The wonderfully bodacious Nicky Schmidt (http://absolutevanilla.blogspot.co.uk/) asked whether I would like to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. Having read and enjoyed other people’s contributions, I thought ‘Yes! Me too join in!’.
Nicky and I have yet to meet. We hooked up through SCBWI e-critique when she patiently talked me through how to join Muddlegraders and later again when she even more patiently helped me with the technical and other aspects of moderating the group. She is warm and engaging – it was easy to hit it off, and our shared Austrian roots, with visions of Apfel Strudel, Sacher Torte and Alpine pastures cemented the connection. Yes, all very ‘raindrops on roses’ …
Nicky lives in South Africa, writes YA fiction and recently finished her first draft of a YA magic realism novel set in South Africa that I really hope to read one day soon. Go, Nicky!
The Writing Process Blog Tour involves answering four writing process related questions, then passing on the baton to three other writers. I’m lagging a little on the last point as I have only two writers to pass on to (see end of post). So if you’re reading, have a writing-related blog and would like to take part please let me know – I’m sure it wouldn’t matter (?) hugely if the timings slip a little …
1. What am I working on? I’ve been wrestling with the same project for seven years (ok, not seven years straight ‘writing’ but still!). My WIP is a middle grade fantasy adventure that is very, very super close to being finished (no, really). Much as I’ve hit plenty of lows during this process, the characters keep me going and ultimately it is an enormous pleasure to work on.
Last year I side tracked to a short, semi-farcical adventure, which is now resting in a drawer. It’s been ‘seen’ by two agents – although one suggested I keep submitting, I’m not so sure it’s actually ‘done’. Something to revisit in the not too distant future perhaps?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? My WIP has one (and only one) fantasy character that is central to the story in a way I haven’t seen done elsewhere in the same way. This means I’m struggling to find a one-line pitch. It could be Molly Moon meets Indiana Jones, except that totally leaves out the fantasy character. So I’m now thinking, Molly Moon meets This Book is Secret with a hint of His Dark Materials. Quite the mouthful … and somewhat presumptuous. It may take another seven years to find a one-line pitch!
3. Why do I write what I do? I’m a natural introvert and relate to the world through my writing. It’s how I learn about other people, relationships, society, the bigger picture and, in the process, myself. On the other side of that curve, through writing I aim to reflect my world view and send it ‘out there’ for other people to share.
The things I choose to write about connect to the things that interest or bother me about human existence. Although my WIP is far from profound I come to the story from a place of questioning life, death and self-knowledge. I have to incorporate navel-gazing time into my daily routine otherwise the wheels of my mind sort of come off (yes, my mind has wheels, think Chitty Chitty Bang Bang pre make-over). Did I mention? I’m a natural introvert.
4. How does my writing process work? People have tended to come at this question from the ‘planner’ or ‘pantster’ angle. Going by that, I have to admit to being a total ‘crapped in my pantster’. My writing is so organic that it’s fungal. The seat of my pants frayed and fell apart a long time ago. I don’t see this as a good thing and harbour strong fantasies that next time round I will manage to be more circumspect and organised in my plotting.
My WIP started out with the clear sound of my two MCs voice in dialogue. I could hear, see and sense their relationship and How Things Would Go Forward. Or so I thought. I actually did write a chapter-by-chapter storyline. So ‘planner’ so far? Yep, that’s what I thought too. Only years later, did I realise that there is ‘planning’ and Planning. See Planning involves asking all those important questions: WHAT does your MC want? WHY? HOW is she/he going to get it? HOW do their choices affect what happens next? And so on.
The thing that amazes me about the way things have (laboriously) gone, is that my current (final?) ms is, on the one hand, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT to what I started out with (apart from the two main characters’ relationship/journey), and on the other hand, in its essence, is EXACTLY the same story. So perhaps there is some method in madness?
Thanks for reading! If you’re a writer-blogger and would like to take part in this Writing Process Blog Tour, let me know!
And now, I’m passing on to K. M. Lockwood who will post for the Writing Process Blog Tour next Monday, 21st April.
K. M. Lockwood lives by the coast in Sussex, running a writer-friendly B&B and finding sea-glass most days. She is a SCBWI volunteer, belly-dancer and writer – though not usually at the same time. http://kmlockwood.com/
Victoria Addis is a farmer’s daughter and one-time goat keeper from Herefordshire. She is currently working on a masters in English Literature alongside her first writing project; a piece of middle grade fiction inspired by her love of medieval history and children’s fantasy literature. http://thecharminghermit.blogspot.co.uk/