Monday 24 February 2014

Blog hop... 'My Writing Process'

Thank you to Zara Stoneley for nominating me to take part in the 'My Writing Process' blog tour. I now have the task of following up Zara's fabulous post from last Monday, which you can find here.

Okay, so this is where I'm supposed to tell you about my writing process...

1) What am I working on?

Right now I am working on book two in my YA/NA series, A Girl Called Malice, and it picks up the story of mean girl Alice from Popping the Cherry. There are also two more books contracted for the series so far, which means I'll be tied up with this fabulous set of characters for the rest of the year.

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

To be completely honest, I have no idea.

My YA/NA series is a crossover of chick-lit and romance, with the boundaries so blurred it's not easy to label, with stories which appeal to adults and young adults alike. Or at least that's the plan. Many readers have commented that my writing is fun, fresh and witty, as well as very British so hopefully that will help me stand out from the huge international young adult/new adult crowd. I try to create believable characters dealing with every day life and try to keep the experiences realistic.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I enjoy reading and I refuse to be pigeon-holed, for example, the first three stories I ever wrote as an adult all got published and all three were in different genres with vastly different word counts.

My aim is to entertain and hopefully tug on a readers heart-strings as well as make the reader sigh and smile and maybe even laugh out loud. In the case of Popping the Cherry, I also wanted to send a message out about peer pressure and that it's okay to wait.

4) How does my writing process work?

Often I'll have characters in my head, especially the cast of Popping the Cherry which was initially a standalone until several of the characters demanded their story be told. Before I can get started on the actual manuscript though, I need a title and cannot usually progress without it. After that, I open up Scrivener and start brainstorming,loosely pulling an outline together using the 'W-plot' which I have talked about before. Since my series has already been contracted, I then have to draft a fairly detailed synopsis and send it over to my editor. Once I've got the green light on my story proposal, I can get to work.

I like to visit stock image websites and select images that reflect the character or a concept so that I have a visual aid in addition to the outline. Some of these images actually make it all the way through to the book trailer or promo slides. I also find music helps with the process and have Spotify lists for each story, as well as an 'anthem' which makes it onto the book trailer.

As for the drafting a manuscript part, I have a fabulous team of BETA readers that are involved right from the start. It means I always have somebody to run a scenario past, or in the case of A Girl Called Malice, to ensure there is continuity of character and establishing empathy with the main character. Frustratingly, I cannot just write: I have to edit as I go along otherwise I get hung-up on something that I know is wrong and start wading through treacle until I finally go back and make the changes. On the upside, I generally have a very clean first draft which doesn't take much to revise and polish ready for submission.

In a nutshell, that's me and my process so I shall now pass the baton on to three more writers. Make you follow the links and tune in next week to check out their writing processes:

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

Originally from California, Kierney Scott moved to Scotland to enrol in the Ph D programme in Educational Research at the University of Edinburgh.

Four days after she arrived, she met her husband, who persuaded her it would be more fun to get married than write a thesis. After the birth of her daughter she decided it was time to go back to school, but soon discovered all she wanted to write was romance novels. She admitted her literary proclivities to her husband, who promptly bought her a laptop and told her to start writing her book. 

When she is not writing, you will probably find her at a spinning class or baking (read eating) cupcakes.  Her butter cream icing is legendary, if only in her mind. If you want her recipe, or just want to chat, you can contact her at or follow her on twitter @Kierney_S

A.L. Michael is a novelist and creative therapeutic workshop facilitator. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship, and is studying for an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. Her first novel, a coming of age story called Wine Dark, Sea Blue, was published by Stairwell Books in May 2013. Her next two novels will be published by Carina UK, starting with snarky comedy The Last Word in April 2014. 

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