Last week, the ever-fabulous Kathryn Holmes (follow her on Twitter!) tagged me in her My Writing Process Blog Hop. I'm very fortunate to have met Kathryn through a mutual writer friend (thank you, Ghenet!) last year, when we decided to expand the YA Buccaneers crew and asked Kathryn to join us - and I'm so glad our paths have crossed!
Kathryn is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group, and I'm so exited to share that her debut Young Adult novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, will be published by HarperTeen in early 2015.
Now it's my turn to share. The blog hop is simple, answer four questions on your own writing process, then tag two new writers to carry on the blog hop.
What am I working on?
Right now I'm drafting a YA Contemporary with an adventurous twist currently titled NAME OF THE GAME. I'm still working out all the details, but I will say it's a cross between that old 80's movie CANNONBALL RUN (yes, the one with Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett) and the current reality TV show, THE AMAZING RACE. I'm having so much fun with this story and can't wait to see where it goes!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
There are so many things I love about Contemporary YA: how real it can be, how emotional it comes across, and how relatable it is (even though it's been YEARS since I was in high school, it just goes to show how, while things do change with the times, they really are just the same).
And so many great authors that have paved the road before me: Jandy Nelson (THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE), Sarah Ockler (TWENTY BOY SUMMER), Courtney Summers (CRACKED UP TO BE), Gayle Forman (IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT).
All of this has helped to shape the way I believe I write:
That last one is key. When I look back at tough situations I've had in my life or shared with others, I've always tried to find that glimmer of humor in it all. Because that's how I keep my sanity. That's how I put it all into perspective. When I can finally laugh, that's when I know I'm going to be okay.
Why do I write what I do?
I love all facets of Young Adult -- Contemporary, Fantasy, Dystopian, and yes, I've read my fair share involving a vampire or two (or three hundred, who's counting?). But I always come back to Contemporary. The here and now.
Like many, I stumbled my way through high school -- oh did I stumble. And while I did love my teenage years, I remember it being some of the hardest years I've ever had to deal with...at least so far.
Trying to fit in, trying to please everyone, trying to find my way, trying, trying, trying. As cliché as it might sound, all of that got me to where I am today. And even through the crappy situations, I wouldn't be remotely the person I am now, if I hadn't experienced any of the bad stuff. That's why I love YA Contemporary. And that's why I write it.
How does my writing process work?
I'm typically what's known as a pantser when I write. At least that's how I start out. I love thinking of a great idea and running with it to see where it goes.
Once I have the spark of the idea down, then I go back and plot out the structure for the story - how many stops along the way I'd like to make and ultimately, where I'd like it to end.
I'm also a big whiteboarder and I have a giant whiteboard right here next to my computer -- of course with multiple colored pens. I'll map things out, take a picture if I like where I'm headed (or erase it if I don't)...then wipe the board clean and start all over again.
Over the years I've been writing, this process has ebbed and flowed with each project I've worked on -- but with my latest manuscript, WHERE THE WATER FALLS, this style of writing really worked for me. It allowed me to still be 100% creative, but also allowed for my inner structure-centered, list-maker/box checker self to also play.
Working full-time, I write whenever and wherever I can. I've spent many late nights writing up until my alarm has gone off for work the next day.
I write on my laptop, in journals I have stashed in my handbag (or in my car, or on my night stand, or, or, or...), via emails I've sent to myself, and even on my note taking app on my phone. Because whenever the inspiration strikes, I can't ignore it.
The My Writing Process blog hop continues...
I've tagged two of my fellow crew members from the YA Buccaneers to share their writing process. Check out their blog hop posts next Monday and learn more about their writing process, along with who they've selected to carry on the torch for the hop!
Kris F. Oliver (follow her on Twitter!) sums up her writing as curious, beautiful, and strange. Kris lives in sunny Sarasota, Florida where she spends an inordinate amount of time either floating around in a kayak or partially submerged in saltwater. She has a pretty good excuse for both thanks to being a Biologist and running an EcoTourism business on the side.
Kelly Loy Gilbert describes her writing as introspective, character-driven, and voicey. Kelly lives in the SF Bay area with her husband and A-DORABLE daughter, is a huge fan of San Francisco Giants baseball, and is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. Her first novel, CONVICTION, will debut from Disney-Hyperion in 2015. You can find her on Twitter as well!