Thanks to Heidi Garrett , the author of the Queen of the Realm of Faerie stories starting with Nandana’s Mark and the Once Upon a Time Today Collection, for tagging me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. Check out her stories, they are well worth the read.
What am I working on?
I’m putting most of my energy into Trojan War, a space opera project I’ve been writing for a couple years now. The first volume, Rock Hopper will be out this fall.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
First I’d say that I write like a really rich meal. You can read the novel and have a good story, or you can experience it, reaching down into as many layers as you care to dig through. I want flavorful stories where the ingredients meld into something that makes the reader stop to savor it. I get involved in the characters and see someone else’s point of view, even when I don’t agree with the choices on a deeply personal level.
Trojan War has a lot going for it as a whole. The characters are mostly “PoC,” and that’s a little different these days. It wasn’t intentional, it just was the story. It’s character-driven with sparks of action instead of an action story where people beat the baddie and rejoice before the universe’s applause. Rock Hopper, the first volume, follows three people: the brothers who own a ship taking a woman to her wedding.
Why do I write what I do?
I was drawn to this Trojan War because we see the scope of humanity and experience in the characters and experience how we change through everything we do. I think that’s the essence of good science fiction: it asks “what would happen if…” and then follows the consequences of the choices we make in the face of these turning points.
There are three reasons I write what I do, though. First, I’m exceptionally driven, and so that’s what defines my characters for me. They’re not all geniuses who need to prove themselves, rebels trying to prove their different, or anything. They don’t have to start out with a cause. In Rock Hopper the character’s focuses change through their experiences. I don’t want to give away too much, but I believe that our goals can change, but our characters don’t alter significantly.
The second draw to science fiction is that I love science and wasn’t encouraged to follow that path, or even to keep going to school. This is where my personal drive comes in. It’s not in my makeup to stop learning. I read technical papers and go back the sources on news articles. I really want to know “why.” I want to pass on even the smallest insights, too. I love charge you get from other people enjoying bits of science and thinking through what it means to their lives.
The third reason is simple and probably the most frightening to me: I had something to say. Trojan War is where I’ll say what I want to say to the world. It’s interesting in that not every character can espouse my ideas.
How does my writing process work?
The quick version? I outline and research for a couple months, then spend maybe a month or two writing. Then I edit forever.
But it’s a longer journey that this when you look at that half-year of work.
- First I get that spark, the idea plot twist or drama that makes me want to tell the story, and then I research the universe they’ll live in.
- Once I know where the characters are and what they’ll be doing, kind of…I’m a serial outliner. If the characters take over and do something unexpected, I re-outline the consequences. I have parallel outlines for some chapters. The media princess decided to defy her father or where she went along with his plan or she did something in between, carving her own way. What does that mean for everyone else? Read Trojan Wars and find out.
- The final step in writing is editing until you can’t stand the story anymore. I can get caught in editing loops. Rock Hopper has been in editing for two years because I miss things and find them on later passes. I need to pass it on to beta readers and come back for a final pass now.
I’m passing on the torch in The Writing Process Blog Tour to some amazing authors.
Alison Strachan is an up and coming fantasy writer from Queensland. Her current work explores environmental themes and those of identity and belonging in a world where men and women live separately. I’ve beta’d; she’s got something here. She invites you to read the prequel to her novel and excerpts on her blog.
Wendy A.M. Prosser has really thought about writing. She’s a medical and science editor and writes about animal welfare and animal rights and the difference between the two. Are cats sentient? Is in vitro meat ethical? And what is a vegan, anyway? Read Wendy’s books and explore these ideas.