Monday, June 16, 2014

"My Writing Process" Blog Tour, Maxwell Edition

Through a complicated set of circumstances (that mostly was me going "Hey,") I've been invited to participate in the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour & Baton Passing. Thanks to Carol Strickland for passing the baton off to me!

The rules are complex, delving into the depths of the human psyche wherein one may find monsters worthy of emerging from the mind of Lovecraft and where hellscapes do battle with rainbow unicorn lands for dominance within one's soul. It is a trip from which one may never return, with danger, drama, and-

Oh, wait, wrong blog tour. I'm just supposed to answer some questions about writing.

1) What am I currently working on?
Right now, I have three primary projects. The first one is the YA Atlantis story I talked about in this post so long ago. The world still needs some building, but it's fairly well-developed. What's not entirely developed is the story and the main character. I tried to start without them and got stuck on chapter 2.

The second project is a pirate-themed trilogy. The first book is the only novel I've managed to finish, but that was a few years ago. I looked at it again recently and realize I have a lot to fix: Long, dull "telling" paragraphs, adverbs and "very"s aplenty, far too much pirate slang (so many red squiggly lines...), and a dreaded "unconscious for far longer than is healthy due to head injury" scene. Whoops. I also realize that I may be missing an entire scene at the end. It ends of a bit of a cliffhanger, and after talking with some friends about it at a write-in, I think I have an idea of where it really should end.

And the third project is honestly the one with the largest scale and smallest potential market: a superhero series. Spanning three generations of various heroes, called Aces, from the 1980s to 2030, it's less a series and more a universe. Plots for each story follow anyone from the greatest heroes of the day to the small-time criminal and can be flash fiction to full novel. It varies from one story to another, and they all build upon each other between stories and generations. The world the Aces live in changes between each generation as forces for good and evil rise and fall. I've started with some of the short stories while I plot out the larger ones, and so far, I'm loving working inside this universe, especially with the little guys.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Mostly, because it's mine and no one else can write the stories in my head. I'm not trying to push any envelopes or break any molds. I just want to tell good stories of adventure and discovery, easy reads for the people who want to escape the real world for a little while.

While the overall concepts may not be mold-breakers, I try to make the individual stories have unique elements, though. Some of the stories for the Aces series focus on non-super characters in a super world (like the costume designer, the bank robber, or the henchman) or supers who choose not to use their powers (like the unstoppable Ace who's much happier doing tax audits than saving the world). The hero from the Atlantis story has asthma and a heart condition, making him be a hero while keeping an eye on his health and a very dangerous weakness. The pirate trilogy takes place in a world where metal is rare, requiring some major changes to the weaponry you'd normally find in the setting. Little things like that that come down to the individual story.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write adventure fiction because I've always dreamed of having my own adventure. I've spent a lifetime daydreaming about climbing mountains, of finding lost treasure or forgotten bones, of myth and magic being real. My muse gives me story ideas that fit these molds to keep me sane and safe at home. I write speculative fiction adventures so I can live vicariously through my characters.

4) How does your writing process work?
My regular readers will know that I'm still figuring this out, really. I've tried pantsing, just slamming words down on the paper and going where they take me. It rarely worked out, although I did manage to put "The end" on one full-length novel. Kinda. It's more "to be continued." Now I'm trying outlining, and it's not exactly doing it for me either, although it's gotten me through two short stories. As it is, I'm just trying to make a schedule that won't burn me out and a balance of writing and plotting that will lead to more completed stories.

And that's it. That's what I'm up to and how the magic happens at the Maxwell house (Not to be confused with the coffee brand. There is no coffee at my house. If you come expecting any, you will be sorely disappointed.) Now I'm passing the baton on to a few good friends who'll continue the tour in a week! Enjoy!

Melanie Williams is an aspiring speculative fiction author. She delights in writing stories where the character are often both People of Color and LBGT+. A geek to her core, she can be found at her blog, Eclectic Little Dork.

My #1 writing buddy, victim of my plotholes, and the one to blame for many of my ideas, I'm making Agent Double Oh Zero resurrect her blog for this. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, metalhead, Whovian, and general geekian who can be found blogging at God of Ephemera.