The Writing Process Blog Hop: Take Two

Before you start, yes, I know I’ve already written a post about this. But Jon over at Jumping From Cliffs (you should totally check him out! His posts are full of dry wit and helpful advice) tagged me again, this time as a writer. What do I mean, “this time”? Well, if you recall, the last post was morphed slightly to impart my views on the process as an editor. Not necessarily my views as a writer. But, contrary to how it may seem, I am actually still a writer. Editing may have taken over my life, and I may often feel like I’m trying to bail out my sinking schedule with a spoon, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my writing. In fact, quite the contrary.

So Jon has graciously given me a second chance to participate in the blog hop, not as freelance editor extraordinaire, or even Editorial Director for REUTS Publications, but as just little old me, the author.

How does it work? It’s really quite simple: I answer the following four questions and then send you off to read about some truly amazing folks. And trust me, the four I’ve chosen each have something unique to offer that you won’t want to miss.

But first, the questions:
1) What are you working on?
I already spoke about Unmoving in that previous post. So, rather than repeat myself, I’ll talk about the series it’s part of as a whole. (If you want to find out more about Unmoving specifically, simply click here.)

Unmoving is the first in a long urban fantasy series (I think I’m up to about 15 plot bunnies) that I’ve dubbed The Synchronicity Series. For those unfamiliar with the term, “synchronicity” is a psychological theory developed by Carl Jung. In it’s simplest definition, it means you find meaning and connection between two seemingly unrelated events. This concept is the foundation of the series, making its presence in the series name an obvious, yet essential, choice.

Each book technically stands alone. Unlike other series, there’s no common character, or place, or even theme linking them all together. How is that a series? Hold on, you’ll see. Instead of the usual conventions that link a book to its sequels, I use the principle of synchronicity. Each book contains at least one Easter egg, what I’ve been calling a jump-off point, a place where the various plots in the series momentarily intersect. It could be a brief encounter on the street, a phone conversation someone overhears, or even something seen along the road, but somewhere in each book, you’ll meet the main character of the next one. The characters all lead completely separate lives, so to each, the jump-off point is an irrelevant, unrelated event in the grander plot of their story (one you’ll get to see from both sides), but to the reader, it has meaning. If you’re willing to look for it.
2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
Aside from what I just outlined? Hmm, that’s a hard one.

I suppose I would say that my work tends to be very multilayered and complex. It’s never just one genre. I tend to pull from several — fantasy, horror, thriller, mystery, etc. — to make one strange and twisted blend. Then I’ll infuse that with another layer of psychological torture and a dash of cinematography. I’ve always said that I don’t write like a writer. I write like a film director. So I think, (well, hope) there’s a definite cinematic feel to my generally somber stories.

But even though my work is classified as dark, there’s always a ray of hope laced through it. And there’s always a message buried somewhere. Nothing pretentious or preachy, just something subtle that I hope readers will pick up on and that will give them pause to think.

Does that qualify as different? You tell me. 😉
3) Why do you write what you write?
Honestly? Because I don’t know how to write anything else. As a reader, my tastes are as varied as they come. But when it comes to writing, only one thing comes out — dark fantasy. Fantasy has always been my go-to genre of choice, and until recently, it was more of the high/dark fantasy variety. I never expected to branch off into urban or paranormal. So maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe I’m not as rigidly defined as I think. I do suspect that I’ll always stay somewhere within the speculative fiction genres though, as trying to create a contemporary novel literally boggles my mind. I truly don’t understand how its done, how you create tension and conflict without the aid of something supernatural. (The fascinating part is that I totally get it when it comes to editing. It’s only my writer half that’s completely baffled by it.)

Maybe that makes me a little dense as a writer, but I choose to think of it as self-knowledge. I know exactly what I’m meant to write, so why bother trying to force something different?
4) How does your writing process work?

I actually wrote an overly detailed version of this about a year and a half ago: How Does She Come Up With This Stuff?

But the short answer, for those that don’t want to sludge through that previous post, is music. I have a very strong connection with music (as most writers do) and literally everything I do creatively stems from it. The core story idea directly correlates to the song that inspired it, although I seem to have a distinct gift for taking even the happiest, sweetest songs and making them dark and twisted. (Unmoving being the prime example. It was inspired The Script’s “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”.)

I’m not a big outline person, though I do tend to write very linearly. So once I have an idea, I only create the bare minimum in terms of a road-map. I’ll block in the scenes on a spreadsheet, with only a few words to summarize the goal. This allows the writing to remain very organic, while still progressing steadily toward the final point of the tale. Technically, I suppose I fall somewhere between a pantser and a plotter, since I like to have a sense of direction, but also like to be surprised by the details that appear as I’m writing.

That concludes my portion of today’s program. Now, I get to introduce you to four of my favorite people:
Priya Kanaparti: Author of Dracian Legacy, Priya is a ray of sunshine. Seriously. There’s something about her voice that feels warm and happy, even when she’s writing the most heart-wrenching scenes. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious, and she’s probably one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. She’s also extremely determined and focused. Her regimented writing schedule leaves me in awe. I’m sure she’s got a few tips and tricks we could all benefit from, so be sure to check out her writing process in the next few days!
Drew Hayes: Drew is one of the funniest people I know. His posts are full of sarcasm and brilliantly wicked analogies that have me laughing out loud on a regular basis. Author of several self-published works, including a serial web novel, and the upcoming The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, The Vampire Accountant, Drew has experienced all the various forms of publication. His latest experiment — live-writing a novel during the month of April — is one you definitely won’t want to miss!
Cait Spivey: Fellow editor, and newest member of the REUTS Publications family, Cait has plenty of insight to offer. Author of the serial short story I See the Web, as well as several NA novels, she also bridges the fence between writing and editing. Her blog features a lot of helpful articles on writing and publishing, and I highly recommend it. She shares a lot of the same viewpoints I do, so if you enjoy Nightwolf’s Corner, you’ll find a lot to love in Cait’s work too. 😉
Summer Wier: Summer is one of the most genuine, supportive people I’ve ever met. She’s also a brilliantly gifted writer. Her debut YA novel is currently making the querying rounds, but she’ll have three short stories in the REUTS Publications anthology of retold fairy tales releasing this fall. Her posts range from book reviews to personal experiences in the writing world, but the one thing contained throughout is her signature wit and humble honesty. So definitely show her the love she gives to the writing community and check her out!
And, of course, be sure to stop by Jumping from Cliffs. Jon has been one of my favorite bloggers for a long time now, and his quick wit never disappoints.
Andrew Toynbee is another person I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, as we (along with Jon) started blogging around the same time. He, too, is participating in the blog hop, and his post is nothing short of epic. So if you’re looking for even more writer awesomeness, be sure to check it out!

Next week, I’ll have something insightful and snarky for your reading pleasure. What that will be? I don’t know yet. So if you have a request, now’s a great time to let me know. 😉 Until then, happy reading!


10 thoughts on “The Writing Process Blog Hop: Take Two

  1. Kisa, we have remarkably similar writing processes. I used the analogy of inflating a sausage balloon in my blog hop, but in fear of confusing the image, I didn’t mention another analogy – one I think you may relate to. My debut novel and the two that will follow all have established endings, specific conclusions that make the stories possible and give them direction. So writing them is rather like nailing down the tail of a snake and writing from the head end. That snake can writhe and squirm as much as it likes as I move along towards that distant tail, but no matter how much it moves, I am still headed for that specific event – the tail (organic writing – in a literal sense). It’s a delight to discover new, unforeseen events and character aspects along the way, but the story is set.
    Unless, of course, I think of an even better conclusion mid-way. 😀
    BTW, Love The Script!
    Did you know that Robert A Heinlein also distributed Easter Eggs? Not in the bunny-with-a-basket sense, but if you read enough of his books, you often find characters or references to other events in his works. Number of the Beast is the one that springs to mind. In one chapter, he even crosses over into E.E.’Doc’ Smith’s universe. Showing my age here…
    I’m also a fan of these eggs. I’m hoping to link aspects of my (as yet incomplete) High Fantasy and sci-fi stories with my ‘Angels of York’ stories.

    • That is an excellent analogy! And I agree, we do seem to work very similarly. I enjoy all the new details my characters throw at me (which probably makes me sound a little bit schizophrenic), but sometimes they can be a little frustrating, as they’ll dramatically alter the way things were originally going to play out. And once that detail’s there, there’s no going back without the whole scene feeling forced and off-kilter. I had that happen recently, and it resulted in nearly 6 months of writers block! I couldn’t figure out how to get around that new detail to the scene that was supposed to follow.

      I’m not sure I’ve read any of Heinlein’s work, but I’ll definitely have to look it up now! I enjoy hunting for those little details, and believe it brings another layer of richness to an author’s work. So thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  2. Fascinating post Kisa – I’m completely hooked by the concept of your series. The theme of lives crossing each other unknown and unseen is one that fascinates me and it’s actually a fairly key theme in my own work. I want you to have written the whole series now, so I can go through and map out where each of the stories jogs past another 😀

    And thank you for your kind words as well *blush*

    • Thanks Jon! Maybe after I’ve written a few of them, I’ll showcase the intricate web of notes I’ve had to create in order to keep all the links accurate. It’s kind of messy though, so I’ll need to come up with a prettier way to display it before then. But I’m really glad the concept is intriguing. I thought it was, but you never know what the world will think, you know?

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