What am I working on?
I'm working like crazy to get my first new adult romance novel, Starstruck, prepared for a March 31st release. The closer the date gets, the more filled with nervous anticipation I feel. This book is new territory for me, but a huge part of what I love about being indie is my ability to try out other genres whenever the mood takes me. For a long time I've wanted to tell the story central to Starstruck, and I hope it's one that will resonate with readers--though I very much hope not many of them have personal experience with being in an abusive relationship.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I admit it, sometimes I intentionally break genre conventions just for the fun of it. This is especially true of my fantasy novels, where I put a twist on traditional fairy tales. With The Eye of the Beholder, I wanted to tell the beast's side of the beauty and the beast story, because I always wondered what was going through his head. With Asleep, I wanted to write about a warrior princess who had to rescue a prince in distress.
With my dystopian series, Contributor, I spent a lot of time thinking about what the society would look like, building it from the ground up before I populated it with any characters. I wanted it to be a story about a girl fighting to overcome what she sees as a great wrong, while also exploring the possibilities of what the future might look like, given where our society is today.
Why do I write what I do?
The simple answer is that the stories are banging around in my head, begging to be unleashed, but my reasons differ depending on which genre I'm writing in at any give time.
For instance, when I write women's fiction, I pretty much write what I wish I saw on the screen when I watch a romantic comedy. There was a fantastic period that I think of as the golden age of romantic comedies, when movies like Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping were released. I adore stories about people falling in love, but I want to watch them fall in love. I want to see the angst, the uncertainty, and those breathless, giddy moments where the characters look at one another and wonder, "Does s/he feel what I feel?" And while the romance is central, I also want those stories to be about complete characters. I want to understand their psychology and learn what makes them tick.
How does my writing process work?
I drink way too much coffee and get cricks in my neck from staring at my computer screen for hours on end. Okay, that's just part of it, but it's a significant part of it.
Step one is to write a draft, and my rule for drafting is to write without stopping to make changes. I set a word count goal every day, and push myself to get at least that many words written, no matter how hard it may be to drag them out of my brain. I used to feel a lot of pressure to make my work perfect from the start, but I'm learning to tame my perfectionist side and fix what needs to be fixed during editing. I write very fast, so drafting is a pretty quick process for me.
I'm a total, unabashed pantser. I had a very elaborate outline for Infiltrator, the second Contributor book, and I ended up more or less chucking it out the window as I wrote. I do have extensive notes about how the society is constructed and how it functions, but I couldn't stick to a plan for how the story itself should proceed. Ideas take root in my brain, and I often see scenes from the book playing out in my head. Then I do my best to translate them onto paper. My stories have minds of their own, so I'm never guiding them. Instead, they're tolerating my being along for the ride, and where they go sometimes really takes me by surprise.
Once drafting is done, the extensive editing process starts. The draft goes through multiple revisions, as well as critique and feedback from my trusty alpha and beta readers. Then more editing and proofreading happens before the finished product is ready to go. I try to get it as perfect as possible, though mistakes slip past even a perfectionist like myself. In truth, my editorial process never ends, because whenever I reread one of my books, I never fail to find things I'd do differently. If I find any typos, I fix them and upload updated versions of my books ASAP.
Up next on the #mywritingprocess tour is fellow Infinite Inkling Aimee, who publishes as A.G. Henley. She's the author of the Brilliant Darkness series, and you can find out more about her at her website, www.aghenley.com.