The Writing Process Blog Tour: in which I pretend I have a process

These questions are on tour, so I’m letting them stay for a while after their sold-out performance at my talented critique partner’s blog: Just Another Writer’s Blog. Check out Jilly’s internet space – she’s an established humor writer (seriously – Google that lady’s name) and she should be on your up-and-coming YA author radar.

This post also serves as a pathetic writing update after a year of blogular hermitism.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing the eleventy billionth draft of THE FINAL DAYS OF THE VILLAIN ETHAN JAMES, my third novel (if I told Past Me that I’d someday write several drafts of three unpublished novels I’d be really depressed, but I’m not currently depressed – really, Past Me, really). It’s a contemporary YA set in a Wild West theme park (scroll down to discover the inspiration). My agent says it’s “about a broken boy finding redemption in a summer shared with equally lost people,” and I happen to like that description.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I don’t know. The genre YA contemporary is a diverse, exciting place to be writing because it’s growing and its boundaries are stretching, and I’m not really sure where this book falls within or without. Which may be a problem. I’ll get back to you on this one.

Why do you write what you write?

I write because there are stories in my head. There have always been stories in my head. I don’t sit down to write to teach a lesson or spread an idea or address a particular audience. I write because I love hearing and reading stories and I want to tell my own, and I want people to like them, too.

How does your writing process work? 

I do a lot of thinking before I even plan a page – by the time I sit down to plan the book (and I do a lot of planning), I’ve probably been stewing over an idea for months. (My best thinking happens on long drives, preferably with the windows down. If you were wondering.)

My planning consists of a series of outlines, character maps, setting maps, more outlines – general outlines, outlines of chapters, replacement outlines, and notes notes notes.


A. I write scenes/chapters/the whole book REALLY FAST.

B. I force myself to reread whatever I wrote, because it’s really, really bad at this point, and I need to fix it before I’ll let someone else see it.

C. I send it to a person in hopes that they’ll tell me what’s still bad about it.

Then, repeat steps A, B, and C forever and ever. I’ve repeated them five or six times with this current manuscript, which I’ve been working on since May 2013.

And that’s it! I’m tagging another talented critique partner, Kassel, otherwise known as A.K. Fotinos-Hoyer. Although she’s been on internet hiatus, she’s been writing like crazy (she wrote her book on an iPhone while she fed her newborn, people – that’s dedication), and I’m really excited about her newest work, SAVING SNOW. It garnered some attention at her last conference, and I think it’s going to on bookshelves before we know it. Her most recent blog entry is a summary of the plot – go check it out!


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