My fabulous friend and critique partner Brandi Barnett invited me to join her in blogging about the Writing Process. Brandi is the author of YA novel Glamour, and she blogs about the magic of everyday life at brandibarnett.blogspot.com. Thank you, Brandi, for inviting me to join the fun!
Now to the questions . . .
What are you working on?
I just finished a middle grade contemporary ghost story. Now I’m in the planning stages for a couple of Young Adult novels–both mysteries, one contemporary and the other historical. Each has its own little bit of metaphysical/paranormal flair, of course.
How does your work differ from other of its genre?
This is a tough one, so I’ll focus on process rather than content. I don’t know how other writers of ghostly mysteries get their ideas, but with me it almost always starts with place rather than character or plot. When I discover an out-of-the-ordinary setting, I start to wonder what sort of people might have inhabited it, and what kind of joys and trials they might have experienced. The story takes off from there.
Why do you write what you do?
Simply put, I try to write the kind of books I want to read. I love mysteries and historicals. I love Gothic settings. I can’t get enough of characters who are haunted in some way — by an actual ghost, by the past, by a loss, or perhaps by some trespass they’ve committed. I collect favorite (& sometimes random) story elements like a magpie, with the goal of mixing them up into something new. Something me.
How does your writing process work?
I’m a planner. I outline. I fill in character questionnaires. I create index cards for each scene and arrange them on a bulletin board. I love any sort of graphic organizer for planning OR revising a story. It’s the drafting that nearly kills me — seriously, sometimes it’s about as painful and ugly as ripping the guts from my body. (Well, not quite, but you know what I mean!) Revision isn’t that much easier, but for me it’s more fun, partly because the graphic organizers come back into play. I like to chart story elements to identify gaps and redundancies. For instance, when I’d completed a solid draft of my middle grade novel, Steve and I charted each chapter on a huge dry-erase board. So fun!
Next Monday, April 28th (or in Valerie’s case, a little earlier than that), three friends will join the blog hop and give you the deets on their writing process. Do pay them a visit!
Mari Farthing is a freelance editor and writer in the OKC area who blogs about family, music, pop culture and just about everything else you could think of at Mari, quite contrary.
Valerie Lawson is a young adult contemporary author who also dabbles in middle grade mysteries. She lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her husband and two children who suffer through her delusions of grandeur and bouts of madness with grace. Follow her writing journey at Valerie R Lawson: Barbies on Fire.
Have a great week, everyone!