I was tagged by the lovely Clara Bowman-Jahn, author of Annie’s Special Day, to share the answer to four questions about my writing. Check out her website for information about her newest release. You can also visit her blog, facebook, and twitter.
What am I working on?
Right now, I’m working on a future, ruined-Earth sci-fi YA novel (with a Wild West twist) in which humanity willingly gives in to slavery in exchange for bread and circuses.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m a writer who crosses genres. I hate being confined (freedom is an important theme in my life and in my writing). I like being able to take elements from many genres: the imaginative aspects of science fiction (there are aliens in my story who enslave the human race in exchange for basic human needs—showers, food, water, and entertainment); the personal growth of a protagonist in a YA novel (I love Abigail Andrin’s spirit as she struggles against the world she faces); and the ruggedness of the Wild West (the world Earth has become is barren and dry and as wild as the West ever was).
Why do I write what I do?
For me, freedom is the most important theme in my life and in literature. In my personal life as well as in my political beliefs, I believe whole-heartedly in freedom. I believe people should be free to make choices with the understanding that choices come with responsibility. I wouldn’t want the government or some other authority telling me what I can or cannot do, so I believe in limited authority to the extent possible, with the knowledge that one’s freedom ends when one begins hurting others. This is an important theme in my WIP. Abby lives freely, but she never takes from others; she lives only off the bounty of her own hard work. She leaves others alone, but if they cross her and try to take what belongs to her, what she earned, she turns fiery and fights back.
How does my writing process work?
All my story ideas start as a little gem in my brain. I usually jot down the idea in a notebook. Then I let it simmer. I have notebooks and notebooks full of ideas. I’m not sure anyone’s life is long enough to write each of those into a story or a novel. But the best of those gems, the ones that really resonate with me, keep pressing on my brain until I start writing it. At that point, I’m an outliner. I need to create outlines because the ideas for characters and arcs and subplots come faster than I’m able to write them into a novel. So I jot down a fast outline, and I work from that. For me, writing novels should be done as quickly as possible, while all the characters and settings and twists are alive and balanced in my brain. I then let the first draft “cool” while working on other projects before coming back to edit.
My second edits take care of strengthening themes I’ve discovered during the first draft as well as adding foreshadowing. All subsequent drafts deal with smoothing out characters and adding interesting language and details that will make the book more enjoyable for the reader—making the characters and world pop into 3D.