My Writing Process blog tour

This is the last blog tour on my schedule. This tour hit the authors on Prose & Cons. A few of them, anyway. First up was Helen Hanson. Helen works in the high-tech sector, which informs her geeky thrillers. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, she wrote # 1 bestselling technothriller, 3 LIES, with “an artistry that is hard to deny.”  To learn more about Helen’s books go here.

The torch was then passed to Susan Clayton-Goldner. Susan’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, her books published by Greenwood Publishing and Ballatine Books. For more on Susan and her work go here.

And finally, to Peter Hogenkamp. Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter’s writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter’s internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog,PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons and an all-around nice guy. Personally, I am looking forward to reading Absolution, to be released soon online and in bookstores near you. I’ll write a promotional post when it comes out. Peter was kind enough to pass the torch to me.

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Typical curious writer’s mind.

Here are the rules for the My Writing Process blog tour…

1. Introduce the author who passed the blog tour to you.
2. What am I working on? 
3. How does my work differ from others in its genre? 
4. Why do I write what I write? 
5. How does my writing process work? 
6. Introduce the next author.

What am I working on?

Here is the working logline for my latest project: A writer, Sage Quintano, stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritis and married to a detective, lives in a small rural town in northern NH, where a serial killer begins his reign of terror. When the killer contacts Sage and insists she write his memoir, she resists. Until she realizes he is holding her twin sister hostage. Now Sage must find a way to appease him while she hides their relationship from her husband– the killer’s one stipulation– before her sister suffers his wrath.

Written in third person limited with alternating POVs this project is an exciting one for me. I’ve never written anything like it before. It’s challenging, but at the same time extremely rewarding. The killer is deliciously evil. The killings bizarre and ritualistic. hannibalKarin Slaughter-esque, this story will grab you from the beginning and never let you go. That’s my hope, anyway.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

The Shawny Daniels’ series, Timber Point, Silent Betrayal, Mad Rush, differs because of the protagonist. Shawny is a tough street-smart cat burglar with a warped view of the world. At first she may not seem like the most relatable character in the world, but once you know her motivations, emotions, her heart, you cannot help but to fall in love with her.

The other characters in the novels compliment Shawny’s gruff exterior. Surrounded by a loving partner and an almost-prudish best friend Shawny transforms without losing her edge. I truly cannot imagine a life without Shawny. She’s become someone I love, a severely flawed human being with raw, open wounds from childhood.

Why do I write what I write?

Shawny is a far cry from Sage. Sage is easily relatable. We all have a little Sage in us, flaws and all. So, to answer this question I guess I have to again refer to the Shawny Daniels’ novels. I love writing about a cat burglar, creating elaborate heists and gymnastic-style escapes. Shawny is everything I am not, which makes her fun to write. The stories themselves crackle with tension and are action-packed. They are stories I would enjoy reading. Hence, why I wrote them.

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How does my writing practice work?

To quote my friend, Peter Hogenkamp, “I am supposed to have a writing process? Who knew?” (Click to read his post.) Seriously, though, if there is a specific process I am totally missing it.

This is what works for me…

When I think of a new premise I try to figure out what aspects will drive the story to the climax. When I’ve thought of that, I come up with my MC’s goal. Then, I try to imagine what obstacles might stand in her way. If I get that far, I know I have something worth writing. I get out my handy writer’s notebook and start making notes… Who is my protagonist? What’s her background, age, family life? Does she live in a house or apartment? What are her flaws/strengths? When is her birthday/anniversary? What does she look like? What kind of clothes does she wear? What is her personality? How does she speak, does she have an accent or speech pattern inherent of her location?

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I dig as deep as I can possibly dig. I consider what her favorite season is and why. Would she ever have an affair? What kind of underwear does she wear, bikini, thong, old ladies? Everything. If you don’t know your character as well as yourself no one else will either, that’s my philosophy. Once I know her inside and out, and I’m talking right down to what scent of candle she prefers, then I start writing. The entire time I’m writing I’m thinking of the ending. I like a big twist. I cannot always find my ending until somewhere around the middle of the story, but it’s always on my mind. If the writing comes easily, the story flowing faster than I can type it, I know I have a good premise.flowing

If I’m struggling, I trash it and start something new. I might go back and rework those trashed stories. They are all saved. Or, I might borrow pieces of them for other stories.

Right now I have two that I’m not willing to let go of yet, because I’ve written at least 20K words. However, Sage’s story I believe must be told and has taken precedence over the others.

Once I’ve written my first draft I go back and plant clues (if I haven’t already), check structure and pacing. That is all I concentrate on in my second drafts. Then comes editing. Word by word, I go through the entire novel and try to find typos, better, stronger verbs, cut unnecessary words, and so forth.

Then comes the title, my favorite part. Usually I have a working title and they are often not the same. I like short, punchy titles that grab you. They have to relate to the book, obviously, but they also must have a deeper meaning. Coming up with a title isn’t easy. It shouldn’t be easy. Often times when I think of great title someone has already used it. I know many authors don’t care if their title matches someone else’s book, but I do. I search tirelessly to make sure there is nothing out there with the same title. When my homework is complete I know that my work won’t be confused with someone else’s. That to me is perfection.

***

Next up, Sherry Howard. Sherry Howard is an educator, writer and parent. Home is a charming small town near Louisville, Kentucky, in a house that’s filled with children and dogs.  She was principal in one of the largest urban/suburban school districts in the United States. Sherry promotes advocacy for people with special needs.

Published work includes writings about parenting and kinship-care. Her current project is a Young Adult contemporary novel Coach Hart’s Fumble. Her blog is Caught in the Middle, which focuses primarily on the challenges facing the parents of tweens and teens.

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As always, if you’d like to share your writing process I’d love to hear from you. Reminder: You no longer have to be registered to comment.

 

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