Monday, March 24, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Today I'm participating in a Writing Process Blog Hop. I was invited to the dance by the wonderful Arlene Hittle, a fellow Starcatcher/2011 Golden Heart finalist, author of a baseball romance series including Beauty and the Ballplayer and Diva in the Dugout (luvluvluv those titles). As a matter of fact, I believe Beauty just released last Thursday from Turquoise Press. Congratulations, Arlene! Arlene blogs on her web site. That link should take you directly to her Writing Process Blog Hop post.

So on with the Hop! I have some questions to answer.

What am I working on?

Right now, I'm developing three short stories--all Science Fiction Romance (but of course). All are related to my Draxian Universe series, although the threads are a bit nebulous. One takes place 50,000 years in the future, one a mere 1,500 years after the final book, and the last just a few decades after the close of the final book in the six book series.

The first is titled The Shell and The Star, about two individuals from different sides of an environmental catastrophe who must face the truth about their roots even in the face of exile by their peer races. I call it an Evolutionary Romeo and Juliet.

The second is Silo 9, and it's about one of a handful of breadbasket planets--called Silos--that are dedicated to growing enough food for a human race in the midst of a population explosion. When an alien species threatens to overrun Silo 9, the planetary General Manager and a female General Officer engage in a desperate power struggle over the defense of Silo 9 against an alien swarm bent on destroying it. (And, darn it, I'm going to have to find a new title due to the WOOL series having a related novel called Silo 49).


The last is Farewell Andromeda, about Captain Tijarra  Bell, an independent deep space pilot and the famous astronomer she encounters on Andromeda Station, a remote outpost/observatory on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. She soon learns Dr. Dante Drake is often not the man he portrays himself to be, and the root of that secret will cause her to make choices--reckless choices--she swore she'd never make.

All three stories share a theme of Romance Against All Odds.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

If we're talking about Romance as a whole, the Science Fiction part of the equation makes my work very different from most of my other peers'. SFR requires an element of technology--or the sciences--to be interwoven in the plot and contribute a crucial component to the romantic elements. All the parts have to contribute to the whole, it can't simply be a romance with futuristic window-dressing.

As far as how my work is different than my SFR peers? That's a little tougher to explain, but I think it's that although my stories that are set in the future, all are based on a single "What If..." from the distant past. That in itself is hardly an unusual concept in SF or SFR, but what each author does with it and the spin we put on it is what steers SFR away from any danger of falling into a cookie-cutter scenario. SFR is all about imaginative storytelling, and ranging from Space Opera to Steampunk to Apocalyptic Romance, it's probably one of the most diverse genres in the romance cosmos.

Why do I write what I do?

I've always been fascinated by the stars, by the allure of space, by the excitement of space exploration and maybe at the heart of it all, the spirit of discovery and adventure. When I wrote the introduction for my web site, I dug deep to examine the real root of that question and this is how I summarized it:

Ever since I was very young, I’ve been spellbound by the mystery of space. On warm summer nights I would lie on my back in the cool grass and stare up at the star-sprinkled eternity with a deep sense of wonder. I’d ponder the shadows of the Moon. Hold my breath in awe at the brilliance of a shooting star. Be captivated by the slow dance of the constellations across the heavens. I’d ask myself, what’s out there? What discoveries? What adventures? What surprises?

I’ve always longed to go seek out those answers. But I knew, too, that the universe could be an empty, lonely place, if we made the trek alone. Every journey is as much about who we take with us as what we find. There is as much to discover in each other as there is among a trillion stars. Exploration is truly a journey of the heart as well as the mind.

This is the soul of my work. Whether the story is set on a distant Goldilocks planet, an alternate present or a troubling future, it is as much about the unstoppable power of love as it is about the paradoxes of time and space.

Finally, how does my writing process work?

I call it Chaos Theory. I'm an extreme pantser. A story starts in my head, generally with the seed of an idea. Maybe something I dream, or observe, or read starts taking shape in my thoughts. That idea expands and characters manifest who are active participants in The Idea. By the time I type out the first words, I  have a pretty good plan in my head where the story is going and what it's about.

I can't outline. It simply kills my creative process. Once upon a time I wrote scenes and passages of dialogue and basic plot elements in the order that inspiration hit me, and then strung them all together by writing bridge scenes. That method often resulted in writing myself into corners.

I've gotten more disciplined in recent years after attending workshops and talking to other writers about their process (a nod to my fabulous cobloggers, as well as Robin Perini, Lisa Shearin, and Paula Paul, whose ideas helped me create something that at least resembles an orderly writing process). Now I try to write the blurb and synopsis early on to help me nail down the direction and theme, then I write (more or less) chronologically. As the Ghosts of  Future Scenes pop up, I jot them down them down as "loose notes" on anything handy at the moment--notebook, sticky note, cocktail napkin, page ripped out of my checkbook register--and collect all these little pieces in a Loose Notes file. When I reach that part of the story--voila!--I read through my notes to re-spark the inspiration for the scene. Capturing those powerful ideas at the moment of inspiration is important because it's often a fleeting state of mind.

Thanks for tuning in to my Writing Process Blog Hop.

Following me to talk about their own writing processes will be my multi-talented co-bloggers:

Pippa Jay - Author of Science Fiction with a Romantic Soul

Donna S. Frelick - Romance at the Edge of Space and Time

1 comment:

  1. "I can't outline. It simply kills my creative process. Once upon a time I wrote scenes and passages of dialogue and basic plot elements in the order that inspiration hit me, and then strung them all together by writing bridge scenes. That method often resulted in writing myself into corners."
    Yep, that. Although I take the writing myself into the corner thing as a challenge, even if it means going back to do an extensive rewrite. And sometimes the most surprising things pop up as a consequence!

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About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.