My friend Lauralynn Elliott was kind enough to invite me to join her on this blog tour about writing process. Lauralynn was an inspiration and a huge help as I began my publishing journey in 2011, and we’ve been buddies ever since. Check out Lauralynn’s post from last week, and I’ll also link to the authors following me at the end of this post. Thanks for the invitation, Lauralynn! 🙂
What am I working on?
A lot of things! I’m so far from a monogamous writer, it’s not even funny. (Really. Just try it. Not funny. lol) I get bored easily, and when you look at my fiction writing, that’s obvious.
I’m currently editing the second book in my Foulweather Twins fantasy series. Also, in a couple of weeks I’ll start writing the fifth novella in my Children of the Sidhe fantasy romance series. I’m also looking to publish a couple of short stories this year.
And I have a LONG list of projects behind these….enough to keep me busy for many years. Just the way I like it!
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t think a lot about genre when I’m conceptualizing a story. I think more about how cool it would be to X Y Z, or to be X Y Z. This has made it difficult to pin a genre on my work. Or a targeted age group, for that matter. But I have figured out what draws me to writing fiction, and what I will always pursue:
I’m all about myth and magic. A while ago I went on a vision quest (not really), trying to understand the commonalities that tie my strange story worlds together into a somewhat cohesive personality. Myth and magic is what I emerged with, and I’ve found it really does sum up what I’m after as a writer. This is the stuff that is just pure FUN for me.
My Children of the Sidhe romance series is heavy on the fantasy worldbuilding (and the sex, some tell me. :)). My current fantasy series, Foulweather Twins, is set in the modern world, and features a stubborn and suspicious witch born to a reclusive family that serves a powerful, self-centered immortal.
Why do I write what I do?
Um…I can’t help it? Seriously, start any conversation with me and a fictional twist is just a heartbeat away. I joke with friends that I turned on the spigot a couple of years ago with story ideas, and there’s nothing that can turn it off again. Story worlds are it for me. I love fantasy. It makes me happy.
In the evenings, after my three and five year old kids are in bed, the thing I practically skip to do is pick up one of my books on mythology, natural magic, moon magic, herbology, superstition, world religion, world ritual, monsters, mythical creatures, secret societies….etc. And within a couple of pages I usually have a fun idea.
I dream about a time when I could actually turn an evening of ideas into a book in short order. And I’m working on getting good enough to do just that. It’s sure to take me some more years, so stay tuned… 🙂
How does my writing process work?
For me, stories start from all kinds of places. I’ll usually have some idea that eventually sparks a story long before I know what I’d actually write about. And at some point, I get bored with the current project dominating my time, and my attention turns to a back burner idea — and it BLOOMS. (In other words, some of my best creative work happens when I’m avoiding other projects. Yeah, quite a kicker.)
Once I have an idea, I try to understand the characters. Either they’ve spoken to me already, or I need to tease them out of hiding. This stage can take YEARS for me. I began thinking of my Foulweather twins back in 2003….don’t tell them I neglected them that long. No reason they should know.
I have issues with my ideas being very large. Things that could take me a million directions and ten years to write. Being that I have a rather incredible backlog of stories I’d love to write, understanding where I’m headed before I start writing has become key for me.
I plot ahead of time, but just as in my marriage, I’m not so tied to my plan that I let roadblocks actually stall me. I’d rather adapt than waste time (or angst).
Some days, it’s a matter of chasing that next sentence. I do not believe in writer’s block. Lay down that next sentence. And the next. And the next. Within a few minutes you’ll hit at least one spurt of understanding where you’re headed. No matter how fleeting, grasp those moments and run with them. But know that tomorrow you might not feel inspired. WRITE THE NEXT SENTENCE. AND THE NEXT. AND THE NEXT.
Other times, I believe I know exactly where I’m headed, and somehow my characters take me on a ride I didn’t expect. This is often my brain doing things I could never plan, that work far better than any plan I’ve made in my life. Let the brain do its magic. Don’t stick so stringently to your plan that you deny the magic. Your brain is amazing. Half of this game is learning to trust it, give thanks for it, and move the heck on to the next story.
Good luck, people! Let me know if I’ve been helpful in this post, of if you have questions about what I’ve said. What I’m doing, you can do, too. Practice, learn your craft, and tell your stories. Or, if you don’t have the writing bug, go right ahead and consume mine, if myth and magic appeals to you, too.
And next week, link to these fine ladies to learn more about how they do what they do…
Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business – a collection of humorous essays, Found (Penny Black #1), CROSSING, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she’s not foolin’ anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her two young children who have old people names.
Brooke Jackson has been creating stories for nearly as long as she has been able to hold a pencil. These days, when seh’s not at her day job, working miracles in the kitchen, or being the family carpenter and electrician, Brooke finds time to dream, plot and write. Marked by Glory is Brooke’s first published novel, available on Amazon and everywhere eBook are sold. It’s a riveting tale about the supernatural forces taht control our lives…and our hearts.