My Writing Process: Like the Borg, I Adapt

A Map of a Writer's Mind by Anne EmondThe delightful Bill Blume was kind enough to think of me to join him in participating in a chain letter blog tour where writers have the opportunity to discuss their writing process. I think it says quite a lot about mine that I was supposed to post this yesterday, but am only just getting to it now because I put off packing for a trip to San Francisco to watch Knights of Badassdom, and thus arrived in the other windy city on four hours sleep, contemplating a hilariously terrible - or a terribly hilarious, I haven't decided yet - film. So, writing. Sleep deprivation. Life.

There are some questions I'm meant to answer, firstly, what am I working on? Presently, I'm slogging through a draft of the sequel to - and likely conclusion of the series begun in The Hidden Icon. While I wrote the first book without an outline, and then rewrote it without an outline, and then finally decided that whole chapters full of people doing nothing but talking really needed addressing... I have major plot points for this one appropriately plotted out, and lots of really useful notes that say things like, "Do this!" and "Don't do that!" I'm halfway through the writing, which is to say, I haven't even gotten to the hard stuff yet.

Am I supposed to be honest, too? I should probably lie. Real writers lie.

Secondly, I'm to consider how my work differs from others writing in the genre. One of the things that I feel really sets The Hidden Icon apart from other high fantasy novels is the richness of the mythology of the world, and the double-and-sometimes-triple storytelling that goes on when Eiren, or occasionally other characters, spin a tale. It's part of the charm of writing in her world, for me, and I hope part of the charm of reading, too.

Which segues rather nicely into why I write what I do. As a girl I remember visiting the library in my grade school and meticulously working my way through the two shelves of fairy tales - and let's be real, I checked out Princess Furball loads of times; someday I need to write something with moonbeam dresses folded neatly into nutshells - because there's just something about folklore and fairy stories that appeals immensely to me. Fairy tales can be dark and delightful, as we can be dark and delightful. I've got lots of ideas for lots of things, but little tales that blossom into big ones, stories with whimsy but gravity, too, are where I'm living now.

And now I must tell you how my writing process works, which suggests, perhaps unfairly, that it does (or at least, always does). Perhaps it was something she said when I swooned over her at Kenyon a few years ago or something that I read, but Margaret Atwood, apparently, used to and maybe still does write lying down on the floor on her belly. No desk for the prolific. That's the first thing I always think about when I think of writing processes, and how specific a detail I feel like I need to provide when considering mine. But I can't.

I've touched on this before, but my process is all about adaptation. I do what I can, when I can, where I can, and I don't let myself think too much about it. Doing is what's important, not how or how much. In the past Cory Doctorow's recommendations to write for twenty minutes a day, and especially leaving off mid-sentence, have been tremendously fruitful for me, and when I adhere to anything like a process, it's to that. It's not always easy, but it's certainly easier than pinning myself to a word count and berating myself when I don't meet it - or worse still, not starting writing because I know I can't. It's writing, every day, that I can feel good about.

Next week be sure to pop in and see what Melissa Long (also writing as Missy Lynn Ryan) has to say on the subject, and hound her for her supernatural match maker novel I've been dying to read for years. The inimitable Laura Bickle of salamander and Amish vampire fame will also be writing next week, and Megan Orsini of The Great Noveling Adventure is sure to have some sassy and sage-like things to describe her process.