Last week, Heather McCubbin invited me to join her in the “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I was flattered to be included and said, “Yes, I’m in!” Heather is a published author who blogs about her works in progress and bookish thoughts, and writes book reviews. You can visit her here at Pushing the Pen.
The idea of this blog hop is to write about how we write. What makes the creative juices flow? Then we introduce three more writers who will talk about their processes the following week. So, on with the show!
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I write best in an empty house with complete silence. No people, no phones, no other distractions around me. I know some people listen to music when they write, but I’ve never been able to do that. Music has a powerful effect on me and takes over my brain, drowning out creative thought. Even conversations in other rooms tug at the threads of my thoughts until the scene I’m trying to build unravels. Happily, though, my kids have gotten good at doing quiet things for the few hours I snatch during the summer weeks when they’re home on school vacation. As much as I enjoy having them home, I have to say I’m much more productive when they’re in school.
When I do get a quiet moment to sit down to write, I start by reading the last few pages from my previous session to get back into my character’s mind. Usually I have a general idea of how the next scene should go, but sometimes I don’t. Either way, I let my character lead me through it. When I’m on a roll, it’s like watching a movie in my mind and the words tumble out of my head so fast I can hardly write them down fast enough.
I don’t use an outline. I know the beginnings of my stories and the endings and some of the major points in between. The rest I create as I go, following the paths of my characters as they live out their adventures. I also love drawing maps of the fictional worlds my characters inhabit. I have a sketchbook full of maps and timelines and illustrations of places that help me visualize the various settings.
My stories are always in my head. I plot scenes while doing mundane chores like washing dishes, doing laundry, and mowing the lawn. I think about them all the time, no matter where I am. Creating stories is almost as integral to my life as breathing. When I can’t write for a few days due to whatever circumstances, I go through withdrawal and get REALLY cranky. I’m blessed, though, because my family is tolerant and encouraging of my need to write. I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
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The Blog Hop continues with these awesome writers — Melissa Janda, N. J. Magas, and Sonia Lal. I met them during the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Melissa’s blog, A Time to Write, overflowed with great writing tips and advice. N. J., in her blog Diary of an Aspiring Writer, wrote amusingly about the books in her library, while Sonia’s Story Treasury entertained with short fiction and bookish topics. I enjoyed their posts and, as a newbie blogger, very much appreciated their support of mine. Here they are in their own words:
Melissa Janda: After two decades climbing the proverbial corporate ladder, I “retired” to spend more time with my kids and pursue my dream of becoming an author. I discovered my passion for writing while composing a short story for my husband. I had no idea how profoundly the process would affect me. I was transported to another place where hours ticked by like minutes. I found it puzzling how a collection of sentences or even a solitary phrase I wrote could evoke such emotion. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the subject, but my love affair with writing began that day.
I completed my first novel in March 2013 and after a series of rejections, I realized I had much to learn. I started blogging that same month and have been honing my craft ever since. I’m currently working on a YA series I started during NaNoWriMo 2013.
I live in central Texas with my husband (the love of my life and greatest supporter), my son and daughter who continually floor me with their perspective on life (seeing life through their eyes is a gift), and two dogs (a Lab mix we rescued from the side of the road and a Maltipoo that came special delivery one Christmas via Bella the elf).
When not writing, I feed the muse by spending time with family, reading, or doing something creative (decorating, scrapbooking, crafting, drawing, party-planning, and photography). To combat writer’s block, I run, bike, swim, or do something physical. It works every time.
I’ve recently caught a severe case of wanderlust and will be visiting Ireland with my family in the fall. Hmm…it might just be the setting of my next novel. http://melissajanda.wordpress.com/
N. J. Magas: N J Magas lives in Kyoto, Japan where she writes fantasy, science fiction, and horror. When she’s not hunched over a keyboard flushing out the voices, she’s practicing kendo, or kyudo or any number of other, non-weaponized activities. http://njmagas.wordpress.com/
Sonia Lal: Sonia Lal has been an avid reader her entire life, but she only became a fantasy and science fiction reader sometime in junior high. This, oddly, is the same time as she started to write and her first stories were fantasy. Her fiction is still mostly fantasy. On rare occasions, she will write pieces in other genres.
When she is not writing or reading, she may be found gazing out the window and listening to music, or watching TV (and by TV, she means a real TV or Netflix or YouTube or some other video). http://storytreasury.wordpress.com/
Melissa and N. J. will be posting about their writing processes on Monday, July 7th, and Sonia will post in a couple of weeks when things quiet down for her. Hope you enjoy their blogs as much as I do!