I flamed out, tumbled off a cliff, and exploded at the bottom of a ravine a few weeks ago about book marketing. (A week of nothing but rejection will do that) But with that magic launch date looming it seemed a good time to re-energize and talk about that writing stuff. (Don't worry, I've put some fun pictures in to pass the time if the words are boring)
Kris Silva sent me one of those author chain letters that are less about how eating this one food will travel back in time and kill your grandmother and more about the process. So away we go.
1. What am I working on?
I'm in the midst of the research, plotting, sitting around daydreaming stage of a novel novel idea I have (ba-dum-tish). After plumbing the depths of fantasy, then YA fantasy, then sci-fi fantasy I decided to stick with what I knew best and jump to an historical fiction idea.
To give the roughest of sketches, the setting is in 1500 Granada, Spain right after the end of the reconquista when the final vestiges of Islam were kicked out by Isabella and Ferdinand. Right around the time when the ghettos and inquisition started up.
But it's also a chance to tell the tale of a roguish highwayman, a morally grey robin hood of sorts, who's actually a highway woman. She's been hiding as a man for years so she can operate her little den of miscreants to raise coin. Never one to tread in politics or join a cause, she is swept up into the riots boiling through Granada.
The nice thing about a historical piece is that, instead of having to come up with food choices/culture/holidays everything that makes a setting, I can just research them. The bad thing is that I lose myself chasing down answers that may no longer exist. Trying to find maps, recreate mosques long torn down and built over with cathedrals; I'm not certain which horse is the prettier color at this point.
2. How does my work
differ from others of its genre?
Assuming fantasy genre since the historical fiction is little more than a gleam in my brain stem, the satire comes to mind. If there is a trope or cliche, I will pick on it. I like to think of it as loving, but I probably ruffle a lot of feathers with it.
I use fantasy a bit differently than others. For some it's an excuse to make a world where up is down and birds are our masters and overlords. I like to tweak an expectation, a norm in culture and see what havoc that wreaks on my characters. It's all about messing with the characters. I'm so god awful at plots, but I do love making some twisted and complicated characters.
3. Why do I write
what I do?
Oh crap, I think I already covered this. I didn't read ahead, I swear!
Human foibles fascinate me so. I want to know why people do what they do, what drives them. And if I can throw a dragon or two in while they're having an existential crisis about accepting the unforgiving role of hero or fallen savior, all the better. (Note, I will never actually write a dragon story. To me, sending in a few soldiers to fight a dragon is comparable to five people armed with sticks attacking an aircraft carrier. I don't see anyone getting out of that alive.)
4. How does my
writing process work?
That implies that it does, in fact, work. Let's see, I begin with an idea. Usually it's a small scene of two people having a conversation, reaction, or fight. I do a lot of action scenes in my head because when in doubt, stab someone. That idealet blooms as I chase after why someone would act that way, what would push someone to make that choice, what consequences are there for the actions.
Then I start to fill in those pesky plot details, finding the beats for action and respite, pick a setting; all the dressing for the side of the character salad.
Trolling baby name websites is one of the important stages. I suck at naming things, characters will go through multiple options before I pick something. Even then, names can change on a dime. Originally, Aldrin was named Andrin - a real name - but it took maybe a chapter before his name altered in my brain. It has to zing, has to flow from the tongue. I'm very much in favor of you need to be able to pronounce whatever crazy fantasy names you make up for something, unless that's the joke.
After that, it's just scooping out all the ideas in my brain and ladling them across the page. Maybe then making a gravy to go with.
Now to pick some people to get to dance to my bidding. Mwhahaha.
I believe I shall begin with Tony Noland. Author of a superhero novel where they use grammar powers to fight! (so cliché) and tweeter friend.
Monica Marier, who's still working on that Linus book we're all waiting for. Patiently. *hide the pitchforks guys*
Mandaray, another twitter friend I forced to read and review my book.
And finally, Brian Schwarz, a fellow winner in the WriMo contest who has a dystopian sci-fi thriller dropping soon.
You all get to answer those same questions I did, then find four new people to infect with the virus. Fly my pretties!