Writing is a serious business and most of us have a certain way that we must work in order to make the magic happen. First, I’d like to thank Susan Fodor for inviting me to be the latest to talk about my writing process. You can check out her process here.
For those of your interested in my process, read on.
What am I working on?
After two months in Europe (Paris and then Florence), I’m heading home with a lot of raw poetry and a few fantasy/scifi short stories. I’ll need to wrestle the poetry into top form (hehh) and polish the shorts. I’m also spit-shining the yet-to-be-titled sequel to Dying for a Living, an urban fantasy novel that will be published next week! (Yikes!)
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It is similar in that I draw a great deal of inspiration from other writers (King, Rice, Harris, Hamilton, Gaiman, Ozeki, etc.), but different because I never let myself write anything I’ve read before. For example, take Jesse Sullivan, the star of my Dying for a Living series. She is a death-replacement agent with a neurological disorder that allows her to die so others don’t have to. I’ve never read a story with a similar concept. Even though the themes are common staples in my genre—mystery, murder, sex, madness, etc.—Jesse, and by extension her story, is unique.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve heard that writers gravitate toward the stories they love to read, and this is certainly true for me. I love stories with strong female characters who must come to terms with their own power and embrace it before it destroys them. I love that *&^%. So I have a tendency to write about women in that way. But the other part of the equation is the story itself and its own agency. I’ve had stories “tell” me which way they are going to go—whether or not they would have fantastical elements or be more realistic, if a character would or wouldn’t do something, etc—all, usually, against my initial plans. So it’s part personal interest, part—something else.
How does your writing process work?
Because I’m a relatively young writer and still have a lot to learn, I think my process is still evolving. Little things are changing every day. But so far, here are the consistencies. 1) I try to write in the morning. It is the best way to get the writing actually done. Even though I am more “creatively alive” around 11PM, sometimes if I wait that late, I can never bring myself to actually sit down and get the work done. 2) I aim for 2000 words a day. 3) It usually takes me 90mins to 2 hours to hit this number. 4) I blast through a first draft leaving a very, very messy trail of dead bodies—er, pages—behind me. 5) I revise said messy pages and then shelve it for a while to give it distance (this can be anywhere from a week for shorter pieces to a year for novels). 6) Once I pull it out of storage, I do another 2 or 3 rounds of edits, following my instincts as well of the advice of my beta readers.
Only after all of this, do I even consider publishing it.
Ashley Wakefield is a PhD candidate in poetry at Aberystwyth University, Wales, and works primarily with Anglo-Saxon poems in contemporary translation. Her current writing project examines the story of Judith as told in Anglo-Saxon, and aims to re-tell the tale in a book length series of poems that mimic the experience of oral storytelling and explore the multiple perspectives present in Judith. Check her out at A Thoroughly Dangerous Girl.
Erin Leary has been a closeted writer for years, only recently daring to share some of that writing with others. After a year-long commitment to writing more, she now has a completed novel that is in the hands of an agent and is holding her breath--and working on another story. When not writing, Erin manages an International IT organization for a large company. With over 25 years of business and technology management experience and a degree in International Relations from Stanford University, she also completed a Certificate program in International Management from the Thunderbird School. You can visit her here.
Dan is a budding high fantasy author with two successful NaNoWriMos under his belt. Somehow words manage to be written in between working as an IT guru, reviewing cars, and chasing after twins and an infant. He and his finished manuscript will be featured on Book Country in Early March. Be sure to check out his blog here.