My Writing Process

20140711-143131-52291512.jpg

My writing buddy and mentor, Henry McLaughlin, writing at henrymclaughlin.org, tagged me in this Writing Process blog hop. Henry’s insight into writing and faithfulness to the craft have been a huge inspiration to me.

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I am working on an entirely different kind of novel than one I’ve ever written before. The working title is #FeedWar—a techno-thriller. Two young adults dealing with their pasts become pawns in a future cyber syndicate war waged through the social media outlet known as The Feed. I’ve received some positive feedback about the concept from potential agents/editors, so I hope to complete it later this year and begin submitting it for publication.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’ve read and seen a lot of techno thrillers that deal with biological agents as the technology in question (think Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, both great novels and authors). My story uses futuristic technology without the biology component.

My characters are also dealing with some really tough, dark issues. One is wanted for murder. The other is dealing with the potential death of her mother through cancer. My hope is that their journey through these dark times will come across as real and emotional on the pages. And though they both struggle through spiritual and emotional difficulties, they will find some kind of hope at the end.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I can’t imagine not writing. I’ve always loved writing stories, watching movies, and reading. My Saturday nights were always spent watch Star Trek TNG with my dad. I guess my brain was always pondering those big what if questions from an early age. About ten years ago figured out I could write for fun, and write creatively—not just the stuff they made us write in school.

  • I write to inspire.
  • I write to entertain.
  • I write to explore questions about the future.

4. How does my writing process work?

My stories always start with some kind of question. For my novel, The Breakout (Launch Pad Novel Contest winner), I wondered if it were possible in the future for someone like Hitler or Ceausescu (dictator in the communist Romania era) to rise to power again and take children away from their parents to be raised by the state. More questions kept coming about what that world would look like. And the characters were born, though I didn’t quite know them yet. Over the course of exploring their stories, I got to know them and their struggles, and wrote them down.

As for getting that story on paper, it takes sitting down everyday to write. I keep a time log, and schedule writing time in as though it were my job. I study the craft of writing diligently and practice. And I’m not afraid to try something new when what I’ve been doing isn’t working.

I also value the community of other writers. I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing writers and been able to learn from them. We meet monthly, email each other, meet at conferences/workshops—all with the goal to help each other grow in our writing.

I’m tagging my very good writing friend, Teri D. Jones. Teri writes YA novels and stories dealing with the overwhelming crisis of human trafficking.


Summer Reading

20140606-094750-35270602.jpg

 

Summer!! Need I say more? I’m really looking forward to more time to write.

Goal number 1 – finish my WIP, #FeedWar. Rewriting can be gruelling, but I’m ready.

Also, I thought I’d share my summer reading list:

  • Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam

How about you? What are you reading this summer?

 

Photo Courtesy: Naypong @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Cyberpunk Reigns Supreme at Havok

20140419-091613.jpg

I just got my copy of Havok 1.2!! So excited to find out my story On Trial is the winner of the Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk contest!

Thanks Havok and thanks to the judge, Jeff Gerke.

Check it out here if you’re interested: Havok 1.2

On Trial for a crime she could never commit

Cover Photo Courtesy: Splickety Publishing Group, Havok Magazine


Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk Finalist

20140313-093219.jpg

It’s official! I just signed the contract for one of my short stories, On Trial, to be published in the April edition of Havok Magazine (a speculative flash fiction magazine, part of Splickety Publishing Group).

My story is a finalist in their Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk contest. Winners will be announced closer to the time of publication. The judge is the amazing Jeff Gerke, founder of Marcher Lord Press Publishing.

I’ll keep you updated with details of when it comes out and how to get a copy for those interested. Thanks so much to the amazing editors at Havok – Andrew Winch and Avily Jerome, and everyone else at Havok! It’s been a great experience working with them on my story, On Trial. More info on the story to come. :)

Photo Courtesy of Splickety Publishing Group


Writing Update

20140219-102330.jpg

Earlier last month, I wrote about entering my new WIP, #FeedWar, in the San Francisco Writers Conference Contest. I found out this week that my book was named Runner Up in the Children’s/YA category. Exciting news! I’m still working on revisions of the manuscript, so hopefully, I’ll be revealing more about the story soon.

Congrats to all the winners and finalists at the contest!

Photo Courtesy of Keerati @ http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Finalist in the San Francisco Writing Conference Writing Contest

20140120-195105.jpg

These past few months, I have been revising and editing a new unpublished novel titled #FeedWar. A few weeks ago, I entered it in the San Francisco Conference Writing Contest. Last year, I was fortunate to have The Breakout win in the Children’s/YA category. This year, I’m super excited to say that my current WIP is a finalist again. Winners are set to be announced at the conference later next month.

Congratulations to all the finalists! Here’s the complete list: SFWC Finalists. And thanks so much to the San Francisco Writers Conference for hosting this contest. Good luck to everyone!

Photo Courtesy: jscreationzs at freedigitalphotos.net


How to Write Like a Pro: 5 Tips for Killer Loglines

20131129-093812.jpg

You sit down at the lunch table and the lady next to you asks, “What is your book about?”

You stutter and ramble, string together an incoherent paragraph together that basically sums up any number of similar books. You know, you’ve heard them before, maybe even come up with a few.

  • A girl starts a new life and it’s her first day of high school.
  • A boy just got fired from his job and his life is terrible.
  • A woman spends her last hours at the bedside of her dying husband.

On and on they go. But there’s something missing and you can’t quite put your finger on it. Most of the time, when people tell me about their books, they tell me all about what their character is like or the really cool story world they’ve created. But they leave out the part that makes their book a story.

What is it the character wants? And what stands in their way?

When you’re telling people about your book, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a short sentence that cuts right to the heart of the matter and sets your story apart? In the movie world, that sentence is called a logline. In literary world, we often refer to it as the elevator pitch.

In the future, a teenage girl volunteers to fight to the death in gladiator-style games to save her sister.

Recognize it? Does it make you want to read the book or see the movie? It worked for millions of Hunger Games fans.

So how do you write one that really catches a reader’s attention? Or even a super agent’s?

5 Tips for Writing Killer Loglines:

  1. Practice: Write loglines to movies you’ve seen. Try coming up with a catchy logline for both blockbusters and flops. Practice on your novel or short story, too. Come up with as many variations as you can think of until you find the right one.
  2. Write it First: I know Seat-of-the-Panters won’t like this, but the more you have a vision about your story and can identify why you’re writing early on, the clearer your writing will be. Having a logline from the beginning will help you stay on the novel path and avoid the hundreds of bunny trails along the way. And it will help you finish your first draft sooner. Remember, the logline is not written in stone. As you discover more about your story world, you can always tweak it or change it entirely.
  3. Word Count Matters: Twenty-five words or less – no more! Your goal here is to sum up your story in one sentence (two at the most if you have a really complex plot).
  4. Identify the Elements: Make sure you know your character. Who are they at the beginning? What do they want? What stands in their way? You don’t have to be wordy or elaborate. In a logline, less is better.
  5. Formula: I’ve found this template to be a lifesaver, but feel free to adjust it to what works for you.

World Set-up (if using an unusual setting) + Character + Goal + Obstacle = Logline

Next time you sit down at the table and someone asks what your novel is about, you’ll have the perfect words. What if it’s an editor or agent at a writing conference? Who knows? Maybe your killer logline will grab their attention.

How about you? What logline tips have worked for you?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers