Friends! This week I’m participating in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour, and my friend and fellow writing group member Rachael Hanel got me involved in it. Thank you, Rachael! Side note: if you haven’t read We’ll Be The Last Ones To Let You Down, Rachael’s memoir, go get a copy immediately. Rachael’s up for a Minnesota Book Award in memoir, and I can’t wait to celebrate with her!
First things first: the blog post questions. Here’s a pretty accurate drawing of my writing process:
1) What am I working on? I’m working on another YA project, but it’s in the thinking stage, so I can’t really talk about it. My writing process has changed a bit as I’ve gotten along in my career, and I like to do a LOT of imagining and planning before I ever put words on the page (besides writing a detailed synopsis). So that book is always simmering on low in the crock pot (cesspool?) of my imagination.
I’m actively writing an adult project, but because of my job, I don’t get much time to work on it. Until the end of the semester, my goal is 2500 words per week. It barely sounds like progress, huh? But by the end of the semester, I’ll have (hopefully) close to 20,000 words.
I’m also getting ready for revisions on ORIGINAL FAKE, an illustrated novel that will be out with Penguin Putnam in early 2016. Right now we’re working out what will be illustrated and what will remain as text.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? That’s a great question I don’t know how to answer. I think my novels are more edgy, maybe, than other YA novels. I’m not afraid to be honest about tough subjects, in part because I’m living them right now with my own teenager. I also think my main characters have funky, quirky outlets for their voice, and that might be unusual. For example, in SKY, Morgan yells in her hills and leaves snarky notes all over. In BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, Gabe’s radio show (and the music he chooses for it) is his voice. In ORIGINAL FAKE, the novel that will be out in early 2016, Frankie’s art is his voice. Not sure what Theo’s outlet is (the protag from my next project). That knowledge is still to be revealed.
3) Why do I write what I do? I write YA because I think teenagers are hilarious, interesting, and willing to take risks. I also write YA because then I can do all the things I wanted to do as a teen—scream at the sky, have a radio show, make crazy art. I also love that a YA novel generally/kind of/sort of allows us to leave readers with some sense of hope for the future. I’m all about hope.
4) How does my writing process work? I answered part of that in #1, but right now, I try to do a lot of thinking before I ever draft. That’s very different than before. When I first started writing fiction, I just threw it all on the page, then scrapped it all if it didn’t work and did a whole new draft. I can’t even tell you how many times I did that to BEAUTIFUL MUSIC. Too many! Now I try to be as efficient as possible. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course I still revise, but my goal now is to keep most of the book when I improve it, instead of none of the book. I don’t have time to scrap whole books anymore! I don’t have any set time or place to write, just because my life is nuts. I get it done when I can do it. There’s music, usually, and some lemon water or tea, and my computer–that’s about all I need for my writing process.
Next week this lovely lady will be carrying the blog tour forward with her writing process. Here’s Juliann:
Minnesota writer Juliann Rich spent her childhood in search of the perfect climbing tree. The taller the better! A branch thirty feet off the ground was a good perch for a young girl to find herself. Seeking truth in nature and finding a unique point of view remain crucial elements in her life as well as her writing.
Juliann is a PFLAG mom who can be found walking Pride parades with her son. CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE is her debut novel and will be available on June 16th, 2014. The sequel, SEARCHING FOR GRACE, hits the shelves September 16th, 2014.
Juliann lives with her husband and their two dogs in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley.