I’m thrilled to have been tagged in the Writing Process Blog Hop by wonderful author Jan Morrill. You can connect with Jan at all of these links.
If you move quickly, you can even click here to get in on a free copy of her new Haiku collection at amazon.com.
As a part of this blog hop, my job is to answer some specific questions about my writing process and then pass the next blog stop on to another blogger. Here are my answers to the questions.
1) What am I working on?
I have several projects in the air right now. Book 3 in the Cats in the Mirror series is in the final stages of my own revisions/editing, and “Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge” will be heading to a professional editor sometime in the next week or so. The cover art is already complete, so it is down to more of the final touches and formatting/production process at this point. It is well on schedule to release in September of 2014, if not a bit sooner for fans of the series. While that book is with the editor, I will be refocusing on an adult book called “At The Corner Of Magnetic And Main” that is set here in Eureka Springs. An editor at Delacorte/Random House had been interested enough to want to read the full manuscript, but the time frame for that exclusive has run out. In April I’ll be talking with a couple of smaller houses to see if there is any interest from them. I also want to start work on adapting a picture book manuscript into a middle grade book. “The Brave, Frail, and Delicate Princess” has been in and out of my desk drawer for years, and that’s the direction it seems to be headed at the moment.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
If we stick with the books that are published, the middle grade Cats in the Mirror series, I would have to say that I’m not aware of any other alien cat books like them out there at any age level. Certainly alien cats are nothing new, but mine are based so specifically on my real cats and have photos of them throughout the books. I did quite a lot of research on what is available before I committed to self-publishing the series, and I think they are quite unique. The reader enters the world of the cat like in the Warriors books, but there is a whole science fiction element and the ultimate struggle that Kimba and Hiro face between loyalties to their loved humans and the obligation to their cat family.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I rarely sit down and decide “I’m going to write about book about X.” Over many years as a freelance writer, I just learned to jump on the ideas and subjects that come to me each day. My first book, “Why Kimba Saved The World,” evolved over a few years. The story ran around in my head and kept getting bigger and bigger. Living with Kimba provided ideas daily. Once during the process I just sat down for three hours and thought about “what ifs” for the story. That brought it to where it is now and developed her one story into a whole series of stories and characters. The idea of “Magnetic And Main” slapped me upside the head, and I had it outlined and the first scene written in 24 hours. Doing an adult book was not in my plan at the time, but you have to jump on those inspirations when they come. At least write them down. Writer’s block in not a problem for me. Having the time and energy to write everything I’d like to is the problem.
4) How does your writing process work?
I’m not big on serious outlining, but I do like to know where the story is going. I usually write in scenes, like a movie. I know X is going to happen, and I know X is going to happen, but I’m not always sure how all of that is going to end up at Y or the whys and motivations for it all. Once I have some framework done, I go back and fill in the pieces and adapt what now needs to be changed. With “Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge,” I found I needed to make lots of adjustments because when it came right down to it the “why” for some of the characters didn’t end up being what I thought it would. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything straight through from start to finish. Even articles and short stories or contest essays are more a piecemeal process.
Getting that first draft down is like pulling teeth for me. As Dorothy Parker says: “I hate writing. I love having written.” I have to make myself sit down, and I time my writing sessions or set a word count/scene goal. For “Vacation Hiro” I actually went away on a retreat for several days. I knew exactly what was going to happen in the story, but getting it typed up was giving me trouble. I held up in a rental condo through our time share system for four days and just pounded it out–that good old 5,000-6,000 words a day. Then I was very happy because it was all there and ready to mess with. Revising and editing and making the story better is the reward, not to mention having the actual book in your hand to share with an excited reader.
Well, I hope you learned a little bit about me as a writer. Now I tag my friend Cat McMahon of Cat’s Stories. She has her writing fingers in several different pies.
Here’s a little bit about Cat:
Author of the Road Trip Photo Adventure Series, Cat McMahon is a wordsmith who enjoys outdoor discovery, culinary exploration, her cats, and making memories with her family; she lives in the craggy wilderness off the slopes of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest USA.
Here’s where you can find her!