Many thanks to Sarah for tagging me in this Blog Hop!
What am I working on?
I finished my most recent major project in January. After self e-publishing Etaren, I wanted a bit of a break from long term writing projects. Over the last few months, I’ve returned to WordPress and I’ve been writing fictional stories on Loyal Muse. So I’m not really working on anything right now. Although, I have been giving some thought to a six word story. I’ve tried a few 25 word stories before and found them very confining and difficult. 200 words is plenty of space, 100 is no problem, even 50 is enough for a snapshot, but six? Hemingway did it so it must be possible…
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Honestly, I’m not certain that my work does differ from others of its genre, after all, Etaren was heavily influenced by A Song of Ice and Fire’s point-of-view chapters. If anything, my work is brief. Since I started with micro-fiction, writing a novel was a difficult transition. I had to stretch so far to reach the target word-count, add more description and dialogue and longer sentences, I had to seemingly ramble on in order to give it enough substance. Paring a story down to its bones is great for very short stories, but somewhat detrimental for longer works. In the end, Etaren was just over 51,000 words, barely over the 50,000 target. In my completely un-biased objective opinion, I think a lot gets accomplished in that time. My work is different, because even the longer stories have less fat on them.
Why do I write what I write?
Because flash-fiction is the literary needle, and epic fantasies are the literary war-hammer. Both have their uses of course, but I enjoy the shorter, sharper writing style. I’ll develop a context, background, and plot that could justify hundreds of words, and only give it 50. Lots of it gets left on the editing room floor, the reader only gets the final 50 word post, and only I know all the other facts. I’d rather lose some depth and be able to claim that I didn’t waste a single word. Of course, some ideas truly deserve more of a voice, and I try to explore that angle as well.
How does your writing process work?
I usually start with a setting, characters come next, then the hook. If I’m in a hurry and haven’t posted in nearly a week, I’ll cast around for a setting. Past, present, or future? Where are they geographically? What’s the immediate setting? Who’s there? Why are they there? What’s happening? Who cares? If I’m lucky and I get some inspiration, I must immediately take notes on my phone, notepad, or computer. These notes will change of course, but if I don’t get it down right away I will forget. The plot and word-limits develop from there.
Etaren needed more planning. I took a week to create the three main characters. Everything from their names, occupations, locations, social class, immediate family members, hopes, dreams, fears, and physical attributes. Each had a different D&D alignment, which was tricky to keep straight as I wrote. Then I built an outline. Three characters with ten chapters each was easy enough. Then I worked on how and when their arcs would overlap to construct the overall timeline. Once I had the characters and the entire (and repeatedly revised) outline, I drew a few maps. One of the known world, one of the kingdom, and one of the capitol itself. Continuity errors break stories so I wanted to be as careful as possible. With everything in place, I wrote, edited, and posted one chapter at a time. Later, I went back and edited everything, since the first third was terrible, and the first half wasn’t much better. I published once it was as good as I was going to get it.
My process works well enough for me, but I’d love to read about yours!