What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
Of course, I don’t do anything simple. I generally come up with ideas all the time. Most of the time they don’t belong to a story in particular, so those ideas get written down and thrown into a slush pile. When I’m stuck for an idea, I just start plucking out of that pot until something sticks and I write it into the scene.
The ideas that I have for a particular series also goes into a folder. Once I’m finished with whatever I’m writing currently, I pick what folder is the biggest and start working on that story.
First, it’s all about putting the ideas into a coherent order – and this is really hard especially since I like to throw timelines all over the place.
Then I write an outline and revise it several times. If I write from multiple character’s perspectives, then each character gets their own timeline, and I somehow merge them all together to form a book outline.
Then the draft. This is nothing to sneeze at. Drafts are horrible writing but for some authors their natural talent makes it look like a polished piece. I am not one of those writers. My drafts are full of notes, comments, repetition, emphasis, etc. because I’m telling myself the story.
I do countless re-writes until I’m happy with it and then the editor’s round starts.
So the process is long and it’s nothing short of hard work but if I skip any step, I end up writing myself into a corner. Which all writer’s know, is not fun to navigate back out of.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Rules! Too many writers say learn the rules but then can’t determine what the rules are.
Of course, there are grammar rules, spelling and punctuation. These are a given. But writing rules? Are they suppose to be on content? Use of language? Expression? I never found out.
Instead, I ignored all the generalized advice and rule talk and put my head into a book to figure out what exactly does a novel consist of. Thousands of articles will tell you to skip that step, but I needed to learn the hard way so I knew it for myself. Learning something for myself made me in control of those
What is your writing Kryptonite?
No outline! I’m not someone who can write a book from cover to cover. I have to have a plan. Too often, I write the plan several times before I start constructing scenes. Then I draft the book several times over before I start the re-write. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s a process that allows me to dive deeper, search harder, explore more.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I haven’t a clue what people want to read and this is really a no-no in the publishing world. I have certain stories that I must get out of my head and onto paper. If people want to read them, then great! But if not, that’s fine too, but I must write them. Every time I watch a movie or read a book, my mind wanders and I find myself seeing a deeper picture than the story was meant to go. That’s where I find my content – the layers that are so deep and shine the light on what’s hidden in the darkness.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Never give up.
Everyone thinks they have the answer – but it’s only relevant to their lives, not yours.
The yellow brick path has been tracked too many times – don’t follow the dirt path either – create your own.
There is no such thing as the wrong answer when you are asking about life.
Creativity is life.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Actually, I find writing males so much easier. It’s women I find hard. I grew up with so many boys and never any girls. They’re less complicated and talk at face value. Women don’t. They hide things and have a level of expectation thinking it’s written on their face. I can’t deal with that! So I jump into a man and follow him. I’m more comfortable doing that.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? No idea. Some very quick, others years. It’s a matter of what the story requires, needs from me, etc. I let the work dictate itself. If I try and put limitations on it, then everything goes out the window.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and reader’s block too! Neither is fun. But it’s all about the mindset. If you are not creating – don’t blame the craft. Something is going on in your life that is impacting the creative muscle. Health? Stress? Toxic person in your life that you constantly thinking things will get better? It does once they’re out of your life! And you’re creating again.
By day, wizards rule the world. At night, warlocks seek to destroy it. Now, one boy will challenge them both.