This is a fun blog tag that my friend Hazel West over at Hazel West's Character Purgatory tagged me for! Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged about anything having to do with my own writing! The rules are simple: answer the four questions below about your writing (they are the same four questions every time), and then tag 1-4 other bloggers! Read Hazel's writing process post here!
Q: What are you working on?
A: Two projects, actually. The first one is almost done; it's out to beta readers right now and will soon be prepped and ready for submission to agents! The other project is too new for me to really talk about - so, I will talk about my near-completed project! It's entitled The Birthright, and the lengths it took to finally come up with that title is a story in and of itself. The Birthright is a Victorian mystery - except it takes place in my own world, heavily patterned after the Victorian era. Seventeen-year-old Ivy Eakins is the orphaned daughter of a ruined country gentleman, unwanted by her relatives and eventually forgotten at a charity school. But then she is hired as a governess in Dr. Clemmins's house - one of the most respected physicians in Loussex. There, she is given an opportunity to better herself, and welcomed as nearly a part of the family. But when a priceless and famous diamond necklace disappears, Ivy is forced to flee, and before she knows it, she is caught up in a myriad of plots involving Loussex's worst criminals. No one is who they seem, and she can trust no one. This book has been a seven-year labor of love, and I still can never write a synopsis that does it justice. Many of the characters I came up with when I was about ten years old, but of course they've matured with me. The Birthright actually began as a medieval fantasy series, but somehow got turned into a Dickensian style mystery - don't ask how that happened.
Q: How does you work differ from others of its genre?
A: The Birthright hearkens back to the classic Victorian narration. It isn't just a novel about Victorian people and set in a Victorian-like era; it is a Victorian novel. Charles Dickens was a very heavy influence while I wrote this book, and it shows. There are a lot of Victorian mysteries for both Young Adults and Adults, but very few are capable of capturing the essence of The Victorian Novel. I won't claim that I've captured it perfectly, but I hope that I have come as close as a modern-day girl can get it.
Q: Why do you write what you write?
A: I write what I love, what calls to me. And I write to create actual literature; to create a good story and to give these characters a voice. I would never write what's popular; I couldn't sacrifice what I deem literature just to make money. I am a major fan of Victorian mysteries, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen. I adore novels with a myriad of colorful characters, a sarcastic narration, and a mix of the dark with the light. You can have the grimmest thing happen, and yet you're laughing because, somehow, it's just too true to not be funny! Irony; I like irony, and gallows humor. I love stories with The Practical Female, stories that have brotherhood and sisterhood - stories about friendship, with villains who you find yourself admiring despite their evilness, and treachery and tragedy. Stories about people who are abandoned, who have nothing and no one to fall back on but their skills, and they refuse to become a victim. I know there are other Readers out there who want more stories like that, and I hope to write them.
Q: How does your writing process work?
A: Taking lots of midnight walks and scalding-hot showers and shouting at my characters to just tell me what happens already! In all honesty, I have no definite process; it seems to change with every story, and to be honest - writing The Birthright was easy compared to starting completely from scratch with my new story. The Birthright was born from rather peculiar beginnings, but I had a solid somewhere when I started writing it in earnest. But, you're asking for a writing process, and this is something of what it looks like when I actually try to follow one:
- I establish the characters; get to know them. Then I get to know their world.
- Make lots and lots and lots of notes!
- Start at the beginning - any beginning - and just see where it takes me. I wrote four complete drafts of The Birthright. All of them I completely and totally scrapped, and not a single one of them was similar to the other. It makes for a long process, but I explore each and every direction the story could take. Sometimes I have to explore it to the very end before I know that it isn't what I want.
- Put my sister and close friends through rewrite after rewrite and asking them questions at odd hours of the day.
- Scrap my current draft and start all over! Cut and paste the parts I like, but mostly likely they'll be rewritten later. Patchwork helps me figure out what happens next.
- Most importantly, I don't delete anything.
So, who do I tag? I tag this person:
Kel @ Booked Til Tuesday