Category Archives: writing process

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Last week I was tagged by Lorna Suzuki for this blog hop – and according to my recently checked junk mail, also Will Hahn a few weeks ago.

What am I working on?

I am in the first round of revisions on Stalking the Demon, the second book in the Seven Circles of Hell Series, and sequel to Confronting the Demon.

I’m also almost 70% of the way through an epic fantasy novel In the Company of the Dead.

You can check out excerpts from both of them in my Monday Morsels.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure anything is ever completely unique, but things that differentiate my work (I believe) from large parts of the epic fantasy genre are:
  • Protagonists don’t necessarily have fantastic magical powers (although some do) even though magic is a prevalent theme of the books;
  • The use of equal numbers of male and female supporting characters (to buck a general trend of token females in many genres);
  • Detailed and original world-building, rather than creating a Tolkien-esque world;
  • Blending mystery and paranormal themes.
Why do I write what I do?

Write what you know, and write what you love. I know fantasy because I love it, although pinning down why is harder. It has to do with the way fantasy (and the speculative fiction genre in general) deals with real world issues in a safe setting. It is also, in part, because of its aspirational nature.

I don’t write ‘gritty’ fantasy because it runs counter to what I love most about fantasy. It is said gritty fantasy is more reflective of the real world, but I think classic epic fantasy is reflective of humanity’s soul – a deep desire to rise above, for good to triumph, for right to win. When reality depresses me, the yearning of fantasy’s audience for some of the values embodied in the genre reminds me that humanity isn’t totally a lost cause.

How does your writing process work?

How long do you have?

A story usually starts with a core idea. A female assassin with an abiding distrust of men. A wizard whose addiction to satisfying his curiosity gets him into trouble. What happens when a man falls in love with a woman dedicated to a goddess of death?

Usually I develop the main characters at this point, including character profiles and doing extensive goal, motivation and conflict charts. This helps me to then do a full plot outline and chapter breakdown.

If this is a new world, I would then usually pause to draw a map and world build, including establishing for each country a political structure, racial appearance, language, currency, clothing, main trade items, architecture and religion.

Then, I begin to write. I may have new ideas along the way which need to be blended in with the original outline.

When I’ve finished, I revise. If revisions are extensive, I’ll do another read-through and tidy up before sending to betas to assess things like plot consistency, continuity and characterisation. Feedback prompts another revision, and what edits I can do myself.

The story then goes to my content editor, after which I do more revisions, then my line editor, and finally proofreaders.

I’m tagging Safireblade and M. E. Franco – although I admit I’m massively sleep-deprived and have not given either of them advance notice of this fact. By all means check out their blogs, but I can’t guarantee either of them will participate!

I’ve Been Getting Around

Not like that. I know what you’re thinking. Mind out of the gutter, please.

No, I’ve been featured in many places over the last week or so in the Twitterverse and blogosphere, and in case you missed them, this is your opportunity to check them out now. 

Saturday before last I was the guest on the Newbie Writers podcast, talking about how my day job as a lawyer affects my creative writing and the particular issues I struggle with as a result of my career. I also talk a little bit about why lawyers write the way they do (there is method to our madness – usually) and about my own writing process. So if you want a look at the writing process of a writer who is very linear, black and white, and not to mention anal, you should definitely stop by. Plus, you’ll get to hear the obituary I wrote for my not-very-pending death (I hope). You can find details of the podcast here or it’s free on iTunes.

The same day I was guest posting for Erica Lucke Dean on her blog. If you want a laugh at my expense, this is the post for you. It involves mice. Think of all the awful things that can happen with mice. One of them happened to me. Go forth, laugh, and be merry. Try not to fall down.You can find entertainment at my expense here.

For something different, I’ve done a guest post for @LKEditorial on the use of Greek rhetorical devices in writing and how they can be used to strengthen your writing and, in some cases, give it a touch of poetry. If you’re interested in knowing more about how to apply Greek rhetoric in prose, you can find it here.

Boy, I really have been getting around. I feel something like a Twitter/blog tart now! What can I say? Sometimes I have trouble saying no when people ask me to help them out…

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