Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Cool, The Dad, and the Muggle

So, my friend, the always impressive and multi-talented J.M. Blackman, tagged me in a blog hop centered around our individual writing processes and what it takes for us to shape and produce a book. While my responses will pale in comparison to her colorful prose (she just finished a THESIS - THESIS, I say), I'll try to put something worthwhile down to maybe enlighten but at least entertain. Make sure you stop over at her page and check out what she had to say here!

What am I working on?
I'm always working on something, usually multiple things. The ideas come quicker than the fingers can put them down and that's a good thing but a writer's worst enemy always seems to be time. One of my favorite sayings is, "If time is gold, then crown me the king of nickels". That's a Check original by the way and I get a nickel if you use it. Just kidding. Not really. Juggling a family, the job that pays the bills, and trying to squeeze in a few words is always a challenge. I truly believe that there are so many talented folks out there but success, in whatever degree you're searching for it, comes down to hard work and discipline. I have a finished novel that is awaiting the green light (hopefully) now in the hands of a publisher and I'm three quarters into a first draft of a third. I'm looking to shop around a script for a graphic novel (yeah, I still call them comic books too) and I'm outlining two more books that I'm anxious to build on. And, I'm looking forward to returning to the world of Welcome to GreenGrass soon and re-visiting all those great characters. So, when they say that the first rule of writing is don't talk about writing, wait - that's Fight Club, the first rule is get some words on the page, it couldn't be more true.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write what I like. Simple as that. It doesn't matter if it's trending or a hot niche. That doesn't really pull me in any direction when I decide what project to move onto next. I think my work is approachable by a wide variety of readers. When I was a young(er) reader, there was no Young Adult market, or at least cornered as such. I was influenced by adult characters that I found something to relate to. I don't think every character has to be an adolescent wizard or paranormal teenager for a kid to connect with them. I think it's great that those stories are out there and are such successes but I believe there's still a place for stories that appeal to the masses and aren't confined to certain demographics. That said, my latest book probably falls into the "new adult" genre but that didn't even exist when I penned it out.
Why do I write what I do?

Hey, I was a kid who grew up reading comic books. I was in awe of the superheroes I read about every month and the moral conflicts they faced. I saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the theater. I read Robert Asprin and Terry Pratchett and became lost in their worlds. The violence was toned down, the action was amped up, and the language was PG-13ish. It's where I found my creative center and where I'm most comfortable. I guess I look at writing like this - is it a reflection of society and needs to ring true? Yep. But in the same vein, don't the stories we put out there influence the people who read them? Don't we help to shape that image? I hope so. Does that make me cool? Probably not but I'm okay with that.
How does your writing process work?
I get an idea I like. It might be while I'm cutting grass, maybe driving home, or possibly at 3 a.m. in the morning while I'm sleeping, and, yes, I'll wake up and type notes into my phone. My wife will ask me what I'm doing and I'll say, "Nothing, just had a thought." From there, I let it percolate, maybe for a couple days, maybe for a few weeks. I'll make more notes and add to it and weave in some characters and work out the main plot. If it keeps me excited each time I re-visit it, I'll eventually work it into an outline to see how it flows. It's this point in the process that I have the most fun scribbling down some mad free hand notes. I love the organic feel of pencil, well okay, pen to paper for this part of the process. I may spend a few weeks working on the outline and making sure key points are in place. I love to outline but I don't let it dictate my story either. It's more of a guide. The first draft is all about putting words on the page and the revision process lasts until I'm comfortable with the book, switching chapters, cutting chapters, more taking away than adding. The process is different for everyone and if whatever you do to get to the last page works for you, then more power to you. Let me get another dozen books or so under my belt and then ask me again.

Speaking of multiple books, follow the blog hop along and make sure you visit the next stop on the tour - author extraordinaire T.K.Toppin.


T.K. Toppin's impressive book catalogue includes the popular Jax Marlin series, The Lancaster Rule, The Master Key, and The Eternal Knot, not to mention what's she's got in store for readers coming in 2014. She's an author who crafts her words with a veteran's touch, allowing us into her fantastic worlds of adventure and fantasy. You can visit her blog at T.K. Toppin to see for yourself and shoot her a tweet @TKToppin.

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