My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

Blog Tour


Headshot: Wendy Terrein
Wendy Terrien

Thanks to Wendy Terrien for inviting me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour. Wendy is an author of young adult fiction who has written stories since her age was in single digits. Having studied organizational communication and business, and worked her way up the corporate ladder at a number of organizations, she’s happy to be letting her inner creative self run wild.

I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy at SFWC 2014.  I encourage everyone to check out her website and follow her on Twitter @wbterrien.

 Four Questions About My Writing

1.  What am I working on?

Book cover art
Draft book cover

My first priority is getting my debut novel, The Tavern Priestess, published.   It is a YA epic fantasy that can be framed as “Joan of Arc meets Odysseus” or maybe “Honor Harrington of the Norse.”  I’m actively querying agents at this time.

I have plenty of other projects that I toy about with, such as sequels to The Tavern Priestess and things in adjacent genres. I particularly enjoy some new characters I’m developing for a NA steampunk novel I’m working on.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write character-driven hard fantasy adventures.  That means that character is the most important creative element in my writing and makes the story move. It also means that the worlds I create for my characters, though fantastic are still rational. I map out the history, culture, religion, politics, economy, and system of magic. Most of it never gets written directly into the story, but I think readers can tell when a fantasy is slapdash or inconsistent.

UniqueInACrowdMy individual style comes out most in how  I layer allegory, whimsical humor, and even a touch of camp into my stories. I like irony too. Did you notice the zebra with the wizard hat is the only one not obsessing about being unique? There’s grit in my stories too, but I don’t wallow in it. I’d rather delight my readers with quotable characters and compelling action.

My beta-readers often comment on my creativity; how I take familiar fantasy tropes and twist them into something fresh and interesting. This is very flattering, but creativity is a result of the writing process, not an input. In terms of process, I focus on authenticity of my characters’ voices.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’m a big kid.

4. How does my writing process work? 

I write using Scrivener on a road-worn MacBook Pro.  I don’t have to be anywhere special to write; sitting, standing, or lying down all work. It doesn’t have to be quiet, but there can’t be any talking (people, TV, radio, etc.)  I can type with my eyes closed if my eyes get tired, but I cannot compose dialog in my head if my ears hear people talking.

For the first draft, I sometimes fly by the seat of my pants, and sometimes map things out in outlines. I’m aware of writers preferring to work one way or another, but I just do whatever works to get me un-stuck.  If need be,  I’ll draw character portraits, costumes, scenery, maps, floor plans or even a draft cover to get my creative juices flowing.  I’m anxious for wearable computing to let me type one-handed and read on my glasses while I’m on the go.

I don’t necessarily write chapters in order, either. Same way I get a song stuck in my head, I can get a scene stuck there and need to write it out before I can move on. This happens most often for scenes that are pivotal for a particular character’s development. The last chapters and scenes that I write start out as shims, which basically fill gaps.

Second pass is where I look for plot holes, pacing issues, rip out any expository writing that snuck in (a habit from my years as a research scientist), and develop secondary plot arcs. I also try to smooth over transitions and make any shims less noticeable. Then I get feedback from my critique friends, or beta readers and go from there.

Next Week

Continuing on the blog hop are three friends of mine.

Jordan Bernal

Jordan Bernal recently published her debut novel, The Keepers of Éire.  [IndieBound]  [GoodReads]  [Amazon] [B&N]   It’s a new adult contemporary fantasy, with dragons. She’s busy preparing a book tour in Ireland where the story is set and working on sequel.  You can find my review of her novel on Goodreads and Amazon.

Headshot: Shannon Brown
Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown has a YA novel titled, Rock’n’Roll in Locker Seventeen.  [IndieBound] [GoodReads] [Amazon] [B&N].  It’s a humorous contemporary fiction about  a teen that discovers what happened to a missing rock star.


Headshot: Chelsey Danielle Monroe
Chelsey D. Monroe

Chelsey D. Monroe is currently working on her third novel!  Her first is a contemporary YA thriller called The Death of Us All.  Five best friends are kidnapped and forced into a modern-day concentration camp. According to her bio, she started penning this story in math class.

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