I haven’t blogged about my writing for ages. But that’s because I’ve been busy writing my novel. Now that my manuscript is in the hands of The Beta Readers, I have no manuscript to keep me busy. I don’t know what to do with my spare time (confession: I don’t know how to relax). So I was excited when fellow writer and critique partner Christa Wojo tagged me for this Blog Hop!
Check out Christa’s answers. And here are mine:
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Night Flower, a historical-women’s fiction chronicling the adventures of Amanda Hollingworth, a spirited young prostitute who escapes the brothel and tries to make amends with her troubled past. In the wind-swept county of Dartmoor, she falls in love with horticulture and finds friendship with the magistrate. All the while, the Metropolitan Police are tracking her down like bloodhounds. It’s a story that explores the themes of justice and mercy, grief and hope, and the resilience of the human spirit.
How does your work differ from others in the genre?
The fact that my heroine is a prostitute makes Night Flower different from most (though not all) books in my genre. My work also focuses on the Contagious Disease Act of 1866, a legislation that hasn’t been much explored in works of fiction…Correct me if I’m wrong.
Why do you write?
I have a compulsive need to capture what I find beautiful in life, and writing allows me to capture a scenery, a moment in time, or a certain emotion I don’t want to let go of.
I love creating my own characters and weaving their lives into a complicated web.
I love writing because it’s magical. Example: I’ll begin a story, thinking I have full control, only to have the characters overthrow my power as ‘The Author.’ The feeling is akin to what a kid might feel when seeing the dolls inside a doll-house come to life.
Mostly, I love writing because I can give to readers. I can give them a story – a story that’ll hopefully tug at a few heartstrings.
How does your writing process work?
Stage 1: I do some light research – groundwork to build my story on. Then I write a chapter-by-chapter outline, which I never end up following, but I like having a map of sorts. Inspired by this map, I write my first draft within a few weeks. About a quarter of the novel will consist of point form notes.
Stage 2: I reread the first draft, further develop the story, and turn point form notes into prose. This is the stage I do most of my research. I’ll spend weeks reading primary and secondary sources. My research ends up inspiring new dialogues and scenes. Sometimes what I discover through research redirects the entire plot of the story, and I follow wherever it takes me.
Stage 3: I print out the manuscript and try to read it within a week – with a red pen. I keep an eye open for character/plot consistency and emotional fluidity. I end up rewriting chunks of scenes and dialogues. All these changes I incorporate into the Master Document on my laptop.
Stage 4: I send out my manuscript to The Beta Readers and spend the next few weeks twiddling my thumb, researching some more, and binging on period dramas.
Stage 5: I receive feedback and am overwhelmed for a day or two. But I manage to take things step by step/chapter by chapter. Slowly but surely I manage to incorporate their critiques, which results in a manuscript that leaves me deeply satisfied.
Thanks for reading! I’m tagging the following talented writers:
4 thoughts on “Writing Process Blog Hop”
“I’ll begin a story, thinking I have full control, only to have the characters overthrow my power as ‘The Author.'” —This is exactly what happens to me, and it never fails to amaze me. Who do these characters think they are? I had given up on outlining because of this phenomenon, but I think I’ll go back to doing more groundwork before starting new novels in the future. Even if I don’t follow the plan, it’s still good to have a guide. Thanks for sharing your methods.
Now June, the more I get into Nightflower, the more I am blown away by your writing; and not just beautiful prose, but your ability to craft an intricate plot while enlightening the reader to the social and political problems of the time.
I feel so lucky to be your critique partner. I know Nightflower will be success!
Exactly, haha. Who do they think they are!
I just get really anxious when I don’t have an outline. So I have one not because I really *need* it, or that it’s beneficial to my novel in any way, but it makes me feel less lost.
Ahh, thank you for your kind words about Night Flower! It gives me an adrenaline boost! (I’m editing right now arggg)
“I love writing because it’s magical. Example: I’ll begin a story, thinking I have full control, only to have the characters overthrow my power as ‘The Author.’ The feeling is akin to what a kid might feel when seeing the dolls inside a doll-house come to life.”
That is a beautiful description of what happens during writing. It’s almost alchemical, I think, and conducive to one of the most vivid life experiences – aha moments. Keep writing! I believe that your passion, and wisdom in letting characters come alive just as they are, will be keys to your success.
Aww thanks for dropping by Maybelle! And I think the word ‘alchemical’ is magical and oh so perfect to describe the writing experience. Especially the ah-hah moment.