Monday, May 5, 2014

Blog Hop 2014: My Writing Process

I was tagged by Cindy Ray Hale who was tagged by Rachel Harris who was tagged by...I don't know who. But either way, here I am! Today I will be answering questions about my writing process and then tagging three more writers. However, it just didn't work out that I was able to wrangle up three more writers. So I'm going to break the rules (because I'm a rebel) and tag one. Jennifer Weiser, a very good friend of mine.  But first, let me tell you more about who tagged me. ;)

Cindy Ray Hale
Cindy Ray Hale is a Young Adult author and a book blogger. She lives in a little slice of wooded heaven near Atlanta, Georgia. She spends way too much time following up-and-coming musicians on YouTube and dreams of joining their ranks one day. She’s a bit of a health food nut and can’t live without her daily green smoothies. She tries to stay sane as she juggles writing with four kids, staying active on social media, and keeping up her book blog In addition to writing and self-publishing two Young Adult Contemporary novels, she has also written articles for "New Era" magazine and The American Preppers Network. 

Okay, here come the questions. 

1 - What am I working on?  
I self-published a poetry and photography collection in June of 2012: and then I released another poetry collection in July of 2013:  

Right now I am working on a few different projects. One of them is a secret project that I'm planning to release in September of this year. The other is a romance novella of about 38,000 words that I'm considering a YA/NA crossover. That one I am planning to release in February of 2015. At the moment, I am working on its final edits. When the synopsis for that one is released, believe me, you'll know. ;) The other project I'm working on I wrote the bulk of during the April Camp NaNoWriMo session. I'm writing the first draft. . The best way that I can think to describe that project is a YA Paranormal, Romance, Thriller. 

2 - How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
Okay, so honestly, this one I had to go get some help with. I think that that is because for me this question falls under the 'you're your own toughest critic' and 'being too close to your work' categories. So, I went to the awesome woman who has become my critique partner (and friend) that have already mentioned that I am tagging. Jennifer Weiser. So thank you, Jenn, for helping me out with this! <3 

Poetry: The words that Jenn used to describe my poetry were "beautiful and whimsical". I quite like that description. Partly because a few times I myself have been described as whimsical and my poetry/writing in general is really an extension of myself. My first poetry collection, Thousands of Mornings, also has original photography by me along with most of the poems. Again, I'm quoting Jenn here: "The photographs offer a look into the depth of your soul with your writing. It's truly remarkable." So that is one thing that makes it unique; the photographs that go along with the poems. Something else that, to me, makes it unique is the viewpoint from which the poems come from. I'm not saying that it isn't out there, but there isn't a lot of poetry out there from the viewpoint of someone with a rare chronic illness. 

Fiction: Okay, so far the fiction manuscript that I have finished is leaning towards YA Contemporary. I say that it also has some NA crossover appeal because it spans six years and by the time you get to the third part of the book, the protagonist is in her 20's. This book is not out yet, but I am planning to release it early next year. The manuscript I'm working on now is in drafting stages, so that won't be included here.;) Okay, here we go. YA Contemporary: Jenn has beta read for me on this one, so she had a good idea of how this work differs as well. This isn't necessarily how it differs but Jenn said that it does face a lot realities that a lot of YA readers can relate to. She also described it as "raw and real". (Which is terrific, because that is what I was going for). The main difference that was pointed out to me was that the book deals with issues that a lot of YA books don't, and that a lot of people may not even be able to imagine. I can't go into too much detail without giving things away, but I'll try to give you something. Perhaps a short list of some of the things mentioned and/or dealt with in the book: adoption, alcoholism, brother/sister relationships, friends becoming family, abuse. Lastly, I will leave you with this quote from Jenn about this book: "It takes friendship and welds it into a romantic and touching story."

3 - Why do I write what I do? 
You know, this is a very good question. And to be completely honest, I have never thought about it. 

Poetry writing is very different (for me) than writing a novel or story. Obviously, it is, but what I mean is my reasoning behind it is very different. My poems come out of emotions or thoughts that I have. And, really, my stories have an aspect of that, as well. But it is different with poetry. I suppose that it's an immediate thought, concern or emotion that comes to me and I feel like I have to write about it. I can write about it journal style, of course (I do and I have) but I feel like my point, emotion, concern, et cetera comes out better in a poem. The way that it comes out expresses it better. So I suppose that I write poetry to express my direct thoughts better than I can any other way. 

My stories, of course, have my thoughts and feelings in them,as well. It just comes out in a different way. Through the characters that I write about. These stories just come into my head and then the characters take over my thoughts. If it's an idea that is going to be put into action, it's because these characters have basically taken up residence in my brain and won't let me rest until I agree to write their story. So far, both fiction manuscripts that I have written are quite different. They both have a romance in them, but that is really the main similarity. And the romances in each book are very different. One takes place in the 1960's to 1970 and one takes place in 2012 (the first book, anyway). One is contemporary one is paranormal. So, really, I have no idea. There isn't a huge unifying element that I've found yet. Although, I suppose if I had to pick something it would be that the characters in my books are outsiders in one way or another. So, I suppose that that is the unifying theme. 

4 - How does my writing process work? 
So far, it has differed from project to project. First of all, writing poetry is very different than writing fiction for me. The poems that I write are my feelings about things, put into words in a different way. My fiction does have my feelings about things as well, but it is in a different way and through the eyes of people other than myself - my characters. My poetry is all me. I will often write the first draft of a poem in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. And after that, it doesn't go through nearly as much editing as my fiction does. 

Something that I do is carry around a little notebook wherever I go when I'm out - so that I can jot down ideas and not have to worry about possibly forgetting them. This goes for all manner of ideas that I may have. I also use a program called Storybook 4 to organize my thoughts. Outlines, characters, locations, et cetera. And I've just downloaded a free trial of Aeon Timeline - which I am absolutely loving so far. 

For the YA/NA crossover romance novella that I have, the process was very, very slow. I actually started it when I was 15 years old. It was roughly inspired by a dream that I had had. My original intention was to make it a short story but then it grew and I couldn't stop it. Well, I would go back to that project time and time again but it wasn't until last year that I got really serious about finishing that first draft. I didn't really do much planning for this novella, either. I just went. About a quarter of the way through I wrote up a very rough outline of each chapter. To see a more detailed look of what the process for writing this novella was, check out this blog post:

For the draft that I'm writing now (which I am so close to being done with) I participated in April Camp NaNoWriMo. (I won!! Hooray!!) And I'm guessing that it will be about another day or so until the draft of my current Work In Progress is done. So the process has been much quicker than my last novel was. 

And now, on to the person that I tag! I met her through Rachel Harris' Flirt Squad. She has beta read for me and she is wonderful! Give it up for Jennifer Weiser! And don't forget to check out her post on this blog hop! 

Jennifer Weiser 
I am a YA author searching for the right words to stain the pages of my first novel. When I'm not becoming lost in the pages of my favorite books or busy creating a world of my own, I am living out fairy tale dreams alongside my beautiful daughter and husband, who not only inspire but allow inspiration to color our world together.





At The Cool Table: 

Okay, guys, that is all! I'm getting back into blogging now (I wrote the bulk of my draft in April, I was busy!) so you will see more posts from me. The first probably being my Book of the Month. I should probably decide what that will be, huh? Well, I hope that you enjoyed this post and don't forget to check out Jennifer Weiser's later on! I will link that on my Facebook page when it is up ( Have a beautiful day everyone!! :) 

<3 Amanda Leigh

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