Monday, November 9, 2015

Beautiful Books Part 2, The Writing Process

It's time for another Beautiful Books post. This blog link-up is hosted by Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In. This month, the questions are focused on the writing process.

Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

I would say it's turning out mostly as expected, but with fun twists and layers I hadn't expected (which is in itself something I'd hoped for/expected).

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

"A grey existence can hardly be called living, no matter the busyness it may use as a mask."

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I'm a bit of both. I tend to focus heavily on discovery writing (in first drafts especially), but I love a good outline, and almost any future drafts will be outlined several times as a tool to organize, edit, and revise what's already there as well as find the holes that need to be filled. This is the first NaNo that I've had anything really resembling an outline (that I recall) and it's been fun holding that basic structure in mind as I spend a little more time in some places than I'd expected and end up working toward the same climax from a different angle.

What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

Usually a glut of Kingdom Hearts. This time around, I'm celebrating each day's goal by sending out the chapters to a group of beta readers and I'm hoping to buy something special when I finish the book. (I haven't decided what yet, or if it will happen. It'll most likely end up being a visit to our local used book store.)

What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

I look for a name that fits the character, that makes me like them or at least feel I know them, even before I begin to write. I look for names with strong histories, meanings, and sometimes cultural associations. I mine far more than is good for me, and I collect names (even made-up ones) to use later.

What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end -- and why?

I'd have to say middles or endings because you can have a lot of fun in the middle and the ending is where all the big revelations/conflicts resolve. Beginnings are the worst for me because you have to get the momentum of the book going.

Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?
That's tough to say. When I first started, I thought I'd have trouble writing my main character (Teddy) because as cool as his arc is, I really like to fanboy about my Lion character with some of my writer friends. He's just a fun person to write and talk about. At the moment, I think I'll say Crow is my favorite because it's become the resident snark lord of the group.

What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

Honestly, I've not done much research for this one other than reminding myself of some of the details of the original Wizard of Oz and its sequels.

Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
I tend to write better alone while knowing others will see what I write. It took me a long time to get to the point that I wanted to share what I write with people I know, but now I'm pretty eager to share no matter what. So, when someone says they want to see what I've written, I say, "Here, take all of it!"

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

My writing habits are in a constant state of flux (read: what writing habits?) but NaNo has given me a good structure I might follow after November: I write in the morning for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how prompt I am at getting up and going through my morning routine, quiet time, etc. I may squeeze in another 15 minutes over lunch (after I've read a bit from whatever is my current lunch book; right now that's G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy). Then I'll write after dinner until I've hit the end of the day's chapter(s). Since I'm writing shorter chapters for There's No Place Like Home? than I do in my Albion books, this pattern may not hold after November, but I like the idea of setting aside time every day to write rather than letting it be whenever I decide I feel like it. Let's face it, I don't always feel like it, so doing it anyway is good discipline. As to music, I usually have music going when I write. I even have playlists for a couple of my books, including TNPLH?, which I've been listening to since well before NaNo started.


  1. I just read your first Beautiful Books post and had to come back and comment - Red's "Until We Have Faces" and The Wizard of Oz just sounds like too awesome of an inspiration to pass on. I love (what I saw of) the concept so much (and the pictures)! I know I'd read it, for sure. Hopefully NaNo is going well for you.

    Behind the Name is an addictive website. I can spend hours doing "research" (wasting time) on that site (and Behind the Surname as well). But I can always waste time doing research, so maybe this isn't unusual . . .

    -Rebekah @ Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding

    1. Thanks! It's going well so far. I've been keeping up with my word count and making progress in the story.

  2. Ohh, I so loved reading this!! And I totally think I want to start setting aside time to actually do more consistent writing. hehe. I tend to binge-write like a few times a year? And it works, but I miss it in between times!
    And I love middles the best too!! I love writing quirky bantery dialogue, so I find that comes out more in middles, since the endings more have emotions running high and everyone dying. Good stuff.
    Thanks for joining in our link up!

    1. Thanks for hosting it! I've enjoyed linking up.

  3. I think I've said this already but OZ RETELLING EEK. I love your first sentence :D Wow, you have such structure to your life. I basically write whenever I can and that's all I can hope for XD

    1. Thanks!

      "Wow, you have such structure to your life."

      Haha! I'm glad you think so. Normally, my writing time is not at all this structured, which is why it usually takes me much longer to finish a draft.

  4. Oooh-- I love your first line!
    Outlining tends to really stress me out for some reason, but I have tried outlining for rewrites in the past, and it is really helpful. *nods* And it's great that you've gotten used sharing your writing-- that is something I have so much trouble with, personally.

    1. Thank you! Outlines aren't for everyone; pantsers are people, too! ;)

      Yeah, the sharing process was a long one. Writing classes helped break me of my anxiety about sharing and reading my work with others.

  5. A Wizard of Oz retelling? That sounds really cool! I wish you the best of luck with it! And Kingdom Hearts = awesome I love those games! What's your wordcount so far in NaNo?

    I'm doing NaNo too and I found you through Beautiful People. I did BB this month as well. ^ ^

    1. Thanks! I'm just short of 24,000 words right now. I expect I'll break 25k tonight or early tomorrow.

      And Kingdom Hearts is awesome. I'm in the middle of Birth by Sleep, so I'll probably spend a weekend playing through more of Ventus' story when I finish this.

  6. Sounds awesome. I love retellings and I enjoyed reading about your writing process. :)


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