#MyWritingProcess -- Blog Tour!

My thanks to the incredible Steven Whibley (author of The Dean Curse Chronicles and all-around awesome guy) for not only bringing this little shindig to my attention, but allowing me to join in on the Q & A festivities. Be sure to check out the many talented authors involved by searching for the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour on every one of your local library's public computers. Seriously. All of them.

1)     What am I working on?
More than I should be. With the third installment of The Sons of Masguard (thankfully, finally) nearing completion, I'm afraid I'm doing a lot of hopscotching between projects. Ogg and Zogg, the follow-up to Jax and Mack, is on my plate. Along with the kickoff title in The Adventures of Careful Steps, and a nonfiction picture book series about the fantastic life of bees. I'm pretty sure 2014 is going to be the year my rusty and questionable artistic abilities get as much of a workout as my typing skills.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm not positive, but I think the "talking otter pirate" part of my books might set them a smidge or two outside of the norm -- probably somewhere between "Ambien-induced hallucination" and "things you'd see spray painted on the wall of a subway." If that isn't enough to set them apart, I suppose my overuse of the words "barmy" and "mizzen" is bound to count for something. Also, if this answer is any indication, quotation marks.

3)     Why do I write what I do?
Apart from the fact that I'm a bit of a masochist? The decision to write junior fiction was a no-brainer for me. I've always been far more moved by the nobility and the integrity of the stories we want our kids to hear than I am by the cynicism that we tend to throw back and forth as adults. As for the talking animals bit, as far back as I can remember my favorite stories have been anthropomorphic in nature. From the Serendipity books to Disney's Robin Hood. You can probably see the influence in my art style (if my flailing with pen and paper can really be called a "style").

4)     How does your writing process work?
I'm still not sure it does! Or that I have what you'd call a solid process, for that matter. Nearly every project I've worked on has come with its own quirks, which have led me to tackle them all in different ways. Sometimes I write it all out longhand, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I outline, sometimes the plot's a bit more flexible. Because I find visual aids very helpful in getting a "feel" for something, I keep a sizeable whiteboard in my office and use it for spider diagrams, storyboarding, and character sketches. The only strict A to B to C that I have in it all, I suppose, would be found on the editing end of things.

The moment I finish a manuscript, I change the font and print it out. Terrible waste of paper, I know, but seeing the project in a format other than the one you've spent weeks or months looking at can be very helpful when it comes to spotting story blemishes. After correcting any errors, cutting what needs to be cut, closing plot loopholes, and revisiting any scenes/characters/subplots that didn't quite pan out the way they should have (and assuming I'm left with a solid draft), I send it on to my amazing beta readers. Then, when they respond with their suggestions, I consider every one of them as carefully as I can. You can learn a lot from a person saying something as simple as "I really liked this" or "this didn't work for me." After incorporating their ideas, my amazingly supportive husband reads the entire thing to me, out loud. I make notes as we go and generally, by the time we're done, I have a final draft. Occasionally, there's enough of a hitch in the process for me to realize "Okay, this project is one I should consider bringing back to step one in order to be happy with the final result." Because that's what matters, in the end. Creating an experience that you would be proud to say your readers enjoyed. 

Credit to ICanHazCheezeburger

Continue to the next stop on the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour with the fantastic Mr. Reese, author of ABC Monsters: The A is for AAAAAAHH!!!

Thanks for reading!

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