Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

And sometimes somebody asks you to do something that makes you think about the way you do your thing.

I have to thank Yelena Casale for inviting me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. You can find her at Yelena Casale's Writing Blog and on Twitter at @Yelena_Casale.

The point of all this is to reveal a little bit about the process each of us has when we sit down to write.  Each is unique in its own way. This is mine.  On to the questions!

1) What am I working on? 

The thing that's taking up the bulk of my writing time is an untitled science fiction piece of "undetermined" length.  The current target is 50,000 words, but it might shrink or grow as things progress.  At the moment it's working out to be a science fiction take on James Bond with a female protagonist.  Like most of the stuff I've written it's mutated from what it started out being.

The other thing I'm spending head-time on is a project that I started, got through a first draft and then had to put down due to to other concerns.  It's a sort of urban fantasy novel concerning good, evil and fate.  Considering how long it took to write the first draft, the second and succeeding drafts could take a while.

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

While I tend to write what can nominally be called "science fiction" and fantasy, my science fiction stuff tends toward space opera rather than hard sf.  While there are explanations of the science in the stories, those explanations aren't very deep and some things simply aren't explained at all because I don't feel the need to do so.  Also, my work tends to have more than a tinge of romance to it.  My fantasy work tends to be more character driven than plot driven.  My characters don't tend to go on epic quests.  Things happen and they learn things about themselves that they didn't previously know.

3) Why do I write what I do?

 I've been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since I was very young.  It's the thing I'm most familiar with.  As such, when I began writing stuff in my teens I started writing science fiction-y stuff.  Over the years I've been slowly expanding my repertoire to include bits and pieces of other genres, but I've always gravitated toward those genres because they feel right.

4) How does my writing process work?

 Honestly, I think my process is weird.  I'm sort of a hybrid pantser/plotter.  Usually when I start a first draft I'm pantsing it until I'm either at a point where I know the piece has legs or isn't going to work.  If it does have legs then I'll tend to sit down and write an outline with the major plot points I'll need to hit.  The outline then acts as a guide to get me from point A to point B.  If the story takes detours that's fine. The map is there to bring me back on track when necessary.

I also try to write the ending first.  A piece of advice I got from a professional writer friend years ago.  I will actually sit down and write out a paragraph or more that defines the ending scene.  Having done that I have a direction to go toward.  That ending might change based on the story, but it gives me a direction to head in.

I don't do a whole lot of research.  Most of my stuff is either in a fantastical world of my own creation or uses ideas that are sort of standard in the sf genre.  I have done research in the past when I've needed to understand a concept, but it's not usual for me. 

Keeping the tour rolling, these three authors will be posting about their process on Monday, July 21st. Read them. See what makes them tick.

Lisa T. Cresswell

Lisa T. Cresswell is the author of a middle grade, fantasy trilogy and a YA Contemporary novel. Her next book, a YA dystopian novel is due from Month9Books in 2015. By day, she roams the deserts of southern Idaho, where she works as an archaeologist. By night, she writes fanciful stories for young people. Find out more at .

Allison Duke

Allison describes herself like this:

I am a person who loves. I love God, my husband, my kids, my church, books, life, horses, art, music, theatre, movies, the Bible, people, sarcasm, good food, good friends, family, butterflies, mountains, sunshine, snow, and chocolate. I occasionally blog my thoughts and write novels. I live in Colorado and I love it here.

You can find her blog at

J. B. Mills

Julia used to want to write 100 novels and lock them in an old trunk, so a century later someone could find them and publish them postmortem. Then she decided getting published in her lifetime might be ok too. At least that’s the current plan! She writes YA novels and lives with her husband and son in Denver, CO. She’s expecting her second child in September.


  1. Write the ending first! This is a revelation, especially since at this very moment I'm practicing creative avoidance by reading blogs instead of getting on to my ending, which I'm terrified to write.

  2. Allie, it really does help. I learned the trick from Christy Marx, who primarily writes for animation and games nowadays, but has written in other media as well. If you have someplace to go, how you get there doesn't seem so daunting. And you can always change the ending once you get there. :) I don't know how many times I've done that. Darned characters having their own minds!