Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Writing Path Blog Tour from IC Publishing

I was invited by middle-grade fantasy author June M. Pace to participate in this wonderful author book tag tour. She received her invite from steampunk author Josh Stanton.  Please click on the hyperlinks attached to their names to read their tour question answers. Speaking of the questions, here are my answers...

How do you start your writing projects?
After I come up with a novel idea (which generally starts as a dream), I spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few months forming a loose plot in my head. Some ideas I jot down in a notebook, others I polish in my head until I either reject them or fine-tune them enough to use. Once I've fallen in love with the story and can't stop thinking about it, it's time to write. I generally do a basic outline of where I want the books to start and end, and what major points I need to hit along the way, then I just let creativity flow. I've done thorough outlines in the past, but I've found them to be a waste of time. Generally, the story goes in a completely different direction when I get into it, so I find it best to stay out of the characters' way. The Ærenden series is a great example of this. My detailed outline covered Meaghan and Nick's story in one book. Half-way through writing, I realized they had a much bigger story to tell---five books to be exact. If I'd been strict about my outline, I would have missed out on a better adventure.

How do you continue your writing process?
I just keep plugging away at it. It's not easy sometimes. I have a toddler, a job and a marriage to maintain, in addition to my writing career. Life gets in the way and so do I, sometimes. One bad review can derail my creative process, leaving me to doubt my skill and passion. In all cases, it's a matter of remembering what's best for me. Not all weeks are going to allow time for creativity. Not everyone is going to like my novels (though I work hard to write books most people will like). But I've found that I am a more balanced person when I write, so I make time for it. Ultimately, I continue writing because it makes me complete.

How do you finish your writing projects?
Honestly, it never feels like I "finish" a book. After the first draft is complete, I go through several rounds of editing on my own, a beta round, a few rounds with my editor, then I do a text-to-speech edit round, to hear the mistakes I've missed while reading. Artwork and formatting come last, then it's zipped up and ready to go. The whole process takes me about a year. I want it to be as perfect as possible, but it can never be 100% perfect or 100% done. I will always look at a book and think, "I really should have done that differently..." or "If I knew then what I know now..." but I believe that's just part of the process for most authors. It's kind of like raising a child. You can't keep them sheltered forever. At some point, you have to let them out into the world. Only once they've touched others and have become important to other people's lives have they truly grown up. 

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.
I think challenges are important for growth, so I'm going that route. For both authors and readers out there, I challenge you to stretch your limits, test your comfort zones. Pick up a book you think you won't like. Try a new genre. Write in a different POV. Explore dusty tomes in old city bookstores. Reach out to people who you're not sure you'll like. Live life through your experiences. When you try new things, not only do you open yourself up to pleasant surprises, but you may discover that these opportunities change you. If I'd chosen to stay where I'm comfortable, I never would have published my books. I would still be piling my manuscripts on a dark shelf instead of making new, wonderful friends with fans and other writers. My world has expanded and I'm better for it. But that's what life is truly about, isn't it? It's about painting the most glorious picture you can, not staying within the lines.

Next Wednesday, please continue the tour with historical romance author Lisa J. Yarde. Lisa is the author of two historical novels set in medieval England and Normandy, On Falcon's Wings, featuring a star-crossed romance between Norman and Saxon lovers before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and The Burning Candle, based on the life of one of the first countesses of Leicester and Surrey, Isabel de Vermandois. Lisa has also written four novels in a six-part series set in Moorish Spain, Sultana,Sultana’s Legacy, Sultana: Two Sisters, and Sultana: The Bride Price where rivalries and ambitions threaten the fragile bonds between members of the last Muslim dynasty to rule in Europe. Her short story, The Legend Rises, chronicles the Welsh princess Gwenllian of Gwynedd's valiant fight against twelfth-century English invaders and is available now.

Born in Barbados, Lisa currently lives in New York City. She is also an avid blogger and moderates at Unusual Historicals. She is also a contributor at Historical Novel Reviews and History and Women. Her personal blog is The Brooklyn Scribbler.


  1. Super interesting to see how different we are as writers, yet end up with the same conclusion…a book! Very cool to read your method…completely opposite of mine..ha ha! Thx for sharing!

    1. I think that every time I read about another author's process. No two are alike!