Monday, April 7, 2014

My Writing Process

My critique partner and wonderful friend, Ilima Todd, tagged me for this bloghop, in which I answer a few questions about my writing process. I was supposed to have this post up 'n' ready a few days ago, but I experienced a nasty bout of unexpected cholingitis and appendicitis and had my gallbladder and appendix removed. So here I am with this post--better late than never!


What am I working on?
I'm in the plotting/researching phase of a new fantasy trilogy. It's all hush-hush right now. (I have to keep the magic going!)


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write YA fantasy that's usually epic in scope and very romantic. The plots are complex, and I'm drawn to tackling high concepts (not having a name, the inability to feel the sense of touch, falling in love with someone invisible, time-travel through dreams), and my style has a lyrical and literary bent while still being commercial.

Why do I write what I do?

An idea will take hold of me and won't let go. I'll wake up in the night with inspiration about it, songs will remind me of it--basically, it just consumes all my thoughts. Sometimes that initial spark of an idea is a character, sometimes it's a myth I want to play with, and sometimes it's a image that grips me.

So far my stories involve time periods in the past. I love history, mythology, and classical plays and novels, and I'm an actress who's done a lot of Shakespeare. So I naturally like to delve into writing novels involving the past, though I have some fun contemporary novel ideas I'd love to explore one day.

How does my writing process work?

For a few months, I let the idea percolate in my mind. Once I have a more tangible hold on it, I start researching. I read lots of non-fiction books, make a big binder with copies from library book pages (setting, customs, costumes, food, religion, etc.), and I watch films (mostly classics) that have elements in them that remind me of my story. Once I feel my brain will explode from research (a very frustrating feeling), I crack down and outline the book. This is usually a blend of the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet and some of James Scott Bells methods (I've done brainstorming scenes on notecards and then arranging them into a linear story, for example). I don't outline extensively, but I jot down a nutshell of what happens in the major scenes. Then I write! I'm not the fastest writer, but usually in about four months, I've completed my first draft (better than the first draft of my first novel, which took 1.5 years--ouch!). Then I revise, which goes quicker than the drafting for me. The slowest part is mincing words, since I tend to be an overwriter, but I've gotten really good at it. I cut 50,000 off my first novel. (Yeah.) Then I send my manuscript to beta readers and do more revising, and then send to my agent and do more revising if he sees fit. Finally, it's submissions time--and time for me to quickly get my mind onto something else!


If you write, tell me a little about your process. I've learned no way is the "wrong way." And for the bloghop, I'm tagging Emily R. King and Rosalyn Collings Eves. :-)

12 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I love hearing about your process. And I can't wait for your latest trilogy idea to become not-so-secret. :)

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    1. Thanks, Ilima. And I will tell you--soon!

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  2. Kathryn, it's a little eerie how much your process (and the things you like the write) parallel mine. Now I suppose I actually have to write about it though . . . :)

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    1. Yes, I just read your blog post and our processes are very similar. Crazy! I love the premise of your WIP, too.

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  3. You are awesome, Katie!!! Can't wait to hear more about the new project!

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    1. Thanks, Sara. <3 And by now you've had more than an earful about my new project!

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  4. I can't wait to read your new story. :) Thanks for tagging me!

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    1. You'll definitely be one of my first readers, Emily. Your critiques are invaluable to me!

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  5. Definitely fascinating to learn about your writing process -- will there be songs for the new trilogy as well?

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    1. There will definitely be songs, Chris! It's a tradition I never intend to break.

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  6. This was fascinating Katie :) There is no way you can do that much research and not have killer world building. Let me know if you need another beta. Em has only the best things to say about your books!!!

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    1. Yes, I'd like to think I have killer world building, Angela. :-) The hardest part is researching so much and then forcing myself not to include everything I learned. Just a sprinkle here and there is more powerful than I often think it is.

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