I'm Niki, your host for this post. Feel free to drink all the sarsaparilla you like and put your feet up. Just remember to remove your shoes before stepping onto the carpet. (Hubby doesn't like stains.)
Normally when I post on my blog, it has to do with the various contests I'm participating in, or things I've found while reading slush for the literary agent I'm interning for. Today will be different because an amazingly talented, newly found friend, Jennie Davenport asked me to participate in the Writing Process blog tour. A blog tour is definitely a new endeavor for me, so don't mind me if I'm giddily typing, off in the corner.
Along with being hilarious on twitter, Jennie Davenport is an author of modern fairy tales and the paranormal. Wife. Mother. Represented by Beth Campbell of BookEnds, LLC. Her first published novel, HEMLOCK VEILS, will be released by Swoon Romance this fall! Lover of words, to-do lists, nature, music, movies, theater, books (duh), and anything that moves me to real emotion. Sometimes (most times) she can survive only because of caffeine. She hates anything crafty, only because she's terrible at crafts. Her idea of an ideal getaway? Solitude, so she can write uninterrupted.
What I'm working on?
While my YA Magical Realism manuscript SUMMONER BATTLES is with an agent, I've started a couple of ideas that came to me while driving around, in the middle of the night, on my paper route. I love YA and am getting into New Adult. At church I work with young women ages 12-18 and feel like I never really outgrew that age myself. I tend to be one of those authors where I constantly have a stream of ideas and it becomes difficult to not stop whatever I'm working on to start something new that sounds absolutely amazing. If you could see my file of ideas, you'd see roughly thirty in there, sitting around, waiting for attention.
The first is a completed manuscript that is going to a CP and is with an agent right now. It's a YA Magical Realism along the lines of Night Circus and The Phantom of the Opera (book not musical). The main character is a seventeen year old boy who loves trading cards, video game and anime. While trying to escape an abusive step father, and a bully at school, he finds a comicon styled circus that appears randomly and stays however long it's needed, but the circus has a hidden agenda. The Ringmaster is stealing the souls of the patrons for her own purposes.
The second is one I recently started. It actually came from a dream I had after watching the first two seasons of Once Upon A Time (I had to catch up once the season 3 finale happened last Sunday). The manuscript is about a nineteen year old girl who lives on her own because all other people have disappeared. She's spent three years alone, but finds herself transported to a new land where people exists during her dreams. As she falls in love, the boy wants to come back to her world, but when she sees her family beyond the veil, she'll do anything to become part of their world, or bring the back. It's similar to the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman and American McGee's Alice with a touch of the Left Behind series.
So, that's what I'm working on at the moment. Once I have more information, I'll post it, so watch for new posts!
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
That's a good question. It's difficult to pin point one thing that makes my writing different from others. I've been told that I'm not a normal girl. I love action adventure movies. I prefer video games and books that center around Lord of the Rings styled worlds. I listen to movie soundtracks instead of popular artists. A lot of that comes across in my writing.
Japanese anime has played a big role in my writing style. My characters tend to be video gamers and cosplayers (When Heroes of Cosplay begins again, you'll see a lot of twitter posts). Not cheerleaders or jocks, book nerds or bad boys. The girl doesn't always end up with the bad boy. The boys aren't always tough and fighters. My writing tends to infuse a bit of my LDS (for those of you who don't know what that means, it means I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon) upbringing. I like to write with the values I've grown up with in mind. Of course, I have my faults and I like to write about the darker side of the world as well. My writing, like my mind, tends to be very open.
Why do I write what I do?
I began writing fan fiction in sixth grade, in a notebook that my best friend and I would take turns adding to. I've always loved YA fantasy and paranormal. It was pretty much all I read as a child. When I began writing Sailor Moon and Harry Potter fan fiction, it was because I didn't want those stories to end. I didn't want to leave the worlds I'd grown so fond of. I had a church leader, when I was a teenager, that encouraged me to write. She wrote several LDS novels herself, all of them adult fiction. I'd always been afraid to write what I wanted to instead of adding onto something someone else had written. I was afraid the stories wouldn't be good enough.
And then I had an idea that changed my mind.
I wanted to give teen's books that I love to read myself. I want to add to the genre, giving it a different flavor. I wanted to write new twists on old classics, introduce people to the anime, comics, video games and other things I love. I wanted my characters to be different.
That's why I write YA books.
How does my writing process work?
Like I mentioned before, my writing generally starts in the car. Driving around in the middle of the night, throwing papers out the window. I don't think as well during the winter, when the windows are down for an hour and a half, and snow flutters into the cab drenching me to the bone, but when I do have that burst of an idea, it's something I spend days pondering. I like to day dream as I drive (safely of course. I don't let my mind wander too far off the road), envision the characters, seeing the world, and wondering what the story will be like. That's where it all begins.
I've never been much of one for writing outlines. I've tried writing a few outlines, but my stories tend to stray. My characters do what they want, so I don't outline much. I start my manuscript from whatever I started envisioning in the car. Once I've got that down, I go to the beginning and work my way through. With three kids of my own, and several that I baby sit during the day, I find that I do my best writing after everyone is in bed, late at night. Usually after I read through a few queries.
I don't edit at all while I'm writing the first draft. If I did, I would never finish a manuscript. I see the rough draft as the skeleton of the story and like to flesh it out with my edits once the skeleton is finished. I have a horrible habit of writing has been or have been. I go through and try to eliminate all of those and restructure my sentences to get rid of filler words. While I'm doing that I send it out to my critique partners and start working on any edits they suggest.
And that's my process!
Look for the next writers in the Writing Process Blog Tour, who will be posting their process next week (May 26th):
Janet Wrenn- Along with being my critique partner, and an amazing friend, Janet is a wife to Michael, mother to Elissa and aspiring author to many. Originally from Cudahy, WI she moved to Houston, TX in October of 2000 for love. By day she slings medical insurance to the masses, by night she attempts to scribe the life, love and mystical encounters of the paranormal. When not entertaining family, clients or fans she can be found lost in the enchanted world of Renaissance Faires. Keep an eye out for her debut novel, Lies Witch Bind, coming Spring 2014.
Missy LaRae- A new friend I made during the last The Writer's Voice contest, Missy spends the majority of her time working as a web designer at her company Pretty Wycked Designs, and running her busines development company, Titan Development Group. In addition to her work, and her volunteer activities, she's also a full time mom to two sons and her fur baby, Buddy.
She began writing her first novel in 2009. It was an adult book written with the concepts of the Syren series books, but it just wasn't working, and it wasn't until December of 2011 that my imaginary world opened up and she was able to really begin writing on a daily basis without it feeling like shoving a square peg into a round hole.
She is optimistic for the future and would love to have her books take off and do well, which is the hope of any writer, but more than that she's happy she can share her world, imagination, and love of writing with her sons, friends, family, and with you.