#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

Hey there! Today I’m participating in the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour. The uber amazing Patrice Caldwell (who’s also one of our Ch1Con speakers this year) tagged me for it, so make sure to check out her post on her own writing process.

Before I get into actually answering the questions for the tour, two things:

1.) Like I mentioned last week, Thursday I went to an advance screening for the film adaption of TFIOS. And I’ve already gushed about it all over Facebook and Twitter, but I figured I’d mention it here too: This movie is basically perfect. It is beautiful, and preserves so much from the book, and the acting is great, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend seeing it. (And yes. You WILL want to bring tissues. Because while I didn’t really cry myself–both because I’m not a crier and because a jackhole sitting a couple seats away laughed through all the sad parts–the rest of my theater sobbed through probably the last thirty minutes of the movie. THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION.)

And 2.) I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and people are not lying (pun very much intended) when they say how good this book is. If you’re looking for a twisty, sad, super well-written YA suspense novel (AS YOU SHOULD BE), then read it. Read it now. And don’t let anyone spoil the ending for you, because IT IS WORTH IT. (I totally didn’t see it coming. Like WHAT THE HECK SO GOOD.)

Anyway. Onto the blog tour:

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1.) What am I working on?

Right now I’m working on two main projects. One of them I shouldn’t really talk about in detail (it’s a seeeeecret), but basically I am extensively revising something (and have been for a few months now).

My other main project is writing the first draft of a YA scifi, The End Where I Begin. It deals with alternate realities and all that fun stuff. Unfortunately, first between school and my internship, and now planning for Ch1Con and Europe, I haven’t had much time to work on it since, like, Christmas. But I’m planning to finish it someday (hopefully by next NaNoWriMo, so I can finally start on something new–I’m getting tired of languishing in the saggy middle of this thing).

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

I think The End Where I Begin differs from other multiple reality stuff in that it has a strong mystery element. The narrator is unreliable and nobody‘s ever entirely sure what’s going on. (Until the end, obviously. If I’m ever lucky enough to actually reach it.)

3.) Why do I write what I do?

I adore YA as a category, because it’s all about self-discovery and growing up and all that. Within that I just really love stuff dealing with high stakes and morality and mortality (and people figuring out who they are under circumstances that I’ll hopefully never have to experience myself).

I usually write spy stuff set in modern day, so with The End Where I Begin I thought it would be fun (and a good exercise in world building) to try out a story that took place in the future instead.

4.) How does my writing process work?

I’m going to give the resoundingly boring answer of: whatever works. I’ve never written two novels the same way.

What I can tell you is that I have no idea how I get ideas, except suddenly they’re just magically there in my head, and I’ll stew on one–letting it grow and get more complex–for a pretty long time before I actually start writing. Sometimes it’ll be half a year; sometimes it’ll be a few years.

For any novel I have finished, I probably have a LOT of false starts wasting away on my laptop (some a solid 20 or 40k in). It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out how I want to tell a story. (I’m working on getting better at this, but sometimes it’s still necessary.)

I write chronologically, but for the past few novels I’ve kept notes and lines and short passages for later at the bottom of the document.

NaNoWriMo’s really useful, because I’m all about quantity over quality for my first drafts. (If I focus on making the writing even somewhat close to decent, I’ll never get anywhere.)

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but I do plan a lot of stuff out in my head as I go, so I make lots of little notes scattered across documents and notebooks and iPhone apps as reminders (obviously I never lose these/completely forget their existence ever). Even if I do figure out stuff ahead of time for the rest of the novel, though, I don’t like to have a set plan for my climaxes. It’s more fun to write with several possible endings in mind, then choose one at the last minute. (Also, if I’m at a point when I’m bored or don’t know how to continue? It’s fun to drop a random bomb on the characters. Either metaphorically or literally. Or both.)

After I finish a draft, I force myself to put it away for a bit (preferably a couple months, but more commonly only a couple weeks–life is busy). Then I read it over once myself to fix any super obvious problems (basically a line edit, with some random plot fix stuff thrown in). Then it’s off to the critique partners (CPs), then back to me, then off to the CPs, then back to me, and so on and so forth until we’ve gotten the thing as good as we can (CPs are the best, man).

Then it’s time to get to work on the next novel.

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So that’s my writing process. (Suuuper interesting, amiright?)

Thanks again to Patrice for tagging me! Now, my turn to tag people for next Monday’s round of #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour posts:

1.) Kira of Kira Budge: Author

Kira is one of my lovely critique partners, the Associate Web Administrator for Ch1Con, and one of our Ch1Con speakers this year. To quote her speaker bio, “Kira Budge is a sophomore at BYU-Idaho, studying English: Creative Writing. She has been writing seriously since the age of six and has completed 18 novels, most in the realm of YA fantasy. Many of her shorter pieces have been published online and in print and she is currently seeking novel publication. She once worked on a novel with a literary agent, during which she learned much about editing, writing, and the industry. She has won many writing community awards and worked as a freelance editor and writer online and off, covering a great variety of topics and writing styles. In her free time Kira plays cello, fawns over cats, and stalks British actors.”

2.) Joan of The Spastic Writer

Joan is one of my writing friends and an all around fantastic human being. I can’t wait to read one of her books someday. To quote her blog bio, “Joan … started writing her first story in 3rd grade. It was something about a girl who lived in the prairie and her snobby grandmother who came to visit from the big old city and who then developed a Deadly Disease and decided to make quilts for the rest of her life. Joan thinks it was going to be titled SEVEN QUILTS, but she’ll never know because she didn’t have a laptop then and wrote half of the story with pencil and paper and of course lost it. … When she’s not procrastinating or worrying about life, Joan loves to read and write YA, bake sweet things because sugar makes people happy, and use her cats at pillows.”

3.) “Mel” of The Ultimately Useless Stories of an Average Teenager

Mel (penname of actual human being Katelyn) is my brilliant writing partner for the This is a Book trilogy and a great CP (you know, on top of also being an awesome writer in general). We went to school together growing up, and now she’s studying English and such in college like a boss. She also vlogs on Youtube, which you should check out because she’s hilarious.

 

I hope you have a good Memorial Day. I’m so grateful to those who fight to keep us safe and free. I can’t imagine the depth of their sacrifices, but all of us in the US are indebted to them. (So enjoy your parades and barbecues, but remember why you’re having them.)

Talk to you Wednesday!

 

~Julia

PS. Countdown to BookCon: FOUR. DAYS. WHAAAAAAT!

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