As requested by Loni and Sophie.
What am I working on?
I’ve just finished the first draft of Annihilation—the second book in the EIGHT series—so I’m letting it sit for a week. Currently, I’m writing Arlo Twittle’s story for The Mysterious Islands of Alphabet Cove series (my theme for the A to Z challenge, if you didn’t know). However, it appears to be wandering off on its own journey, so there will be tonnes of cutting to do when its finished.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Hhm, tough question? I guess no two books are different. If you write crime novels, for example, the idea behind the story will be the same. There is always a murder, robbery etc. to drive the momentum behind the book. But I suppose the way to set it apart from the others, is to use a unique voice. This is what my editor said about Waiting, a young adult paranormal.
“SD is a truly talented author. Her imagination knows no bounds and I was very impressed with her book “Waiting,” which I had the pleasure of editing. SD creates complex characters and places them in surreal surroundings. Her use of the English language to convey her characters’ powerful emotions, to paint a world filled with the real and the imaginary, and to invent a highly original story with such finesse and creativity is admirable.”
Not that I’m blowing my own trumpet. What I guess I’m trying to say is, it takes someone else other than ourselves to say if we differ from others in their chosen genre. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. Nevertheless, the concept is still the same regardless of how we choose to write our stories.
Why do I write what I do?
Primarily, I write because I have a need to. I have since I was a child.
*Perhaps that’s why I chose children’s fiction?
Young adult, middle grade or younger has always held my interest. I guess you can say I’ve never grown up! I tried dabbling with an adult sci-fi/horror—which has been gathering dust on an old flash drive—but I lost momentum. For me, a story has to engage the little grey cells, and writing books for children and teenagers has my brain doing 360 loops.
How does my writing process work?
I’m no expert, I struggle myself to keep it together. Take Waiting, I had the story locked away inside my head for years. That was until 4 years ago when I decided to start writing it. I learned a huge lesson with this; try to outline a story before you start. I didn’t with Waiting and it digressed to such a degree, I had a hard time keeping up.
So when the idea of EIGHT came to me, I took a notebook and wrote the outline. The process of writing the story proved easier this way, and with a couple of sentences guiding each chapter, I had the first book written in two months. Not that I’m saying this is imperative, I know of writers who sit in front of their computers and just write. As individuals, we all have a choice in what works best for us.
As to the actual writing process, it tends to happen early in the morning (my preferred time for writing). I make a mug of tea, get my notebook and pen ready and turn on the laptop. I always read through a couple of paragraphs to get my mind in the zone, if I don’t do this, characters from other stories begin yelling to compete for attention. Once settled, I write. I set no word count, but I allocate myself 3-4 hours. Sometimes I might only manage a few hundred words, other times I can reach 5,000. It depends on where in the story I am. I also have a bad habit of editing as I go, although I’m learning to kerb that need.
I am also a firm believer in stepping away from my work every hour, using the time to reflect or do a little housework/exercise for 15 minutes. That way, I approach the writing afresh each time. Plus it also helps to keep the little grey cells from locking up (or the dreaded writers block at bay, as some of you may know it).
And there you have it. As you can see, nothing too profound. Thanks to Loni and Sophie for their encouragement. *Or are they just being nosey? 😉