Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blog Hop

Hi all

Well, here are the promised blog hop questions. I was tagged by Nancy Tupper Ling to participate. Please visit her blog and her answers:

I am now tagging two others to participate:

Click the links above to check out their blogs,  and watch for their answers to the blog hop questions soon.

Now, here are my answers:

–What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two middle grade novels. Oliver and the Underlings is a fantasy which is complete and is currently out to agents right now. I may do edits if I get some really good feedback from agents or from my critique partners. The Vanilla Wafer Chronicles: The Case of the Missing Pin is a mystery in its final stages of editing. I have plenty of folders with other novel and short story ideas that I'll pull out from time to time to work on, but those two are the main focus right now.

–How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oliver and the Underlings:

I like to think Oliver and the Underlings is a new look at the whole "monster in the closet" meme. I've seen plenty of stories that take popular myths and put a new spin on them, but for my story I wanted to create a brand new mythology. Also, its uniqueness comes not just from the high concepts involved but the characters, with their own personal problems and stories, that populate the novel.

The Vanilla Wafer Chronicles: The Case of the Missing Pin:

First of all, I don't know too many people who have written stories with a main character with a head injury. The  ones I have seen are all adult mystery stories, usually involving main characters who are trying to solve a murder in which they are the main suspects. What I did was try to write to take this concept and apply it to someone who is in elementary school. Yes, the main character is the prime suspect in a crime, although it's not anything as serious as a murder. But in addition to this, I also explore other concepts that hit home to kids of that age: concepts of acceptance, building friendships, dealing with bullies, trying to make it in school when you're disadvantaged somehow, dealing with the death of a parent, etc. 

–Why do I write what I write?
I basically write what I love to read. Which is: anything that's a little off beat. I tend to read a lot of horror and fantasy stories for adults and children, because, let's face it, you can't get any more off beat than those genres. I write for both adults and children, but mostly for children. The reason for this is that I loved to read as a child, and I would love to give that love of reading to other children as well. Also, I've been finding that fantasy and horror stories written for children seem to be a lot more interesting to me. I find the concepts explored to be more experimental. There are just certain things that just don't happen often in adult novels. You don't see many adult novels with adult characters attending wizard school, or interacting with technologically advanced fairies, for example. There's a lot more risk-taking in children's fiction. Adult characters, like real adults, can be too skeptical, too unbelieving, too rational. But children still have that sense of wonder, so when fantastic things start to happen, fantastic things start to happen to THEM. 

–How does my individual writing process work?
My writing process is a little bizarre. Mainly because I just don't have the time to devote to writing like most people do. I have a full-time day job as a software engineer, and when I get home, I have responsibilities to my wife, four kids, three cats, and a dog. So when do I find time to write? Whenever I can. Most of the time, I spend about three days during my work week doing some writing during my lunch breaks. Other than that, I squeeze writing in while I'm sitting at the karate dojo while my kids take karate, or the few minutes before their soccer games start, or while I'm waiting for my wife while she's in the store. Lately it's been a big help to me to put all my documents in Google Docs. That way I have 24/7 access to them with any device (laptop, tablet, phone) I happen to have with me at the time. 

I get my ideas from walking down this particular street in my town. They come from the sky, WHAM, in burlap sacks, except instead of dollar signs printed on the sides, they have story titles... Okay, I'm kidding. Who really knows where ideas come from? But when they come, and they stick in my brain a while, I make sure to create a new folder on my computer and jot it down. I may never get to it again, but it's there, and when I get stuck on current projects, I like to pull out those ideas and play around with them to see if I can get a story to form.

As for how I write, my first drafts pretty much are off the cuff. Most things I write I don't plan ahead of time. They just come out and I write them down exactly as I first see them in my mind. I never go back and edit during this process. If I do that, I find it kills my momentum to get my stories written down and finished. As I said above, I don't have a lot of time to write. Going back and tinkering with anything will seriously kill what little time I have.

Once the first draft is complete, I start the editing process. I don't have a set number of passes that I go through when I edit. Maybe I should. I just go through the document enough times so that I'm comfortable with showing it to people. At that point, I'll start bringing these later drafts to my critique groups for their opinions. And then I go through multiple edits after that until I have addressed everything I feel needs addressing. 

Then, it's subbing time! And while I do that, I write something else. Otherwise, I'd go mad.

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