How I Write: A writer-in-progress

There has been a fantastic writers meme going around where writers let us inside their heads, letting us know how they view their writing process. So far, it’s been great for me; it’s always nice to know how another writer gets through each day, as much of the time I am comforted by their processes, realising we all work in different ways. There is no absolute, correct, hard and fast rule to writing, which is a thought I’m comforted by.

I read Beanie Queen and Contemporary Romance Author Lily Malone‘s 2 weeks ago, then followed her link to Kylie Kaden‘s last week, and somehow between then and now, Lily asked me if I’d pick up the baton – despite the fact I’m not even published yet, which I have to say, made me pretty chuffed. Hence my title: Writer-In-Progress.

So, until last week, I hadn’t “meet” Kylie, and was introduced through this wonderful meme.

Kylie’s first novel, Losing Kate, is set to be published by Random House Australia in Ebook on the 26th of March, and Trade Paperback 1st of April. The blurb is wonderfully intriguing.

“This mesmerising debut is part love story, part mystery, telling the captivating story of two lovers torn apart by tragedy and the secrets they kept of one devastating night. 

I’m the most authentic version of myself when I’m around Jack. We’ve known each other since we were kids, and our relationship was always one of mudpies and mocking. 

Then everything changed.

Beautiful Kate, my best friend, disappeared on a moonlit beach after Jack dumped her for me. Jack was a suspect and, sure of his innocence, I lied to protect him. I know Jack didn’t kill her. Our betrayal did.

Thirteen years later, I am thirty, childless and single, attempting to renovate my life rescuing a rundown worker’s cottage. All is as it should be in my safe little world – until Jack buys the vacant lot behind my house… and the feelings that we buried all those years ago – the guilt, the love and the pain – resurface.

We can’t keep running away from the past – and to move forward we have to know what really happened to Kate.” (source: http://www.randomhouse.com.au)

Once I read Kylie’s “How I write” answers, I felt drawn to her writing style, as I feel quite similar, I also loved her voice. You know, the one you hear in your head when you’re reading something.

Kylie is also a Brisbane writer, grew up in Queensland just like myself, and her book is set on the Sunshine Coast where I plan to move upon return to Australia after this 10 month traveling adventure I’m on. I’m currently writing this from a cafe in an Italian town called La Spezia.

So, on with the questions:

1) What am I working on?
A few things. I have just sent the second round of edits through to my wonderful editor Marion at Making Manuscripts (more on editing HERE). I am working on the query letter and synopsis for said MS. By working on, I mean am reading every source possible and discarding every attempt at both. I’m struggling to decide what to do with my MS. Seek traditional publishing (starting with an agent), seeking e-publishers (such as Escape, who my friends Lily, Juliet and Jennie are all published with) or self-publish. I’m reading books about writing. This last round of editing has shown me how much I still have to learn, I’m learning constantly, as I’m sure I will always do as a writer, but I’m throwing myself into some books about writing, making notes, and seeing how this can help me. I feel it has already started to help as I begin the character development for two characters, Declan – who is a male-lead in current MS but will star in his own novella (a prequel of sorts) and Becky, a secondary character who has a great story of her own. Lastly, as this is becoming a series in my mind, I’m pondering on a series title. Perhaps more about that in another post too.

2) How does my work differ from others in it’s genre?
I think this question actually links well with the next question, the way I answer “Why do I write what I do?” So let’s just move onto that.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I have always had a desire to make other people feel, to take them to another world. I wanted to be an actress until I realised I was petrified of public speaking, I even took acting lessons to help me deal with that fear, and that led me to choke on camera on more than one occasion. It was all I could do not to throw up on myself. It is this desire to shake peoples emotions, and the love I have for books and writing that led me to pursue it.

Everything usually starts with an emotion for me. I write from a feeling. Like love, or loss, both of which feature heavily in my work.

As a writer of New Adult, I also feel there is this period of time between being seventeen and being thirty where a lot of stuff happens. Between 18 and 22 people change dramatically. The twenties are the time for baggage creation. Many books are about how people deal with their twenties baggage. I like to write about them getting it.

4) How does my writing process work?
Conflictingly.
At times I try to plot, I try to get a storyline down, but I’m more of a pantser (like Kylie), I get a hold on a characters feeling and then I run with it.
A lot of the time, almost always, I need music. I need coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) and music. I put on my headphones, block out the world and lose myself in another one. I babble. Then I put the work aside, usually for a few weeks to get some distance, then I read back over it. I cringe at stuff that’s awful and am surprised by stuff I actually like. Then I go over it again. Back on with the headphones. I read other books for inspiration. I find that reading helps stimulate my creative brain. I look at pretty pictures, I search for characters that inspire me. Which isn’t actually as inspiring as music. Music owns me. What is around me isn’t really relevant. I can be in a cafe, on a train, on a bus in Cambodia (little bumpy), in my bed, at a desk. Just give me music and I’m sweet. I usually need to have no internet connection––procrastination is my middle name and I live up to it well. Severing that tie leads to much better productivity. Losing myself in the work, that is my process.

Well, that’s was longer than expected, although I did say I like to ramble.

Now, I had a couple of people in mind to tag, but they were busy with a new release, so maybe we’ll catch their thoughts later down the track. If you’d like to pick up the baton, or know someone who might, take the reins my friend!

I hope you enjoyed a learning a little bit more about my process, if that’s what it’s called.

Thanks for stopping by, xx

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2 thoughts on “How I Write: A writer-in-progress

  1. I really enjoyed this insight Ali. Characterisation was an early killer for me too, and then once you ‘get’ it, it is such a fun part of writing – working out why these characters are who they are.
    Good luck & thanks for sharing your writing life.
    xx

    • Thanks Lily! I’m glad you liked it. It’s been such a fun adventure, and I’m loving all the learning I’ve been doing lately. And you are right — it’s so much fun learning about the characters, working out why the do the things they do, what their history is. xx

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