Monday, April 7, 2014

My writing process blog tour!

I’ve been invited to participate in a blog tour about the writing process, started by Maya Rock.  Maya used to be a literary agent at Writer's House. I know this because I queried her a couple times because she seemed totally cool and like someone I'd like to work with, but we all now how the query process is and, well, that didn't pan out. Now she's an editor and writer and the one who started this blog hop. Go check out her website. Her first YA novel comes out next year. Yay Maya!!

So this blog hop is an ongoing opportunity to get to know something about how writers see their processes (um, processes? are there such things as processes?) It's kind of like playing tag. Today I'm it. I was chosen by Facebook friend and fellow YA author, Stephanie Feuer (see how her name is a link? click on that and go check her out). You will see who I've tagged and will be posting a week from today at the end of this post.

Let's get started shall we. I'm supposed to answer four questions. Let's see...where did those damn questions get too...(pushes side sticky notes, grabs legal pads with scribbles on them) oh yes. Here we go...

1. What am I working on?

 Oh I just this very second tweeted about this. Would you like to read my tweet?
When you tell your kids the plot of the MS you're writing & they say, "What's wrong with you?" & "You're sick"
 Yes. Contemporary YA. For some reason I'm drawn to it. The plot is this: A teenage boy, who is quite the douchebag (womanizer, homophobe, racist, treats his mother, his girlfriend, pretty much everyone like shit), finds tornado debris in his front yard. His mom makes him help clean it up much to his dismay. Among the debris is a notebook, a journal if you will. He begins to read it and finds the words of a troubled teenage girl. A girl whose mom is an alcoholic, whose stepfather is abusive, who is bullied at school, basically whose life is a miserable mess.

Because he's such a douche, he thinks it's funny at first. But the more he reads into this girl's life, the more he starts to feel for her. He also starts to see parallels into his own life and his own faults are coming to the surface. When it comes down to the end of the journal, and the girl wanting nothing more than to die, he sets out to find her and stop her before that happens, to show her that at least there is one person out there that cares about her. But will he be too late? It's currently titled, A Tattered Life, but I'm not sold on the title.  

You can read an excerpt here.

I'm also working on revising a novel I want to put out this fall titled Girl in Motion. So there's that to contend with. Also still trying to market Dissected. Not too good at the multi-tasking stuffs. Oy. Working on it though.

That seemed like a really long drawn out answer.

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

Tough one.  I think I take risks other authors aren't willing to take. I write about hard things other authors won't write about and some people, yeah, they won't publish it. I write about the ugly truths, the not-so-happily-ever-afters.  The fact is that the good people don't always survive, and the boy doesn't always get the girl in the end, and some people don't always want to read about how perfect life is because it's not.

Sometimes life is hard and dark and painful. Sometimes we need THOSE characters to relate to. Sometimes we need to read about people who hurt like us and feel like us and not just the people who lead exciting existences and get what they want and you know in the end everything is going to be all right.

And I may not always end on the happily-ever-after, but I do end on the everthing-will-be-okay. I always end on a ray of hope. I don't write beautiful stories, but I think I write stories that need to be told. I don't know who said it, but there's a quote that really resonates with me, and I write it in my book, Dissected when I sign it.

"But without the dark, we'd never see the stars."
3. Why do I write what I do?

I think I sort of answered this above. The hard stories, the dark stories, for some reason I am just drawn to them. I think they're important and need to be written and that I'm one of the writers that needs to write them. 

I suppose it's because of my experiences too. I've seen a lot and suffered through some and that makes it easier to write this contemporary fiction that is so emotionally raw like an exposed nerve. It also makes it easier to put myself in my characters shoes and bring out their most inner feelings, fears and dreams.

I do want to write other things. I have different stories in different genres started, but I keep getting drawn back here to this place. Too many stories, too little time...

4. How does your writing process work?

And here is the hardest question to answer. I'm not sure what I do is a "process" per se. 

As far as the when and where...time seems to be fleeting these days. I write whenever I can. I have a day job, so I try to write in the afternoon. If I get up early enough, I write before work. I sit at my kitchen table in front of my sliding glass door, it's the place in my house where the most sunlight comes in. 

I also write in many notebooks whenever I'm out and about. I have notebooks scattered all over. At times I gather them all up in a central location and find where I've written everything. I counted the last time I did it, there are about 20 notebooks around my house, car and in various bags laying around.

As far as the how, I sit down, I write. That's what I do. While I'm writing, I research. Probably to a fault. I think I get a little overzealous when it comes to authenticity.

Anyway, so I write and I research and I get a 1st draft down and it's crap and way too short (when I write the first draft is always way too short and always way too crappy)

So I do a next draft and flesh it out. I add details about people, places, make the prose prettier. Sometimes I have to add characters, pets. I usually find after a first draft that everyone is an only child, has one dead parent, and no one has pets.

I do a next draft, get Beta readers to give me feedback, give it to a couple editors, do another  _________rewrites (changes with every novel). Then I worry about how horrible it is for the rest of its days, no matter its future, published or sucked into the abyss of a word file for the rest of its existence.

So, for next week, here are the next three contestants...
Hart Johnson, Angel Young, and S.D. Skye. They will be posting on April 14.

First up, Hart Johnson...

Hart Johnson writes books from her bathtub. A social scientist by day, Hart spends her evenings plotting grand conspiracies and murdering people on paper. She is author via pen name (Alyse Carlson) of the Garden Society Mysteries and is serially publishing an apocalyptic flu conspiracy tale called A Shot in the Light.

 For her post next week, visit her blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart 

You can buy her books here. (they didn't tell us to do that, but I'm awesome like that)

Next, Angel Young...

Angel Young is a bit eccentric by nature. She's a writer, photographer, artist, dreamer, and all around weirdo. She cut teeth on vampire movies and carried around a beloved Wolfman doll as a child (appropriately named 'Wolfy'), pretended she was the Caped Crusader, and waited for her letter to Hogwarts. Not much has changed. She's a 23 year old girl battling an autoimmune disease, Sjogrens, with a lot of dreams, adventures, and a firm belief in nurturing her inner child. While her creative outlets are always being added to, writing will always be her favorite passion. To sum it up: A Batman-addicted weirdo covered in tattoos, almost always in Converse, running around in her own La-La Land.

Visit Angel's blog, Misadventures of a Misfit on Monday. (see what I did there?)

S.D. Skye, author of the J.J. McCall series, is an award-winning author and former FBI counterintelligence analyst. She's a native Washingtonian (D.C.) and professed nerd-girl who loves all things Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Big Bang Theory. She's a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, the Maryland Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime and lives to write novels, especially those involving 3-letter agencies and Beltway intrigue. She's hard at work on the next installment of the series. 

You'll find Ms. Skye's blog, here

Until next time...


  1. Great stuff, Megan. I like (really I do) how, in regards to your writing, nothing is set in stone on how you write or where you write, but you write.

    Saw your name thrown out over at Hart's place.

  2. Thanks for sharing your process! I came over from my pal, the Tartlette ( well that's what I call her) . I'm sort of like you in that I make a jeazley small mess-yep I write skinny and revise fat- and then spend a lot of time making it work. I think we all do the same amount of time but some do it before and some after. Your novels sound interesting.

  3. Thanks Teresa. Yeah, my schedules doesn't really allow for a set "writing time." I truly wish it did. That would make life so much easier. At least I get it in when I can.

    Jan, I could never edit as I go. I don't think I would ever finish a book. The research bogs me down enough. Oy. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. Good for you, Megan! It's brave and honest of you to write stories that explore darker experiences.

    Your writing process sounds so much more disciplined than mine, which explains why you're so much more productive than I could ever be.

  5. haha, I'm not sure I'd call it disciplined, but thank you. I try to be productive, but some days it just proves to be futile.

  6. Thanks so much for tagging me on this Megan! Sorry I didn't make it over yesterday--I had a statistics class all day and was sort of brain fried. I think you are braver than I am. We like similar themes, but I have a hard time being quite as rotten to my characters (which is a complement to you)

  7. Sometimes I have to shower after a writing a scene. ;) Yeah, my kids were cracking me up the other day. Their expressions were priceless. I wish I had a picture.


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