Blog Hop – The Writing Method

“The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”
― Katherine Mansfield, Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Complete Edition

So the way this blog hop works is tagged authors answer four questions about their writing process, and then tag one or more authors themselves. I was tagged by Debbie Cowens

Here goes!

1) What are you working on?

I always have multiple projects on the go at once. Short stories, novels, audio scripts etc.
Currently as my main WIP (because it has a deadline) I’m working on a new novel for Permuted Press, “DEAD! DEAD! DEAD!”

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I get bored easily. So I try to write apocalyptic stories where the action is constant. Like a movie. You go from one scene to the next, always fighting, always running, always on the  edge of your seat. I also like to have female protagonists – or at least, female supporting cast who aren’t just talking lampshades there to prop up the male protag. I like my characters to be normal, with petty issues, problems, faults and selfish moments – as well as moments of heroism, great sacrifice and incredible bravery. I think people can relate to characters like that more than the hulked up super-soldiers or the Mary-Sue’s who are just so peachy-perfect at everything.

3) Why do you write what you do?
Because it is just so much fun.
I write zombie apocalyptic fiction because I love to explore the idea of human’s in a world where the standard rules of civilisation no longer apply.
I write intelligent sci-fi comedy because I love to play with words and conversations and explore the outer reaches of strange (but still recognisable) alternative Universes.
I write grim, gritty and dark murder mysteries because there is so much darkness in the world that it can be quite cathartic to take a hawk with broken wings and write how she heals through investigating terrible crimes as a way of alleviating her own guilt and PTSD (that’s another WIP – a 3 novel series about a former Australian Federal Police detective in New Zealand who gets caught up in some really grim murder investigations – first one is called
Kermadec and it’s one of those when I have a moment projects).

4) How does your writing process work?
Inspiration Particles.
Seriously, Sir Terry Pratchett first identified them. They are a sub-atomic particle that flies through the cosmos until it strikes the brain of a creature and you suddenly have this idea that you must develop. Of course, this isn’t always practical. You end up with cases of a tortoise having a great idea for a new design of bicycle for example.

Usually my stories start with the question, What if…?

Tankbread – What if the zombie apocalypse turned into a cold-war because the humans invent a clone that can be fed to the zombies instead of people?

Engines of Empathy – What if the world ran on positive energy and good vibes? What if the secret source of this energy was a global conspiracy?

Dead! Dead! Dead! – What if bikers were fighting infected zombie types in an end of the world battle for survival?

Kermadec – What if a serial killer had the perfect way to take his victims and then dispose of  their bodies in a way they would never be found. What if one was found and the investigator is a woman with a tragic past…

The Skulky-Bunking-Champyon-of-the-Hole-Woorld! – What if a kid had a monster in his closet and they were competing to see who could be the scariest?

And so on.

This happens about a thousand times an hour. Story ideas are everywhere. I look out the window and wonder, What if- that person crossing the street suddenly exploded for no apparent reason? What if spiders made a web that looked like a house and used it to trap  human prey? What if a man found himself unable to climb stairs? Where would he end up if the only way he could go was down? What if the phone rings and I’m on the other end – what
would I say to myself? What if the Christchurch earthquake caused a zombie apocalypse and people were stuck in their office building with their co-workers for weeks and weeks?

These are all stories I have written and that is how they all start out. What If…

From there I usually ponder it for a while – asking myself a lot of questions – Who? Why? Where? How? And of course, Okay, what happens next?

I often have an ending in mind – it might be a scene, a closing line, or an image. The rest of the story is as new to me as the reader. I think that is an essential part of the journey of discovery that reading is.

Writing to find out what happens next creates that same sense of wonder for the writer as it does the reader. Stories grow, adapt and evolve – the characters start giving advice. Telling  the writer, I would say this. I would do that. You want me to what? Seriously? Who do you think I am?

The editing is when you trim the wrong paths, the dead-ends and the dead-heads off the work – crafting it into something that looks like it was effortless to write.

The best thing about the writing process is that it is a journey – a journey of discovery and one of delight. If I’m not delighted by what I’m writing, I’ll go and write something else. If the  writer can’t experience delight in their words, then the reader isn’t likely to either.

I’ve tagged Lynne Jamneck.

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