Writers on Writing

Oh hey! Another Monday post from me! This time it's because I was tagged by my dear Miss Tracey Neithercott to talk about my writing process. She posted her piece last week on her blog, and you should definitely check it out. This blog hop/chain basically asks 4 questions about writing, and it's been cool seeing how different people approach the process of getting a story written.


I am the WORST right now in that I'm not really working on anything. My brain has all over the place lately, which is bad. But the last thing I was working on was a sort of murder mystery written in verse. It's very experimental for me in that I've never written anything long in verse, and it's a story told from 3 different POVs, which presents a whole other set of challenges.

The idea originated from brainstorming sessions with my #twtpoem cohorts April Tucholke and Lydia Kang, and it was going to be a story told in a series of tweets. That ended up not happening, but with their blessing, I started messing with the story on my own.

Novel-wise, I've been tinkering on and off with a Cinderella retelling. I know it's like the most retold fairy tale ever, but I find myself consistently coming back to this story. And my co-blogger Alz would like me to get back to my Asian Fantasy that I talked about ages and ages ago.


Um, I've been told I have pretty writing? So I guess it might be that. I think because I'm into lyrical writing, I tend to pay attention to flow and mood when I'm writing as well. So it goes a bit beyond just metaphor and description and clever turns of phrase.

This goes hand in hand with my interest in poetry. I don't read it very often (or practice it much) and I've never studied it in depth, but I like it because it's writing in a very condensed, sharp form. I feel like there's more pressure on each line, each word in poetry because you have to say and do so much in so little space. So I think it's a good study for writing in general, and I like to experiment with poetic techniques and forms in my prose too.

I also like ambiguous characters. So hopefully, you'll see a few of those lurking about.


Because it's fun??? But more seriously, I write things with magical elements or that play off of fairy tales and myth because those are the things I love. Wanting magic to be real has been a wish of mine since I was a wee lass, so given the chance to make my own magic, why wouldn't I?


When Tracey asked me to participate in this blog chain, I joked with her that my answer for "writing process" would simply be "Bwuuuhhh?" and that's kind of true. I'm a pantser by nature, so I sort of write whatever strikes my fancy and go with it.

The problem with this is that I frequently run out of steam and then I'm stuck because I didn't really think things through. So now, unless it is really nagging at me, I will sit on an idea until I have a better hold of it. I might write down a line or two, especially if I like the turn of phrase or mood or whatever, but I'll turn the premise over in my head until I've come up with something closer to a plot. I'm also trying to work in more outlining, so that my heading is clear. Basically, I've become more of a hybrid pantser-plotter.

Now, this will be a more unusual thing to say but I have the (maybe bad?) habit of revising as I go. I'm working on turning off my edit-brain and just getting the first draft out, but it's a work-in-progress for me. It's what makes me a slow, probably too deliberate writer. In novel stuff, I read the scene I wrote before to get myself back in the right frame of mind, but I'll also tinker with it. Like I said, it makes drafting slow and I'm not sure how much more effective it is in the long run. But I have this habit because this is how I've always written my academic essays/papers - as in, I rarely did multiple drafts of my papers/essays because I wrote to be done in as few drafts as possible. So whenever I got to the end of my papers, they were essentially finished because I'd already done the revision while drafting, if that makes sense. (And yes, this worked for me if my grades were anything to go by.) But like I said, I don't think this is quite as effective for novel-length stuff but I'll let you know how it goes since my process is still evolving. :p

Anyway, when I get stuck and/or when I'm finished, I step away for a bit before coming back to look at it again.

Pinterest has been a great help for visuals and references. And unlike most people it seems, I can't do the music thing. I like music, but I also like singing along to music. So anything with words is likely to distract me. I can do soundtracks sometimes, but ultimately, I prefer silence (or ambient noise).

Thanks for the tag, Tracey! To continue this enlightening chain, I'm going to tag the multi-talented Cat York and the smartie Yahong Chi! Looking forward to learning all your secrets reading about your process, ladies!

(Edit: Yahong has already written her post! Here: Yahong's Writers on Writing post.)
(Edit 2: And now Cat's post is up too! Here: Cat's Writers on Writing post.)

*Thanks Supernatural (specifically the character Chuck) for all these fantastic writing-related jokes. Perfect gifs.


Yahong Chi said...

I am STILL not over how amazing that multiple POV mystery-in-verse sounds, aaah. I seriously want to read something of yours someday and experience your pretty writing for myself :D Can very much relate to the wanting-magic-to-be-real, haha. I think when I first started writing, all I wrote were light fantasies where unicorns existed. And yo, I never thought about comparing the novel-writing process to essay-writing process but it makes sense! Your Pinterest boards for your WIPs are gorgeous, btw, and I love the idea of finding inspiration from looking at a multitude of artwork. ^__^

Tracey Neithercott said...

Yes yes yes to your novel in verse. Judging from your Twitter poems, it will be great. I can understand how you say your writing evokes a certain mood.

And as for your process, I'm really glad Pinterest is a part. I love your Equinoxal board. I really want to read that story!

Miss Cole said...

Those are perfect gifs :D

Wow, a novel in verse sounds like an intense writing (and reading!) experience. Good luck with it!

Cat York said...

I would love to read anything you write, Alice!

I'm a hybrid panster/plotter myself. It's always a mix of things that end up working for me.

Thank you for tagging me. This is so interesting. Can't wait to read all these!

linda said...

Ahahaha isn't it funny how our writing processes/habits tend to carry over from how we write essays??? For me, I'm a one-draft writer and do all my revising in the outline stage. That's when I figure out what I'm going to say and the order I'm going to say it in. Then I pound out the essay linearly according to the outline, make some minor wording tweaks here and there, and turn it in. Yeah, I don't think that's going to translate so well to novel-writing... though I've been pushing myself to make a more detailed outline, because I don't know how else to write, and facing a totally blank page with nothing planned is just too intimidating!

Juliana L. Brandt said...

Oh man, I've wished magic were real for too long, too. Le sigh :)