I know, I know, it must come as a shock to see new words added here. Somehow I couldn’t find anything I wanted to say, in spite of all the crazy things writing-related things that have happened in the last month.
For example, two days after my last post, I went to my first ever writer convention in Toronto – Ad Astra. What an amazing time! I met up with a handful of my online writing pals and discovered that meeting people you’ve only known online doesn’t have to be awkward or strange! It helped that we’re all a little strange to begin with, I think. We sat in on some great panels …. and a few odd ones (for a great look at a couple of the out-there ones, check out Angela Addams‘ posts about the con).
I also have Angie to thank for writing here today! She tagged me in a blog chain, and I thought some of the questions tied in nicely with WiPpet Wednesday.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just come to the end of another draft of Evensong, a fantasy novel that could one day be added to a university reading list on the subject of meta-fiction. In fact, that would be pretty amazing. While having an epic fantasy feel to it, Evensong is very much a reflection on the practice of writing. My MC, author Jeff Powell, is currently working on the fourth novel of his Feldall Saga, Evensong, when he finds himself summoned into the novel by characters who are unimpressed with his plans for their future.
As my contribution to the WiPpeteers, I’ve chosen a chat from page 8 between Jeff and his agent:
“I’ve had a breakthrough. Just finished an all-nighter and probably facing another one if I catch a few z’s throughout the day. There’s so much genius in this apartment right now, people walking by are inspired.”
Lisa chuckled. “I’ll settle for decent as long as it’s moving. I deal with enough ‘genius’ in my life, thanks.”
“You’ll be happy. The Brady-Corey-Jasmine triangle? Let’s just say wedding bells will be ringing.”
He envisioned Lisa’s eyebrows shooting up. “You finally made a decision?”
With a noncommittal noise, Jeff said, “What do I know about love? Closest relationship I have with a woman is with you, and it’s about as romantic as taking my car in for a tune-up.”
“You don’t have a car.”
“You see my point. That’s why I let the readers decide this one, and the resounding majority preferred Brady’s sensitivity over Corey’s brazenness.”
“At least you can move on with it. About damn time.”
“I said you’d be happy.”
“I’ll check in after the meeting. You’re on lock down until this draft is done.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jeff said, taking another drink. “But I’m sending you the take-out receipts.”
How does it differ from other works in its genre?
The story within a story idea is far from new, but having Jeff aware of being within a world he created, I think (hope) gives some unique opportunities to play with the fantasy genre, author stereotypes, and the writing process in general. I’ve had a few beta readers tell me it’s given them a new way to approach their characters and world-building, which is a pretty neat thing to hear.
What experiences have influenced you?
Other than the usual life experiences (for better or worse), lately it’s been my writer friends. Evensong was created based on a flash fiction contest on my writer’s forum. Sharing different strategies for outlining, writing and editing; playing idea ping pong to figure out that sticky ending; sharing sympathy tweets over the query process – these people have really built up my confidence, but also helped my develop a critical eye on my own work. Also the occasional strange and bizarre conversations have inspired some really fun story ideas.
Why do you write what you do?
Because the characters won’t let me go. That’s usually how it happens. I’ll have a hundred vague story ideas on any given day, but it’s the characters that stick with me. Once I have them fleshed out in my head, it’s hard to get them back in the box!
How does your writing process work?
I’ll let you know once I figured it out. My process is constantly evolving, and it’s mainly due to my writer friends, as mentioned above. I’ll hear about someone else’s system, think it sounds really cool, and then adapt it in a way that works for me. With Evensong, I’ve done 5 in-depth edits, and each with a different system that I’ve learned. Some work, some don’t, so I make notes on what I should do with the next project.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Letting go. I can finish first drafts pretty quickly, but when it comes time for edits, I can’t stop picking at it.
What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
What, you mean leave my comfort zone and expand my boundaries? How terrifying.
I think I’d want to try mystery. Growing up that’s pretty much all I read, and I very clearly remember telling my father it was all I would ever read. Then I discovered fantasy. But I do have a few mystery plots settling into the grey matter, so one day…
Who are the authors you most admire?
Too many to name, but all of my indie author friends! To have the guts to go out on their own and make their mark. I watch them struggle daily with self-doubt, or bad reviews, or lack of sales, but their determination and perseverance is inspiring. I read their work and am blown away by the quality of the writing. Through my Q&As here, I hope to do my part to get them recognised.
Who are new authors to watch out for?
See above answer for too many to name! Since I just finished re-reading her first novel and beta reading her second, I’ll give a shout out to Jocelyn Fox. Her novel The Iron Sword is a fantastic read. If you want to know more about her, I did a Q&A a while back that you can read here.
What scares you?
Tornadoes, centipedes, and the thought of running out of time before I finish everything I want to accomplish.
Since this is a blog chain, I hereby tag Keri Lake (as a thank you for tagging me in one of her question chains that I shall likely post here next week), and Colin F Barnes (since I know he’s working on some pretty fascinating projects at the moment)