Writers Talking Writing

Double tagged! My good friends and fellow 2014 debut authors Ara Burklund and Jessica Love tagged me in a blog hop that asks questions about your writing. I love how the writing process and styles can be different from other writers. Sometimes reading about someone else's writing helps you tweak your own.

Here are the questions:

What are you currently writing?

Currently I'm revising a YA manuscript I completed a few weeks ago RUIN ME, BABY.  This manuscript is kicking my butt.  I didn't write the first draft as cleanly as I wanted to and now the revisions are proving more difficult that I had planned.  I'm hoping to have a solid draft by the end of the month to share with CP's, then my agent (and hope she doesn't ditch me afterwards.) 

What I really want to be working on is my slutty new idea!  It's a summer rom-com set at a lake. I'm so in love with the characters, and I haven't even started to write it. My plan is to write this book over the summer. YIKES!!  That's a huge task since my boys will be home the entire summer. BUT I CAN DO IT! I see a lot of video games in their future. :/

What makes your work different?
Oh man, seriously tough question.  I like to think it's my humor and lighthearted approach I take to serious subjects.  For instance, the current manuscript I have on submission, SOUTH OF SUNSHINE, is an LGBTQ story about a lesbian teenager coming out in small rural town in the south.  She has to deal with religious bias, racism, and most importantly, she has to learn to accept herself.  Despite how serious all that sounds, the humor I incorporate takes the heaviness out of the story but still addresses the subject. So people who don't enjoy reading "dark" books can enjoy a very important issue without feeling the weight.

Why do you write what you do?
I love reading YA books.  Even at my rip young age of 28...plus a bunch more years. There's something endearing about teenagers. They are discovering everything life has to offer but on a much deeper, meaningful level: first love, responsibility (or not), friendships, making life decisions that will shape who they become, etc.  The teenage years are such a raw time in your life.  Those feelings and emotions stick with you long past your teen years.  YA books explore all those experiences at a fast pace with instant gratification.  Somewhere in there I hope to take my teenage years and adult perspective and create stories to help teenagers. Whether guide them through the rough spots, show them how to shine or just make them feel normal about the awkwardness that the teen years are. But ultimately, I want to give them something that makes the really raw moments more bearable.  

What is your writing process?
This last manuscript I deviated from my ever evolving and growing process, and it's biting me in the butt.  So I'm going back to what I did when I wrote SOUTH OF SUNSHINE, but that seemed to work for me.  I'm a pantser/extensive note taker.  I start with an idea. I usually have a sense of what I want the story to be about, how I want it to start and how I want it to end.  Then I fantasize about the characters I want in this idea until their personalities start to form. Once that happens, I start pantsing.  I usually get one to two chapters in before parts of the story's future begin to jump out at me.  I have to toggle over to a "notes" page, jotting down ideas and scenes.  By the time I pants my way to chapter seven, I have a ton of notes that now look like a jumbled mess.  That's when I decide it time to organize those notes.  NOW, I don't intend on those notes to look like and outline but they kind of sort of almost exactly look like an outline to the shame of my pantser side.  It's a convoluted way of getting my story out, but it works out in the end.

How about you?  What makes your writing different?  What's your process?