Monday, May 5, 2014

Blog Tour---My Writing Process







Photo by Jusben.

Today is Blog Tour Day! This blog tour is about the writing process of, well, writers. My friend Lisha Cauthen tagged me for this tour. Lisha writes young adult novels for boys that girls like to read, too. You can check out her blog here.

What am I working on?
Currently, I'm working on a few profile pieces for a local magazine. Stories have the power to change people--whether those stories are fiction or nonfiction. When people share their stories, readers can see themselves reflected in the lives of strangers and leave with a little bit of hope or a feeling of being connected to a larger community.

I'm also searching for an agent for my picture book!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Whether I'm working on a picture book or a nonfiction article for a magazine, I always try to layer in humor. Even serious articles benefit from little doses of funny. Wit, in its various forms, helps "take the edge off" so readers can relax and feel safe with you. And it doesn't have to be a belly-laugh-inducing joke. It can be subtle like a play on words or an outlandish character in a picture book. 


Why do I write what I do?
I love the short form of picture books and the freedom they offer to play with language and be silly. Nonfiction articles for adults give me the opportunity to share unique ideas and fascinating stories with others. In both cases, my hope is to expand my world in the writing process and then invite readers to expand theirs.
 

How does my writing process work? 
Deadlines are my friend! If an editor assigns a project, I will move my little piece of heaven and earth to get that project done (and done to the best of my ability) on time or even before time. I never want editors to refer to me as difficult or unreliable. When it comes to my own projects and ideas, I give myself due dates to keep me writing and on track. I don't always listen to me, though, so I deeply appreciate writer friends who threaten me within an inch of my life to "Query another agent for that picture book!" For instance.

My actual process involves several notebooks, the backs of napkins and restaurant receipts, and even the Notes app on my phone. Once my idea has percolated in several places, I dump it all in a Word document and start cutting and pasting and adding and deleting and pacing and checking email and writing some more. After I have the skeleton down, I start editing, which is my favorite part of the process. How many words can I cut and still tell a great story? I don't know, but I'm sure as heck going to find out! Then I submit it to my critique group. And because they are a great group of writers and I trust their perspectives and opinions, I take my writing back to my computer and edit some more. Then, and only then, do I even consider sending it out in the world.

So, that's me. Leave a comment and let me hear about your writing processes. I'm always looking for new ways to improve how I work. And you might hold that key!

Next week...
On May 12, be sure to check out how these awesome bloggers handle their writing processes!

Sue Ford is an instructor through the Institute of Children's Literature, and she writes for children under her maiden name, Susan Uhlig. Her website (SusanUhlig.com) is packed full of writing resources, writerly quotes, and recommendations for children's books. You can also look there to find out about Sue's professional editing and critiquing services. Follow her on Twitter @susanuhlig.

Tanyalynnette Palmo is the CEO at the Allaxoung Group, Inc., (the parent company of EverydayWindshield.com) along with being a wife and mother of seven in a loving, blended family. 

What does she see as the goal of Everyday Windshield? "I want to bring style, fun, and sophistication to everything! The goal of EW is to become a platform of knowledge as an 'Online Magazine dedicated to the Celebration of the Journey of Life thru Faith, Family, Food and Fun'" 

Tanyalynnette has spent 20 years in the Information Technology field and is kinda-a-rockstar with all that stuff. =)

Kim Stokely is the wife of a submariner and has lived in eight states over the last 20 years. In 2004 the Navy transferred her family to Omaha, Nebraska, a perfectly logical move that never made sense to her mother. Kim's a member of the Nebraska Writer's Workshop, the Nebraska Writers Guild, the Heart of America Christian Writers Network, and the Christian Writers Guild (CWG).

Kim's novel Winter Trees was a semi-finalist in the CWG's 2010 Operation First Novel contest. Her first published novel, Woman of Flames, has received more than 25 five-star reviews and is available on Amazon.com and B&N.com.


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2 comments:

lishacauthen said...

Wonderful process that works for you, judging by your fabulous articles and picture books!

Heather Trent Beers said...

Thanks, Lisha! Now if you'll keep me on track to find my picture book agent, that'd be terrific. :)