What Am I Writing & What’s My Process?

Hey guys! There’s a writer’s blog-hop going on right now about the writing process. I was tagged by YA fantasy author Kathy Palm who kindly shared the current state of her writing and the process. By popular demand, (Kathy asked, I said sure) Here’s mine:

1. What are you working on?

I’ve been revising a kinda heavy YA Male POV contemporary for what feels like forever. But in all honesty, it’s only been a few months and during that time I was also revising another novel. I can’t say much about it except that it’s a story about loss, grief, consequences, and the obnoxious codependency that can sometimes take place at the end of first love. Also, the MC is kind of that guy you might’ve loved in high school but he was a little closed off and you were hoping you might be the one to change him. (“Oh my god you guys, he’s not a jerk, he’s got issues, okay?”I’m crossing my fingers just like the love interest(s) in the book are, that he will change.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

By no means am I breaking crazy new ground or anything like that, but my two most recent novels are dark, funny, and romancey. Sometimes, the mixing of the dark and the light might not work for people. However, I know there are plenty of other contemporary authors with writing that encompasses all of these things, so I know it’s do-able. In terms of getting published, I hope my writing and the passion I have to create and collaborate will set me apart so my books will one day be able to resonate with readers the way so many have with me.

3. Why do you write what you write?

I write what feels pressing. I write because I have these stories and emotions in my head and need/want to get them down on paper (or screen). I write things as a purge, as an escape, and I hope if you read it, you’ll feel something too.

4. How does your writing process work?

If something is burning a hole in my brain, I will find a way to get it down on paper, computer, a napkin, old receipt ASAP. If I wake with an idea or a crazy dream-to-novel idea, I’ll type it onto my phone as a note. No process needed.

I’m usually writing during my toddler’s nap time or after the kids are in bed. Usually I do this in bed. I love my bed, it’s a super cozy mattress and soft velvet tufted headboard that makes me feel like I’m a fancy writer lounging on Don and Betty Draper’s old bed. (Sure that is a little creepy, but creepy can be inspiring right?) However, since moving to NJ, I’m most productive when I schedule writing time out of the house. There is no comfy Starbucks nearby so I usually take a 20-25 minute drive to my nearest B&N cafe. Venti Peppermint mocha with soy, half the pumps, please.

Plotter or Pantser? First completed novel and everything else (short stories, poetry, mini magazine parodies for my 7th grade BFF to read, love notes, an unfinished screenplay, etc): Pantser. Current WIP: Plantser. I tried the whole plotting thing and it was somewhat beneficial but based on the way I write, I don’t think I could ever be an all-out plotter unless I woke one morning with a whole story inside my head and I had to get it written down lest I forget. I prefer to write from start to finish but have occasionally had a sentence or scene pop in my head. For that type of thing, I use my notes quite a bit. If something for my story comes to me out of order, I’ll write it out in my notes and then copy and paste when I get to that scene. I also rely heavily on notes to remember character back story, objectives, and physical description. Right now because of timeframe and chapters, I am also using a calendar for my current ms.

As for editing and revising, I use two hardcore CPs, and a handful of beta-readers. This process is a bit more intricate and “from the get-go” with my current WIP so I’m hoping that once I’m finished, it will be miles ahead in terms of where my first ms was when I “thought I was done.” For instance, I used 2 CPs and a beta for my first fifty pages of my WIP and I believe it saved me hours of blood, sweat, and tears later on. HELPFUL HINT MUST: If you are aiming for an agent and publication, use CPs and Beta-readers.

So, that’s it. Nothing super fancy or incredibly structured, but that’s just me. All writers are different and what works for some would be a junk hoard of words for others. If you’re interested in more writer’s processes or writer’s blogs, please check these:

Adrienne Russel: Midwestern writer with Southern roots, who’s currently working on a YA contemporary with magical realism. Fun to follow on twitter and one pretty cool reason is because she live tweets episodes of Jem. I mean, come on. Instant follow, right? Check her out on the @writersrepublic handle.

Emily Mead aka @theloonytuney on Twitter: She’s a quirky and well read YA contemporary author. She loves Harry Potter, lives in Australia, and has an awesome blog that has loads of book reviews. The coolest thing is that she’s also a YA so if you follow her blog or twitter handle, you’re getting an authentic teen perspective.

B.A. Wilson is a Middle School librarian who writes YA but likes to mix it up genre-wise. She’s currently finishing a YA Space Fantasy/Sci-Fi that sounds incredible and blockbuster worthy: war, teenage boys, an all-female planet that includes a great bro-mance and LGBT themes as well. Find out more about her books and writing process on B.A.’s blog. You can also find her on twitter for book recs, writing advice/support, and good times as @BAWilsonWrites.

I also am tagging my two fantastic CPs, who can also be found and Twitter stalked: Sarah Marsh and Teresa Yea. Sarah is the author of all kinds of YA, from high fantasy to horror. The settings and characters she spins are words and worlds bottled like red wine: rich, full bodied, and intoxicating. Find out more about the lovely Sarah Marsh on her blog.  Teresa is a fun, dark, and twisty YA author that writes like the wind, if the wind wore steel-toe combat boots, vintage lace and was on probation. Find out more about the incomparable Teresa Yea on her blog.

P.S. So far, my favorite kind of writing is vacation in a tropical setting writing. XOXO. That is all.

writing on vaca

Thanks for stopping by!

Love, Ami

 

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10 thoughts on “What Am I Writing & What’s My Process?

  1. Thanks for the tag! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who sucks at plotting. 😀

  2. […] writing processes. I was double-tagged by triple-threat Rebekah Faubion and fellow plantser Ami Allen-Vath. I’m flattered they want to know more about how I work. Here’s hoping I don’t […]

  3. […] this is a writer’s blog hop. I was tagged by Ami Allen Vath right here. Normally I don’t participate in these kinds of things, but this one sounded fun. Are you […]

  4. Just dropping by to say hi and thanks for taking the time to be a judge on Query Kombat!

  5. Found this through The Loony Teen Writer – so great! I love you how manage to juggle writing with being a mother. I’m an 18 year old YA writer so I hopefully foresee that in my future. 😉
    http://www.cierahorton.blogspot.com

  6. […] this is a writer’s blog hop. I was tagged by Ami Allen Vath right here. Normally I don’t participate in these kinds of things, but this one sounded fun. Are you […]

  7. […] The first MC, Ryban, is a bit rough around the edges with a sparse voice that breaks the rules of grammar. The second MC, Aven is much more internal, sensitive, anxiety-ridden, and that reflects in his voice which occasionally becomes overwhelmed with stream-of-conscious. This is in part due to the fact that his character is made mute by the bond, which has provided interesting challenges in narration.It's kind of a complicated story, and I'm struggling to accurately describe and explain it at the moment, which is why I'm not sure if it will ever go out to any beta readers. It might have just been a writing experiment for myself. Here's the original, confusing, atrocious log line from my first outline:On the eve of war, two bloodbound half-breed teenage guys, and four other outcasts, take an inter-planetary trip from the crater slums of Thipro to the all female planet of Lokwee, in the Emperor's own stolen spacecraft in an attempt to flee persecution and rescue their Neffela fathers and half-breed brothers from their Mokree warrior mothers.Say that again?  I guess could say that it's a touch of Firefly meets a two boys version of Graceling, with an Amazon Warrior-like culture on the side and some LGBT themes for good measure. Still confused? It took me some time to wrap my mind around it all as well. . .  2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?In this novel, I have two same sex POVs, which is a bit rare. Also, it's typical in YA for dual POV characters to be love interests, and mine are not. Technically, they were destined (by their blood bond) to be love interests, but destiny and reality are two very different things. This creates sort of a backwards closet situation, where my straight boy is the one who is considered to be choosing a path that is not what people wanted and expected of him. While I intended for this to have a definitely Sci-Fi feel to it, there has been so much world building to do that has grounded it more as space fantasy.  Also, while it is conflict and adventure driven, there’s a lot of focus on the unique relationships that exist and grow between the six teens.  3) Why do I write what I do? Because the ideas speak to me, and I have to see them through. While I've stuck with the category of YA, I have written in three different genres so far, two that I never expected to write in. I try not to put rules and restrictions on myself or my ideas. I want to write the ideas that sneak inside me, grab a piece of my heart, and won’t let me go, no matter what the genre is, who the characters are, or how the story is going to turn out in the end. I write what I do, because I have to. I need to. I want to.  Perhaps a Space Fantasy/Sci-Fi wasn't what I originally thought I would write, but I don’t care. I can’t change that and wouldn't even want to. At best, it could become an amazing story. At worst, it will become an excellent learning experience.  4) How does my writing process work It’s different for every single story and novel. I am a bit of a half planner, half pantser though.  With the current novel, I have a blank sketchbook that I've filled with ideas, thoughts, info on characters, made up words, etc.  For about a month, all I did was daydream about this world, take notes, write down ideas. Then I started to form the ideas into a plan. I did write a very vague outline to help get myself started. It is the kind of outline where under each chapter there might only be a couple of phrases or sentences, an emotion, a major event. It’s very short and sparse and would not make sense to anyone but me, but it helped remind me of where I wanted to start, what big things needed to happen in the middle, and how I wanted to end the novel. Once I started writing, the outline had been modified repeatedly and thrown out the window completely by chapter 12.  Now, I keep working towards those defining moments, but the paths I’m taking to get there are not what I had originally thought or expected.  When I finish the first draft, I plan to do a read through and full edit, followed by some major revising and rewriting.  Then after I get the bulk of the story under control, I’ll split the novel into half by POVs and read the novel only through one POV at a time, to ensure that I've stayed true to the style and voice of each MC. After that, I will probably put it through one more read through and edit before deciding whether or not to share it out with beta readers. In previous novels, I've had outlines, used a post-it notes method for one with a lot of alternating scenes, and completely pantsed one novel. I guess that I haven't found any one method that I'm willing to stick to yet. I do what feels right for each novel, and perhaps with more time, I'll find a method that is a bit more consistent. If not, oh well. I don't believe in fighting against what seems to be working with any given novel, just to keep things uniform. I like to be flexible and try new approaches.  Check out the next 3 writers on the blog tour who will be posting answers to all 4 questions on June 16th at the links below: Kelley Harvey: www.kelleyharvey.com Kelley is a Texas girl, a wife, and an animal lover. She’s also the mother of two teen girls; therefore she resides on Teenage Drama Islandand desperately needs a vacation to Adult Sans Kids Resort—all inclusive, off course. Her passion is writing. Her YA Romantic Soft Sci-Fi, is titled DEVASTATION. SECRETS I KEEP, a NA Contemporary Romance, is her latest novel. Feel free to check them out on her site! Ellen Mandeville: http://ellenmandeville.com/ Ellen grew up in Southern California having no clue what she wanted to do when she became an adult. Learning that degrees are awarded for reading books and writing papers, she earned a B.A. in English Literature from UC Santa Cruz. A few years later, she and her husband sailed across the South Pacific to New Zealand. They now reside in Idaho with their two children. Ellen currently impersonates being a responsible adult. Ami Allen-Vath: https://amiallenvath.wordpress.com […]

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