Monday, April 07, 2014

[Game] My Writing Process

Four things:

1. Sadly, I don't have enough time/sanity to do A-Z this year, but I'll definitely be cheering for those of you who do. Go, go, go! :)

2. Do you want to win SIGNED paperback copies of Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) and Courage (Mark of Nexus #2), along with a bunch of other YA/NA paranormal goodies? Check out Jessie Lane's release giveaway!

3. NA Alley relaunches today with a split focus—a website that will act as an informational hub (my design) and a blog that will act as a promotional epicenter. Be sure to check it out!

4. Speaking of NA Alley, the lovely and talented Juliana Haygert has invited me to take part in a posting game about the writing process. Cool, right? Let's get started!

The Questions


What am I working on?

I just started Loyalty (Mark of Nexus #3), the last book in my NA paranormal romance/urban fantasy series, with hopes of a late summer release. And since I can't decide on a secondary project, I'm also working on two other manuscripts—a YA fantasy/fairytale mashup and an NA contemporary. Whew!

How does my work differ from others of its category/genre?

The Mark of Nexus (MoN) series differs from other New Adult books in that it's speculative (instead of contemporary), there's no real focus on sex, we see quite a few battles, and the dialogue skews humorous. As for other paranormal novels, I like to think my supernatural element is fairly unique—it doesn't involve vampires, werewolves, fey, etc.

Not that there's anything wrong with those things. If you can pull that off, more power to ya!

Why do I write what I do?

NA: The way I envisioned the MoN series, the characters were at a pivotal point in their lives, caught between newfound freedom and consequence. I plotted everything out before I learned of the New Adult stigma (way before the category became a 'thing'), so I didn't know any better. It wasn't until I started getting feedback on my queries—notes suggesting I age my characters up or down to fit the mold—that I realized so-called 'college fiction' was a hard sell.

Of course, that didn't deter me. I refused to compromise the integrity of my story and ended up signing with a small press. After that, I continued the series independently. No regrets here!

Romance: I really have no idea. I'm somewhat of a cynic in 'real life,' so this is always a mystery to people. LOL What can I say? I appreciate the emotional range of romance.

Paranormal and Fantasy: 75% of my stories turn into some kind of speculative work—usually, without my consent. Maybe it's the fact that I love reading/watching things in this genre. Maybe it's the fact that my imagination thrives without boundaries. Who knows! The point is, I'm sure I'll be writing it for a long time. :)

How does your writing process work?

     •  Inspiration: Something (figuratively) strikes me—a song, a story on the news, a picture, etc. That's when my imagination takes over, toying with the idea, unfolding a world around it.
     •  Brainstorming/Outlining Frenzy: This involves a mess of notes and Scrivener.
     •  Drafting: Once the actual writing starts, I go total trance mode. When I'm interrupted mid-chapter, I usually snap out of it pretty disoriented! LOL
     •  Critique Partners: A few trusted writing pals read over the manuscript and provide me with invaluable input.
     •  Revising: Time to take that feedback into account and make changes.
     •  Beta Readers: Here's where readers/bloggers give their overall impression of the story.
     •  Revising: More things to take into account before I send a clean draft out!
     •  Editors: Content edits, copy edits, etc. This is the hair-pulling phase where I feel stupid for missing little things, but I feel more confident once it's done.
     •  Final check: I read the book so many times, I convince myself that I never want to read it again. Ever. I can recite long passages from memory. I obsess over the notion that I've missed something and will end up publicly humiliated. Eventually, I cross my fingers and send it out into the world!
     •  Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Time to start a new project...

My turn to pass the torch! The three writers I tag to tell us about their writing process next week are:  

      •  Melissa Maygrove is a wife, a mother, a nurse, a freelance editor, and a romance writer.  As of March 2013, she added 'published author' to that list.  Her debut novel, a western historical romance titled COME BACK, is set to be released May 12, 2014.

     •  Angela Brown is a lover of books—from classics to steampunk and everything in between. Plus, she's in pursuit of making her full-time passion more than a part-time gig.

     •  Elizabeth Seckman is the author of  the Coulter Men Series: PAST DUE and HEALING SUMMER. The third book in the series is coming soon. She is also the mother of four boys...well five if you count their father. He's the orneriest of the bunch! She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation. She is a life time resident of West Virginia...though she was an Ohio buckeye (yeah!) at birth. She is a full time day dreamer and part time laundry wench.  An eternal optimist and follower of the Christian faith, she still enjoys Jello-shots and a good laugh.

Question of the Week:

What's your favorite part of your writing process?

P.S. The audiobook for Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) is now live!


     ►  Audible
     ►  Amazon
     ►  iTunes


ELAdams said...

I wrote my NA series for the same reason (and before I knew it was a thing), and I'm glad I did! :) As for my favourite part of the writing process, it varies. I enjoy drafting, but it's because I do a lot of planning beforehand. I love the initial ideas-gathering stage as well. Revising and editing can be frustrating (especially when it gets to the point when I've read the thing backwards!) but I love getting notes from my CP's/beta readers which help me see how I can improve it. It's always interesting to see how other writers' processes work!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on the audio book!
Stories don't have to have sex to be good.
My favorite part is the editing. Then I can see the complete story.

Loni Townsend said...

Huh. You know, I never knew what the term speculative fiction meant until your post spawned me to go look it up. (Though it did make me speculate...)

I'm glad you ignored the naysayers and stuck to your story. I really like how it turned out!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Ah, thanks for thinking of me!! I will not drop the torch, I swear!

I love the idea of NA. Those college years are so many choices to make that have a direct affect on the future.

ilima said...

Lather rinse repeat, lol. That's a writers life. :) Thanks for sharing your process!

Angela Brown said...

My writing process...I wonder how I can work this up so it doesn't seem quite so chaotic lol!!

It's interesting, I've actually got some NA projects on standby waiting to jump on my wacky writing process train :-)

Juliana Haygert said...

Yay! Glad you're participating! :)

cleemckenzie said...

I love reading how authors put their stories together. There's similarities, but many differences, too.

I've never understood why people would say stories about college aged characters wouldn't sell. If college age kids don't have time to read, adults do and they can relate to those years on campus. I love that NA has found a place on the shelf!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I guess the drafting but I just call it writing. Pinterest has helped me get into inspiration through images big time. I don't write NA but I love the range and love for the genre that I get from NA writers. Hint, Hint Carrie.

Melissa said...

Oh, goodie.

I enjoyed reading about your process, even though I knew some of this already. Great post! :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on the audio book. And I agree with you that your books are unique in NA by writing in speculative rather than contemporary. That's one thing I'm disappointed in about NA-too much contemporary.

JeffO said...

It's always fun to read how others put their stories together. Thanks for sharing, Carrie!

Carrie-Anne said...

I love the pure, raw process of creating, but I've also grown to love revising, editing, and polishing. If the book is old enough and in need of many repairs, it's like getting to write it twice or even thrice.

Liz Blocker said...

I don't have time or sanity, either, but yet I'm somehow A to Z-ing.... I will be SO HAPPY when it's May! ;)

I want to win! I'm going to the contest now :) Oh, and I'd say the best part of my process is when I get that spark of an idea, and just WRITE. I love that freedome and creativity :)

Carrie Butler said...

*High five* Sounds like we're on the same page, Emma! I love the idea-gathering stage. Not to mention all the research. Mmm...

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Alex! And I agree. :)

Eek. Editing is my least favorite—mostly because that's when I'm most likely to facepalm. Haha!

Carrie Butler said...

Speculating on speculative fiction? I love it!

Thank you so much, Loni! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Good! We wouldn't want to set anything on fire... ;)

You should write an NA novel!

Carrie Butler said...

Haha! Isn't it? No problem, Ilima. Thank you for stopping by! :)

Carrie Butler said...

LOL Hey, you know us. We love chaos. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, J! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Exactly! I surveyed nearly 400 people last year, and the majority of NA readers were over 25. There's definitely a market out there!

Mason T. Matchak said...

This is really interesting - I love seeing how other people go through the process. I have no idea how everyone does it differently with the same goal in mind, but hey, it works. ^_^

My favorite part of the process is when I already have the plot and characters going, and I'm tightening up my notes, really fleshing out the who and the what and the why. That's when the story comes alive, when the characters start to talk to me. When I'm adding lines of dialogue to my plot, I know I'm there.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

You're an inspiration, Carrie. Your go-get attitude drives me to keep going even tho some days it's tough. I'm having publisher issues right now, but I'm hoping my it'll-be-ok attitude shines thru.

Carrie Butler said...

I agree. Pinterest does a wonderful job of inspiring people!

*grins* Hey, it's not too late to try NA, Sheena-kay...

Carrie Butler said...

Did I mention the part where my critique partner shreds the manuscript and makes me crawl under my desk and weep? :P

Kidding, kidding!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Natalie! :) I agree with you. I'd like to see a lot more speculative titles in the category.

Carrie Butler said...

I was happy to share, Jeff! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Nas said...

Congratulations on the audiobook. I like reading writer's processes. Loved yours, thanks for sharing!

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, I agree there! Working on a book so old you forget the twists and turns is great. :)

Carrie Butler said...

You have my respect, Liz! I couldn't manage two years in a row. This year, I'm cheering from the sidelines. LOL

Oh, I love the spark! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Oh, I know what you mean. Once everything comes together, and you're finally submerged in the story, it's nothin' but momentum, baby! :D

Carrie Butler said...

D'aww... thank you, Joylene. :)

I completely understand publisher issues. Yuck! If you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Nas! :D

Kelley Lynn said...

Ooo, yay! Audio Book!

Just stopping by to say 'hi'! And that I loved the second book in your series. And I haven't been around the blogosphere at all lately and honestly can't promise when I'll be around again but I still love you and think you're super talented and can't wait for the third book. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Kelley! Thank you so much for stopping by. I've been meaning to shoot you a message, but life—ah! You've totally made my day. Heart you big time!