Writing friend Donna Galanti asked if I would join The Writing Process Blog Tour, and since I can’t ever have too many things to do, I said yes!
The awesome Donna Galanti writes suspense, young adult, and middle grade fiction and is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A HUMAN ELEMENT (Echelon Press). Watch for her suspense novel A HIDDEN ELEMENT, the sequel to A HUMAN ELEMENT, coming summer 2014 by Imajin Books. Her middle grade series, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, debuts in 2015 by Month9Books. Check out Donna’s Writing Process post, and follow her on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads—or all of them.
Without further ado, here’s what passes for my writing process:
What am I working on?
On Friday, I got my editing notes for my middle grade novel OZCILLATION (coming in 2015 from Evil Jester Press), so I am getting ready to dive into those. Currently, I am wavering between freaking out and excited. I’m a writer who enjoys revision, though, so I am eager for this challenge!
Because I like to have several projects going at once (it helps me block writer’s block), I also am editing two short stories that I hope will find homes this year; finishing up the formatting for my genealogy book, THE WARREN FAMILY OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND THEIR ANCESTORS, which should be available soon via POD; querying my YA novel THE ORACLE OF DELPHI, KANSAS; writing a first draft of my current Work-In-Progress, a YA sci-fi titled VERITAS; and looking forward to the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference in June.
Add my Mom duties to all that, and, yeah, I’m busy!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, that’s a question that every author should know the answer to, but most of us struggle with! I write middle grade and YA—which are categories rather than genres, but I write different genres within each category. Some of my kids are ordinary, some have paranormal powers. They all get into adventures they didn’t seek. So far, none of that is very different from most work in my genre.
My focus, however, is on a kid or teen’s ability to change the world. Kids often feel helpless when facing the problems out in the world. They don’t think they can do anything to change things. I know they can. All my characters, ordinary or paranormal, find their own unique gifts and use them to solve the problems they face—and in doing so, they change their worlds. Kids need to know that being who they truly are is powerful, and that their power can change the world. I know this is true because I have seen it happen.
Why do I write what I do?
These are the types of books I have always liked to read. Both as a child and an adult, I have been drawn to books that range from sci-fi/fantasy to those with just a touch of paranormal. I love to touch the magic that we cannot see. In short, I like books where the world is so much more than it seems, and where the characters discover that they themselves are so much more than they ever imagined. Books that show kids that one person can change the world–and that they are never too young to be that person.
How does my writing process work?
It’s rather a miracle it works at all, because I feel like I spend all my time putting out fires and jotting down words that may or may not be coherent when I look back later!
When an idea comes to me, I write a down-and-dirty outline. And by outline I mean summary of what I think might happen. I usually have a beginning and an end, and a large blank spot in the middle. One friend dubbed it the “miracle-happens-here” approach to outlining. I have been trying to think things through a little more in my pre-writing stage lately, to keep me from floundering too much when writing. I will never be one of those authors who outlines every scene before they even start writing (how do they do that?), but having a better handle on structure and character arc before I start will allow me to take better advantage of the snatches of time I have to write in.
Once I know where I’m headed, I start to write. I usually write chronologically, but I will skip around if a scene comes to me strongly. Because I have a 4-year-old who is at home most of the time, my writing time tends to be highly segmented and divided into short periods. So some days I manage many words, some days not so much. But I generally strive to write a complete chapter per day when I am in full writing mode (my chapters tend to be short).
I like feedback early in the writing process. When I first started writing seriously, I wrote with a writing partner—we were practically symbiotic in our relationship. Unfortunately, she passed away about 11 years ago, and I had to figure out a whole new writing process that involves less early feedback from others. I have found a great critique group, and I have some wonderful beta readers who are willing to give me honest feedback, whether it’s on a first draft or a final draft.
Revision is where my book starts to feel solid. Usually it’s not until the 5th draft that I feel like things are getting close to “The End.” I start with a big-picture storyboard edit to track the plot structure and arcs, then slowly whittle down to sentence-level edits such as destroying every “was” I can find. Once it’s as polished as I can make it, I get a professional edit, and then it’s ready for sending to agents!
That’s my process in a nutshell! I’m pleased to hand off to two amazing people for next week:
Writing maven Jami Gold writes beach reads with bite, delighting in paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The queen of beat sheets, Jami shares her wealth of writing knowledge with her blog readers and workshop attendees. Jami will post her Writing Process Blog on Thursday, May 22nd.
Very busy man Uriah Young is an author, motivational speaker, and publicist. He strives to find out what makes people successful, and motivate high school and college students to find their passion. Writer, speaker, and podcaster, he often seems to be everywhere at once! Uriah will post his Writing Process Blog on Monday, May 19th.