Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Beautiful People #26 – Author Writing Process Edition

I had so much fun in May participating in Cait (PaperFury) and Sky’s (Further Up and Further In) Beautiful People meme for writers, that I’ve decided to join in again.  This time, we’re talking about my writing process (or lack thereof, haha)!

 

How do you decide which project to work on?

It’s rare that I’ll obsess over a single project.  I usually work on multiple and rotate between them depending on what subjects I’m inspired to cover that day.

 

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

It really depends on the project and how motivated I am.  It took me three months to finish Secrets in Seaport, but that’s hardly an example of how long it takes for me to write well.  I think it took me about five months to finish my most recent project, Cliche, and I owe my fast pace to Aerin, my dear critique partner, co-writer, and muse. 🙂

 

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I don’t have an established routine for getting into the writing mood.  I take the opportunities as they come.  I never know when inspiration will strike next.  But in the past, listening to music that fits the mood or even just reading books have helped me break the cycle of writer’s block, at least for short periods.

If you know of any good ones, I’m all ears!

 

What time of day do you write best?

Extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night.  The best, albeit most absurd, madness-ridden pieces of writing typically come to fruition at unearthly hours.  I think the self-scrutinizing parts of my brain goes dormant when I’m half-asleep, which enables me to write more freely.

 

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

My tenth grade English teacher compared my writing style to that of Douglas Adams.  I tried reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that year and never finished it, so I can’t verify that comparison for myself.  Still, Adams was a Whovian and considered a terrific writer by many, so I appreciate the comparison.

Oddly, my writing style is easily influenced by whatever I’m reading at the time.

For example, I wrote Cliche on the heels of finishing A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix – there’s a chapter entitled Meanwhile, Back at the Bookstore.

If I’ve been reading a lot of Conan Doyle, my first-person narrative pieces include many “said I’s” and other quirky Doyleisms.  (One of these days, I’ll read enough that I’m motivated to continue my Sherlock Holmes genderswap story.)

I also try (but don’t often succeed) to read Dickens when I’m doing freelance writing, paid by the word. 😛

 

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started writing chapter books in word processor files at age ten because it was a quiet and not particularly costly way of making art.  People didn’t take notice, so they didn’t make a huge fuss about it at family gatherings, as they did with my musical dabbles.

Today, I write because first and foremost to entertain myself.  In my tweens and early teens, I had a hard time digesting books with vulgar content.  (I still do, though I have a clearer idea of my current comfort zone.)  Anyway, I tried writing the kinds of stories that wouldn’t make me blush or feel very indignant as a kid.  I want to publish them someday because I hope others like me, with my sensitivities, might benefit from them too.

 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

One of the hardest thing I’ve written so far, for a story, is a diary entry from the perspective of a character who has fallen in love.  As a headstrong young prude, it took me a while to embrace the reality that attraction, love, and the creation of new life needn’t necessarily be cheap, dirty, promiscuous things simply because the mainstream media portrays them as such so often.  The least I can do is portray those beautiful facts of life in a clean, tasteful way; once I realized that, I was able to tell the story of how After the Fall’s protagonist came to be.

 

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

Rewriting Adventures with my Time-Traveling Uncle.  It’s such a neat project, but at the time I wrote it, I really didn’t have the skills to convey the story in a compelling, publishable fashion.  I printed a single copy for myself and it’s around here somewhere, but I never sold it.  It was 50 book-pages long, approximately.  I have one-third a mind to retell the important parts as a short story, because I need to get back into the habit of writing those.

 

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn’t make any. 😀  That way, I was pleasantly surprised when I was suddenly able to churn out an entire first draft in about six months’ time!

 

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Spontaneous. Passionate. Progressive.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

The Young Writer’s Life According to RWBY: Beta-Reading Edition

Mild content warning: post features pictures of a somewhat skimpily-dressed anime character.

I ran a poll on my Twitter page a few weeks ago for the theme of my next “Young Writer’s Life According To…” post.  It was a 50/50 tie between Tangled (which has a surprising variety of gifs) and my favorite anime, RWBY.  So, why not both?

This gifset in particular puts particular attention on beta-reading, an immense readerly kindness I’ve come to appreciate in my latest writerly project.  That said, I’d like to dedicate this post to Aerin and Lauren, the best beta-readers a young writer like me could ask for.

And now, if you are among the 50% who voted for a RWBY-themed post, this’ll be the day you’ve waited for!

199087-rwby-rwby-logo-intro

Continue reading “The Young Writer’s Life According to RWBY: Beta-Reading Edition”

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

Answering Your Writerly Questions!

In honor of my 3rd Bloggiversary, I decided to hold a Q&A session with my wonderful readers.  Here are some of my favorite entries:

What’s your favorite genre to write in?

My favorite genre to write will always be fanfiction.  Not going to lie.  But of the more serious genres (the ones I can write in and publish in without getting sued), my favorite genre to write is currently mystery.  Whether it’s a mystery-adventure, a historical mystery, a contemporary fiction with a mystery subplot, there’s always an element of mystery in the things I write.

Of all the fandoms you’re a part of, which one do you find easiest to write fanfics for? 🙂

I think I know who sent this one in – you know me too well! 😉

For me, the easiest fandom to write fanfictions in is Star Wars.  The franchise has been around for forty years, and there’s just so much information about the Star Wars universe readily available.  Wookieepedia, the official Star Wars wiki, is just a click away, and it has everything from how lightsabers are built to the different slang dialects spoken by characters throughout the galaxy.  When I was part of a SW roleplay on Young Writers Society, I did a lot of research on the types of food and music they had available, and I think this made the setting seem all the more real.

If you could be a character in any book, which book and which character? Why them? 🙂

I think I’m going with Eowyn from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.  In both the book and the movie, I feel like Eowyn is the quintessential “strong female character.”  She’s brave; she goes out and fights for her people and all the free peoples of Middle Earth, disguised as a man, but she’s still distinctly feminine in the way she carries herself.  She’s like this happy medium between all the female lead archetypes I’m coming across in fiction today.  She does a bit of everything without losing her identity, basically.  Okay, the old-English pickup lines she kept using on Aragorn were a bit annoying, but if I became this character, I wouldn’t feel limited by her gender, abilities, personality, etc.

What’s your opinion about Lovecraft?

I’ll be honest, the first time I heard the word “Lovecraft,” I thought it was a type of Harry Potter romance fanfiction.  The author’s initials, H.P., didn’t help matters much.  (In my defense, I was really young when I came to this conclusion!)  I eventually found out more that H.P. Lovecraft was the author of several gothic horror stories, including “The Call of Cthulhu” and my interest is definitely piqued.  I’ve yet to read any of Lovecraft’s stories – nor have I played any of the computer games inspired by them – but one of these days, I’ll pull down a few from Project Gutenberg or Wikimedia Commons.  While I can’t yet give a definitive opinion, Lovecraft writes stories that I think I’d enjoy.

What is the first advice you would give to an aspiring writer?

This is such a great question, but it’s easier asked than answered!  There are literally a million potential answers coursing through my brain right now in no particular order – there’s just so much I know now that I wish I knew when I first started writing….

The first piece of advice I’d give is: plan everything to some extent.  Whether you write a rigid, formal outline or jot down a few ideas on the back of a napkin, it’ll make all the difference when you start writing.  Last month was NaNoWriMo, and there are primarily two schools of thought when setting out to write a 50k-word body of work in thirty days: “planning” and “pantsing.”

“Planning” is, as the name suggests, setting as rigorous a outline for the entire story.  There’s no way you can possibly go wrong or run out of ideas, unless halfway through the process, you decide What the heck?  I’ll stop following this lame outline!  Which brings us to “pantsing.”

“Pantsing” roughly translates to making everything up as you go along.  I tend to lean towards this school of thought, but I usually end up writer’s blocked because halfway through, I run out of ideas and get burned out.  I’ve found simply jotting down some casual notes about how I want the story to begin, climax, and end, as well as some loose character arc ideas is a nice, happy medium between the two extremes.

 

Thank you for taking part, and especially to all my readers, thank you so much for accompanying me this far on my writerly journey.  Here’s to another year of growth and creativity!

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

So, what *have* I been writing?

All this time, I said I was writing something, and you’ve all been very good in believing me.  Now for some proof. 😀

Whenever he thinks I’m asleep, Dad takes this picture of my mother that used to hang on our wall out of the truck’s glove compartment and just stares as it, sadly.  Tonight was one of those nights when he actually whispers to it.  I can’t tell what he’s saying … and I can’t imagine how she’d respond if she were here.

You see, she died when I was two.  I can barely remember the sound of her voice.  I like to think I can remember her smiling at me, but I think it’s just the picture Dad keeps of her.  In all of my “memories” of her, she’s always wearing that light and airy sundress from the photo.

BethGrangerflower-child-336658_1920

Mom was petite with straight-as-sticks blond hair, and eyes that I think were green.  It’s hard to tell when all you’ve got is a black and white picture.  Aside from my height, I’m glad I don’t take after her; if I did, I’m afraid Dad would look at me in the same sad way he looks at her photograph.

He never did tell me how she died.  I suppose he’s trying to protect me from something.  What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, they say.

I don’t think that’s true.  Curiosity burns … and burns hurt something awful.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, Uncategorized

New Blog Theme

I really loved the blog theme I’ve been using until now, “Baskerville.”  I liked the multiple columns of posts that showed up on the front page – it was a very nice way of showing a lot on the screen at once in an organized fashion.  However, readers I know personally complained that the post columns were awkward-looking, though, and the color scheme was pretty limited to a weird shade of green.  Mind you, I love that color, but I like being able to choose from a more diverse palette from time to time.

So it was time for a change.

At first, I was very scared to use this “Scratchpad” theme.  I was worried that, like many of the freebie WordPress themes I was considering, its customization options would be limited.  Plus, the color scheme in this demo image (pictured below) looked pretty tacky to me.

scratchpad-landing-image

I just wasn’t feeling that grey-blue background color.  Also, did I mention that there’s a  … HIGHLIGHTER (aka the evil yellow thing which permanently defiles pages)?!?!

Still, the bulletin-board, pencil-and-paper elements appealed to me, so I gave it a try.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how much customization this theme offers.  I was able to change the background to an image I really liked, and the available premade color schemes blend very well with just about any picture.

All in all, I am very happy with the result.  I still miss the columned arrangement a lot, but what I have now is very bright, cheerful, and most importantly, writerly. 🙂

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

My Answers for the “I Write MG/YA” blog tag

Hi there, my name is Allison Rose.  It has been six months since I drank coffee.  Oh wait, wrong post for that.  At the age of ten, I decided I wanted to be a writer.  At this point in my life, I’m writing fiction as a hobby (and presumably factual information because my grades depend on it); I’ve churned out a nice handful of shorts and fanfictions, and I’m in the process of writing a new novel for young readers.

Who are your favorite authors, and do they influence your writing?

I have too many favorites to count, but off the top of my head, I want to give a shoutout to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Maryrose Wood, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Bronte sisters, Christopher Paolini, and Louisa May Alcott.  Just reading their books has influenced me as a writer in more ways than I can count.  For the most part, though, I just read their books in utter admiration and hope I’ll one day be as good.

Here are some awesome authors who have positively influenced my writerly self in ways I can concisely identify:

My good writing friends Michael Gunter, Claire Banschbach, and Rachael Ritchey have shown me that it’s possible to tell fantastic and relevant stories without selling out.

Michael Crichton inspires me to make sure I know what I’m writing about before I write it, and to not be afraid to use your life experiences to enhance a story.  Conversely, Edgar Rice Burroughs has reminded me that it’s also okay to make up stuff sometimes.  Like, if putting a lion in the jungle will make your story more interesting, even though everybody knows lions don’t live there, go on ahead!

Mildred W. Benson (the first Carolyn Keene ghostwriter, and author of her own independent series about a cool teenage detective, Penny Parker) inspires me to write what makes me happy, even if it’s not what’s “in” right now.

The writings of Christopher Paolini prove to me that young people can and should write books … and at all costs, turn down Hollywood if they’re interested in turning your book into a movie.  That never ends well. 😛

Why do you write?

I write in part to entertain myself.  Growing up, I was a picky eater who thought she could live on macaroni ‘n’ cheese alone, and scandalized many a hobbit with my distaste for mushrooms.  I’ve gotten over that (mushrooms are actually quite delicious), but I’m still just as picky when it comes to the books I read.  The older I get, the more stuff I find in books that makes me blush, so I like to write the stuff I wish I was reading.

Is writing something you (would) do for a living, or is it just a hobby?

I’ve actually been working part-time as a content writer for a few months, but it’s not something I would do for my day job.  I think writing for a job would take the fun out of it for me.  Besides, I have terrible bouts of writers’ block – no boss would want to put up with that!

Do you enjoy reading the same genres that you enjoy writing? Why or why not?

When it comes to reading, I love a good mystery, thriller, or adventure novel.  There’s always a mystery element in my stories, but otherwise, I would say my writing leans more towards comedy or contemporary fiction.  I don’t particularly enjoy reading those genres.

If you could use one GIF to describe your writerly self, what would it be?

zibtf

How do you deal with writers’ block?

I let it run its course (the longest course has been two years), and live to tell about it afterwards.  The trick is not forcing oneself to write when their heart or mind isn’t in it.  That just makes the recovery period harder, I’ve found.

How do you feel about writing explicit content (e.g. “curse words” or suggestive content) in books for young people? Why?

I’ve read books for children where the authors seemed to be throwing in some pretty sick stuff just for shock value.  Undeniably, the world has a cruel, ugly side to it, but I don’t think that it’s my duty or responsibility as an author of children’s books to be showing that part of it to my readers, who may not yet know about it.  I’ll leave that to their parents or guardians.  For me, reading often provides an escape from the pressures and pains of reality; so why would I want to subject anyone else to more of that in a book?

Have you written books for adults before/after writing for young readers? What’s the transition between genres like?

Tbh, I can’t really answer this question because I’ve only written for kids, and for the most part, the only grownups who read what I write are my relatives … when I guilt them into it. 😛

What do you think of self-publishing versus traditional publishing? If you’ve only published traditionally, would you ever self-publish? And if you’re a self-published author, would you ever go the traditional route?

I think that self-publishing provides opportunities for authors who, for whatever reason, wouldn’t thrive in the traditional publishing system.  For example, that could be because their work is too deviant from societal norms … or because societal norms have become too deviant for their liking.

In my limited experiences submitting my writings, mostly to lit mags, they either ignore you completely, or insist you make all sorts of arbitrary changes before they’ll even consider printing it at all.  Also, I like being in full control of my work.  When you submit your writing to other entities, like magazines or journals, they often require you to sign over the rights should they ever print it.  And you aren’t allowed to post that piece anywhere else.  There are good reasons for all those restrictions, for sure, but it makes me uncomfortable.  My writing is mine, my own, my preciousssssssss….

One of these days, I think I’ll get brave and look into publishing traditionally. At this point in my life, though, I’m quite content self-publishing my stories, typos and all. 🙂

What’s one question you’ve been dying to ask other MG/YA writers?

All of the above! 😀 If you’re a writer of middle-grade or young-adult fiction, consider yourself tagged.  For more information, see last week’s post introducing the tag.