Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sharing My Writing Process with you

A new friend who waded through the #newagent trenches with me, a one Ms. Molly, insisted that I share the crazy, unhabitual way in which I translate stories to the page. Please go show her some love on twitter @mrsshafferjms.

About #MyWritingProcess…

“We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook.”


Here are the four questions Molly sent my way:

            1) What are you working on?

I have two novels in the works right now. ROWDY DAYS OF DOM SANDERS is in its final stages of editing with four manuscript overhauls. It's a modern take on THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, where my main character sees a cop's murder related to drug deals in a small town, and he must decide whether to come forward to defend his bully, who's arrested for the crime. This manuscript was a finalist in the #newagent contest this month, and will be entered in #pitchwars in august.

My other project right now is a young adult fantasy with the working title SAMANA'S FLAIR. Only ten chapters have been written, and I'm not entirely sure of its direction yet. I'll give you a few bits though... 1) It's a world ran by elves in which men are the lower class, 2) The elves rule because they have tattoos which signify either manual or magical skills, 3) A false elf (man) is trying desperately to keep his position as king and gets more and more evil to do it, 4) Samana is an orphan turned apprentice who slowly learns about her past and fights for her country's future, and 5) just like my first (and shelved) manuscript, this one has Native American elements woven throughout. That's all I know as of yet. I'm awaiting CP feedback before I continue writing the rough draft on this one. 

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

ROWDY DAYS OF DOM SANDERS is a modern retelling of a classic rather than a fairy tale.  The mix of those classic elements plus the 1990s details make this story feel very possible and authentic.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write these stories for myself and also to teach children to think and imagine.  In this modern age, it seems like a lot of creativity is lost in the process of learning. I want children to open my pages, get lost in a world of their own imagining, and end as though they are coming up for air. That sort of complete engrossment is how I fell in love with books at such a young age, and I want to help that feeling of joy in being a part of the adventure to live on for generations to come.

4) How does your writing process work? 

I'll admit it up front, I am a pantser, as in I don't plan much. Usually I start with an idea and I spend a few weeks developing the plot in my head before I open a new word document. I usually draw a map within writing the first few chapters. Then I just take it one chapter at a time, thinking through where its going and where I want it to go as I write. Often plot twists come to me as I lay awake late at night or when I wake up thinking about the manuscript. My first draft takes a little while, and I edit as I go which slows down the process. In fact, I should really work on NOT doing that. haha. I rarely play music while I write, as its usually late at night when my children are sleeping or first thing in the morning as I listen to cartoon theme songs. My guilty pleasure in writing is over using exclamation points! And my most cut word during revisions is "And". I have to break up some of those long sentences for my young audience and to balance the pacing of the manuscript. I've done character sketches for SAMANA'S FLAIR, but I usually feel like I know my characters better than I know the plot, so I'm pretty sure that was just a creative way to procrastinate. My bad.

I Challenge…


Who to choose, who to choose? I suppose I should tap some entertaining writers I know, but how can I only pick a couple?

Nick Metal - (@LoveWinsDude) a new friend from the #newagent contest this month.
Anne Lipton - (@AnneLipton) because she's awesome and my blog's newest follower.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

W.I.P. Blog Hop

I'm participating in my first ever blog hop, so pardon me if I -eeeeekkkk- have a moment or two throughout. The fabulous S. Usher Evans tagged me, eager to learn more about my story. Thanks, Love! Dom made it as a finalist in Michelle Hauck's query contest In With The New this past Monday, so I thought I would share more about the main character, Dominic Sanders.


What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or historical?

Dom Sanders is a trickster of a twelve-year-old out to have the best summer of his life. While Dom is mostly fictional, the inspiration for this novel comes from the stories my in-laws told me about my husband Nolan and his brother Logan. So in a weird way, Dom is a semi-historical character based on my husband. 


When and where is the story set?

The story is set in Millville, a small California valley town in 1998. It's based loosely on Hayfork, California, where my husband and I grew up. All the different places in the settings (as well as some of the minor characters) are based off places I remember from growing up.


What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

 Dom notices Mom didn't pull any meat out for dinner, and decides to go hunting for some fresh game. Up in the federal lands behind their new property, Dom hears an argument between a corrupt cop and a weed dealer, and sees the dealer kill the cop. From then on, he struggles with guilt and doing the right thing. And the few times he follows morals, it backfires.


What is the personal goal of the character?

Initially, it's to scam kids out of money so he can buy a horse, but by the end of the novel, he wants to live life without looking over his shoulder and without being a hero.


Is there a working title?

This novel has changed names, oh I don't know, a dozen times. It's a modern retelling of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, so I played with titles similar for a while. But the word rowdy kept coming up, so finally I decided on the title ROWDY DAYS OF DOM SANDERS.

Where can we see more?

The only place you can see more right now is on Michelle's blog for the contest I mentioned above. Please don't comment, as that is reserved for agents who want more of the manuscript. Click here to check out my entry.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog for updates on requests for Dom and his publishing experience in the future! Also, follow me on twitter if you like.


The next victims?

I think we should keep the New Agent contestants going in this hop, but  I can only tag 3!??!??! Dang it, if I must chose:

Nikki Roberti - My new friend and critique partner because she was great at matching my energy at the In With the New twitter party all week and made me laugh on numerous occassions.

Kendra Young -  Another awesome contestant with wit like I haven't seen in a while. She and I shared virtual tequila floats on the hard days of waiting, and the girl is getting mad requests in the contest.

Keith Willis - The knight of the twitter party, Keith's repertoire and puns had me going all week, plus this guy's writing is awesome. I guarantee I will buy everything he writes!

Alright you three, let's see your W.I.P. blog posts! If you don't have a blog, I'd be willing to put it up on mine. Otherwise, share the link with me so I can spread the word!