Last week, Jami Gold participated in the My Writing Process Blog Tour, and she invited fellow writers along for the ride. Jami writes “beach reads with bite” (’tis the season for beach reads–hooray!) and blogs regularly on topics for writers of any kind. Thanks for the invite, Jami!
The My Writing Process Blog Tour is just as it sounds–writers can post about their process (see below for details). While my process is (of course) essential, I don’t take time to examine very often (especially when I’m nearing the deadline on my WIP!). So without wasting further time, on to the questions!
1. What am I working on?
I’m currently seeking representation for my debut novel, a paranormal thriller called SEED OF BODY.
To face her greatest fear, Dr. Evelyn Adams will first have to create its antidote…death prevention in powdered form. When a desperate wife uses the new probiotic to resurrect her dead husband, he returns, mind trapped in a nightmare, body attacking those around him. When the spreading bacteria causes others to attack also, Evelyn must cross the United States to get to the lab she needs, convincing the survivors she doomed to help her along the way.
The fog invaded Evelyn’s eyes, and no matter how much she blinked, she saw white, as if they had made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. Enveloped by clouds, broad daylight trying to burn through, Evelyn and Hugh followed the shadow ahead. Beside her, Hugh found every tree root along the way. The snapping threatened the sanctity as she walked toward the moment, the ground rising beneath her feet. She gasped when a hand grabbed hers and pulled it through the mist to a plant unseen. “Here,” said Marie. Evelyn wrapped her hand around a flower no bigger than a tube of lipstick, covered in petals, the kind Marie said revived the old woman. Evelyn traced over the thorns until she met the milky pollen. Hugh slid his fingers down her arm to reach the plant. He sucked in a bit of air—of course he found a thorn. Evelyn sighed as if she had been holding back the progress of the world until this moment arrived.
2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
- The merger of realism with the paranormal. The probiotic in SEED OF BODY is so plausible, it’s terrifying.
- Humor. I love to laugh, so I can’t help but use unexpected humor in my writing.
- An emphasis on diversity and social justice. My characters represent a variety of backgrounds, and my work crosses borders.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Horror and paranormal thriller texts are what I love to read and watch. I write in these genres to discuss what scares me about the world and to accept that there is more to our world than what we see. By examining the world through a speculative lens, I understand it better, even if it still troubles me.
4. How does my writing process work?
I trust my process. I have to in order to write bravely. Here are the fun facts:
1. I have a rhythm.
- I write every morning and text a friend for accountability. One hour through the week and two hours on Saturday and Sunday. In the summer when I’m off from teaching, it’s four hours most days. This iron-clad routine makes everything else possible.
2. When I’m not writing, I’m writing.
- I take a notebook or my phone with me everywhere. It’s not organized. In college, I wrote all through my literature lectures (it looked like I was taking notes, he he). Since I don’t have that anymore, I now write the entire time I’m at church, because it’s one of the few places where I’m required to just sit, be quiet, and check in with myself for an hour. The Bible and the essential questions typically raised are good for my genre, because they deal a lot with life, death, and fear. They also make room for something beyond what I can see and hear.
- I read a lot, and use Goodreads to help keep me in books.
3. When I’m writing, focus and trust are my greatest assets.
- I use Trello to break down my writing tasks into achievable mini-goals.
- In the drafting stage, I use word count goals (about 1,000 words an hour). I’ve also had success prepping for the drafting stage using the snowflake method. My ideas most often start with “What if…?” Unless an issue arises that is detrimental to the draft, I make a comment about it and just keep going. As I get to know the characters, they have my full permission to take the story in new directions.
- In the revision stage, I re-read the draft and add comments to problem spots, and then I process all the comments. This stage can feel like I’m making zero progress, so I do a balance of quick-fix problems and slow-fix problems in each session to create momentum.
- I try to get excited about getting stuck, because I know it means something new and cool and unknown even to me is going to arrive as a solution. I live by Annie Dillard’s quote from The Writing Life: “One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”
- On feedback: I listen to my readers at least 90% of the time. I try not to make excuses. The work is not me. Anyone who’s giving me feedback clearly cares about me. They want what’s best for the work. I should too. My best revisions come from their questions and responses. They don’t tell me how to fix it, which is good, because I still get to go into the adventure of the unknown.
Come On Tour With Me!
To participate, write a blog post next week and…
- Acknowledge the person and the site who invited you into the tour (that’d be me and you’d link back to this post).
- Label your post as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.
- Answer these same four questions about your writing process in the post.
- Nominate and link to up to three people to participate who would then post their answers the week after yours.
- Let me know in the comments if you’re going to participate, so I can add your link to this post.
Week of 6/1, Tour
- Kira Butler, horror and dark fantasy author, will share her process. She has a deadline to finish the first draft of her novel on 6/1, so it will be great to hear her reflections once that’s done. Go Kira!
- Amy Giuffrida, NA horror author, is sharing over on her blog. Check out her pitch!