I was tagged by Yawatta Hosby to post for the Writing Process blog hop today. My task? Answer these writerly questions…
Let’s start with the NA, which, as you probably noticed, is not contemporary. I recently sparked a discussion in which I pointed out an agent’s tweet that, to generalise, said that NA Sci Fi-Fantasy doesn’t exist (I believe the gist is that sf/f can feature young protagonists, but remain prominently category-neutral); it might be a thing in terms of characters, but, in terms of the market, it’s not sellable. Okay, I’m fine with that. I can recategorise if it comes to that, since WTCB is not my first novel with protagonists over 25 (in pure coincidence, 5/4/14 marked the year anniversary of that post and my completion of Triangle. My baby is old. :’) ).
On the other hand, what’s wrong with diverting from the norm? I believe I have the themes of NA in my novel – moving in together, moving away from the clutter of a family house and opinions but still considering family in the whole scope of things, and, to a much lesser extent, protagonists aged 18-30 – and I believe it could sit amongst other NA books I’ve seen on Amazon and Goodreads. Yes, both the contemporary and the sf/f ones. WTCB is neither alternate history nor time-travel romance nor Steampunk, but a mix of genres across the idea of this world of two Continents at war and two lovers fighting time to win.
I don’t, however, think this is all of what makes my prose different from others of its genre. I write without a voice at first – and isn’t every first draft an experimentation? – and the one that tends to appear as I edit is not one of typical commercial prose. The voice is my head is rather more grandiose than contemporary, but I would be lying to say that doesn’t please me. Let differences differ. My style makes my writing differ from most other Young Adult and New Adult ideas: that, whilst not as heavy as including a message specifically, it plucks at ideas I’ve had in my head for years – ideas of existentialism, causation and theoretical theology. I’d like to think that my use of symbolism is novel, too.
There’s no definite, I-want-to-change-the-world reason for writing. I mean, yeah, I want to change the world, but that’s not my primary reason for writing. I write because I would go mad if I didn’t write. It’s warm escapism, and, on many levels, hope. I write not because I like to see my characters suffer (if you think this sounds strange, you only have to talk to Miriam Joy!), but because I love to see them hope, to see them through the dark and the depression. You see, doesn’t everyone want a happy ending?
Too, I express my feelings through my fiction – like in this heartbreaking quote I posted recently. If the thought of marketing didn’t scare me so much, I think I would like to write a literary novel where writing is also poetry and I can let my metaphors unfurl across the canvas. One Beta and good friend of mine, Lillian Woodall, shares my love of the antiquated tone and description in fiction. It saddens me that, as brilliant writers as people like Dickens and Austen where, they would probably have found it hard to get an agent in this modern age where lengthy description (I reread Pride and Prejudice
and Zombies yesterday and, as lovely as Darcy’s truth-telling letter is, it’s almost six book pages long) and poetic notions are easily dismissed.
Some of my stories are my way of explaining philosophy, too. In OJAP, for instance, the MC is a fatalist and she remarks thus, which means I can inject some of my degree into my writing. In the same way, I like having science and real knowledge in my stories.
I go through a variety of processes. I tend to edit as I first draft longhand, but not extensively. I’ve been trying to type up the majority of a full novel in a notebook – but one needs time away from university to do that. I’m trying to edit the sentences into sense as I go, but the resulting computer draft will not be Beta-eye standard yet. I’ll go through at one more draft yet.
I’m not a pantser nor a plotter. I think I started writing as a pantser – and that left me with a muddle of a novella with a concept I still love (see OJAP, above) – but the novel I now consider my most polished was planned at least some of the way for NaNo ’10 – with an A4 page of bullet-notes.
Nowadays, my first drafts are sporadic, but tend to be freer. I can definitely say that removing the middle-man of typing up has helped me restrain the inner editor. It helps that I’m a slow thinker, so my work is better first-off anyway! At least…I hope.
Well, that’s it. I have no one to tag, myself, but if anyone wants to pick up the four questions (or perhaps design some of their own), be my guest. I’ll be interested at your answers.