Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Writing Process Bloghop

Last week I was the honored recipient of a bloghop tag. Michelle Wallace (at Writer in Transit)  posted about her writing process and tagged me and two other bloggers to do the same. Do make sure you visit Michelle’s post as well as Trisha Farnan and Marie Abanga to learn more about their writing.


When Michelle first asked me to participate in the Writing Process Bloghop, I was hesitant. I don’t HAVE a writing process, I moaned. Seriously, guys, I have no idea how I write! I just…well, I put one word in front of the other and, sometimes, very rarely, magic happens. They make sense. They open eyes (usually my own) and inspire, encourage, and illuminate (again, usually myself). I have been thinking about my writing process for an entire month and I still don’t think I have one.


…I did discover that I enjoy writing. I need to write. I need to sit at my computer and let my irrational mind take over the full functionality of my finger-to-brain connection. I pulled out a long languishing manuscript and began editing. I am currently in the first stage of rewrites. My muse is dancing a jig in the corner. Ok, he’s grinning at me from the corner while pretending to read the latest copy of Town and Country, but I like to torture him into thinking I’m letting you all believe he’s dancing a jig J.

Thankfully, Michelle provided me with a few questions to help me wade through the weeds and mire of this strange question: what IS my writing process?

1. What am I working on/writing?

Currently I am trying my hand at magical realism. I’ve long been a fan of fantasy and have several (dozen) manuscripts of this particular genre lying in drawers and old suitcases. While I love being fully immersed in an entirely made-up land, I am also drawn to the possibilities of magic in everyday life. I am always asking, “Why not?” in regards to magic and mystery. I firmly believe that magic doesn’t have to stop when we become adults. Why do children and young adults get all the fun? While I’ve, in the past, tagged myself as a young adult author, I’m now focusing on bringing fantasy to adults and mixing it in with real life situations. My current work in progress takes place in Ireland and will lead to one of those earlier mentioned fantasy series. Thankfully, it’s not locked up in a suitcase anywhere but sits comfortably in outline form on my computer.

2. How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. Most of you have only read my essays and the vignettes that I post here, sporadically I confess. There are only three people who have ever read my fantasy work and they did so not to tell me how my work differs from those of the genre but to give me critiques on what I could do better. I suppose if I had to answer this, I would say that my work tends to be longer than current fantasy/magical realism literature. And I do so LOVE lingering over a long book that is not afraid to use big words and challenge its readers to a game of intellect. This is not to say that I think I write smart; I do know, however, many times we write in the styles of that which we read. So if I write long and a bit “high brow” in relation to other modern writers, I blame Owen, Pullman, L’Engle, Dostoevsky and Wilde.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love dragons. Why are there not dragons in my vegetable garden? I love the idea of controlling the elements with the swish of a wrist. I sometimes imagine that I’m from another world entirely and someone is going to appear, any minute, and whisk me away to my rightful home. I’m not enamored with most literary fiction. I know bad things happens. I know life can be crappy sometimes. But I don’t dwell on it and I am certainly not going to do so in my writing. I love books that present normal people with extraordinary circumstances that demand they use their talents and gifts (no matter how feeble or how fantastic) to solve problems and turn events out for the best. I’m not a fan of the “Deus ex machina”. I want my characters to discover things about themselves and then have to learn how to control them, use them, summon them. I like chaos and mayhem while characters try and figure out what’s going on around them. And I like for things to end well. THAT’S why I write predominately fantasy. THAT’S why I pepper my “realism” with magic. Life is full of magic; why not have a bit of fun with it in my writing?

4. How does my writing process work?

Ah. Here it is. The process question. Well, it pretty much goes like this: I get an idea, usually from a song or a book. I start imagining myself as a character in the story. I get a plot, some other characters, and something that happens to bring these characters together. That odd boy across the street just watched his basketball roll into Old Man Davidson’s yard. Old Man Davidson is notoriously grumpy but, for some reason, he likes me. I follow the boy across the street to see if I can stop him from coming up against the Old Man. Suddenly, he and I are whisked inside the front door and taken downstairs to the basement where Old Man Davidson has been working on a time machine. “I’ve been hoping you’d stop by soon,” he tells me. “I just wasn’t prepared for a third passenger.”

See? Total seat of the pants writing! And I type and I type until my tendinitis kicks in and I’m reduced to hunting and pecking with my left hand. When I finally finish a piece, I let it sit for a while, print it out, and grab a red pen. Then I rewrite. And I rewrite…I think you all know how this continues!


There you have it! My writing and my so-called Writing Process. I didn’t tag any bloggers to answer these questions. As Michelle stated in her post, this bloghop has been going on for a long time and there are few bloggers who have not been tagged yet. So I’m going to leave it up to you, Dear Readers. How does YOUR writing process work? Why do YOU write what you write? Are you a fan of magical realism or do you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on terra firma? Let me know in the comments :)

Happy Week!


  1. Very cool! I love your process. I'm somewhere between a plotser and a pantser.

  2. Jen: see...if we look hard enough we find that which we believed was hidden. You found out you have a process...(kind of like magic, it appeared out of nowhere!)

    My process is here: http://deankmiller.com/2014/05/12/writers-blog-hop-my-turn/
    as I was invited along this bloghop a while ago.

  3. I enjoyed your post, Jen.
    I'm so glad I tagged you on this blog hop!
    And I miss your essays/vignettes (you need to write more of those...)

    Pantsers are such brave people. I don't know how you do it!
    With regards to the fantasy genre, I'm always amazed at the world-building process. It's quite intimidating.
    I have to say that I prefer to keep my feet firmly planted on terra firma.
    Thank you for sharing your writing process with us, Jen.

  4. Haha! I was tagged for this bloghop as well, but the person didn't tell me I had to answer questions, hence, my tagees didn't get the questions as well! xD

    You're right about children and adults getting all the fun while we adults work ourselves to death and how we need to PLAY! But there are a lot of adult books out there that have fun with so much sex, mysteries, action thrillers, blah blah blah.

    Great that you are having adults have fantasy fun--like Tolkien's LOTR, those are adult characters in there! Yay!

    The only reason why I don't fancy writing books for adults is because of the expected "uncensored" writings. I don't want to include those elements, but I feel a bit pressured to when I do write for adults.

    What do you think? I am taking it a bit personal, I suppose. I am a writer within my own right and readers have the choice to pick my books up or not even if my adult books are as clean as YA.


  5. Carol: I plot occasionally but I find that my plots always fly out the window while I write!

    Dean: I'll check out your post for the hop. Thanks for sending me the link. Yes, there is magic everywhere; I think as adults we sometimes have to look harder to find it!

    Michelle: Thanks! We don't feel brave; we just write as the story flows. That's the only way I know how to do it!! And thank you for your compliment regarding essays. I really enjoy writing them. I DO need to write more of them!!

    Elizabeth: Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by. I don't worry too much about the uncensored/censored element of adult vs. young adult fiction. I figure if it doesn't have any bearing on the story, I'm not going to put it in! I'm not into graphic displays of anything: sex, violence, etc. I'm not a prude, but I don't think everything has to be told. We have imaginations for a reason :) I intend to make my readers use theirs :)


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy, fantastic life to pay a visit! I appreciate every, single comment and I'll continue the conversation here :) It makes this big blog-verse of ours feel a little more like home.

Cheers! ~J