series on her blog:

Now for the blog hop writing process questions:

1. What am I currently working on?

I am currently working on "Wildwood," the third and final book in the Moonlit trilogy. At this point, two dimensions are at play, so I'm using a multi-POV approach to braid the sides together. Characters on both sides are gaining different pieces of information - and not all of them are true. The reader will see their mistakes/wrong turns long before they do. Using the multi-POV approach has been the most challenging thing I've done with my writing so far/ It's so important to have a reason for why the next POV is chosen, and to layer the plot lines in a way that is seamless and natural. I'm really excited for readers to experience how this tale concludes. The paths and endings of several aspects/subplots took me completely by surprise

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

The Moonlit trilogy is a very different read in general. The first book (Moonlit) is not a straight-shot plot, but more like a puzzle. Once you reach the final chapters, I think you experience Tanzy's moment of shock with her when she realizes how far she was lead from where she believed she was going. The second book is more like a bullet- it's direct, fast-paced, and action-oriented. The third book goes back to the elements of mystery I used in the first book, but the characters are kept more in the dark than the reader.

Also, two major thematic differences are the use of love/romance as a sub-plot and not the main point of the story. Horses are used as a setting; the main character, Tanzy Hightower, was raised on a farm, and has working knowledge of the equine industry. In books 2 (Windswept) and 3 (Wildwood), the wild/feral aspect of horses is explored, as Tanzy's blood has been replaced with that of an ancient wild stallion. Her environment and the use of horses in it reflects what's happening inside of her.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Sometimes this world seems too sharp at its edges, too mean or cruel, and in the depths on my being I know beyond all reasons there has to be something more. I explore the thoughts of what that more could be through my stories. My mind is quick to leave this reality and scurry down a path of what-ifs. I use horses as a vehicle to take these journeys because they've always possessed a kind of magic for me. They are excellent teachers, and they ground me and make me feel like I'm flying at the same time.

4. How does my writing process work?

My writing process evolved a lot for book 3. I used to tear apart each sentence as I was drafting, and that slowed me way down. I'd get so involved in how to say it I'd forget to just say it and move on. Also, since I used five POVs in book three, I had to use what I call a "short-projection," where I outlined the main purpose of the next 3-4 chapters before writing them. This was my first attempt at any kind of an outline, as I've been a total panster before this manuscript. I wrote the entire first draft before incorporating any edits, and kept a separate word document where I made notes to myself regarding any edits to what I'd already written, large or small. Once I began the second draft, I tackled that list first, and then reviewed the story as a whole, editing as I went. I just sent the second draft to beta readers to make sure the story is solid before I spend a lot of time/energy polishing the actual writing.

Another key part of my writing process is not writing. If I'm not feeling inspired, I don't force it for the most part. Every now and then I can tell it's just me not focusing or seeing a scene clearly, and then I make myself slog through it. But getting outside, especially to the barn, is a critical part of my creative process for bigger-scale plotting. My imagination works much better in the open air.

Time to Tag!

I'm tagging the lovely, one-of-a-kind, force of nature Sarah Ashley Jones, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Indie Girl Con this past February, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing again at UTopYA. She just revealed the cover of her newest book: Rebel Souls. She's crazy busy, so I'm not sure when her post will go up, but her blog is worth checking out regularly, so check back if it's not up yet!

Click here to go directly to Sarah's blog.

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