04 June, 2014

World Blog Tour

I'd like to thank A.R. Miller for inviting me to participate. If you haven't read Amy's post, you can find it here.


What am I working on?

I'm in the midst of three totally unconnected novels. SLIPPAGE is a speculative fiction thriller about two special kids on the run from forces trying to kill them. LUCY'S LUCK, likely women's fiction, is about Lucy breaking free of her habits and making her own luck. Lastly, STAIN OF CORRUPTION is the fourth novel in my Dubric Byerly forensic fantasy mystery series. Magical corruption Dubric's fought his whole life gets loose and he has to stop it before it tears apart his team, his home, and his future.

How does my writing differ from other books in the same genre?
My work differs on a couple of levels. First, I can't seem to write a straight genre to save my life, they're always mish-mashed quirkily violent things that combine often very dissimilar tropes and expectations. Sometimes that's good - my novels have gobs of twists and surprises that readers often don't see coming - but sometimes it's bad because they are hard to categorize and market. The other way they differ is because I'm not afraid to 'go there'. I tend to write about very dark and violent topics and no character is sacred, I have never pulled a single narrative punch, and often the brutality is unnerving and realistic.
I don't flinch. Maybe that's what makes my work different.

Why do I write what I do?
Because someone has to shine a light on the bad things.

Um, yay? Go me?

How does my writing process work?
I'd love to say something cool like I brew a pot of tea every morning, put on some soothing music, and create marvelous prose, but that would be a lie. It's never like that for me. Most of the time, the words fight me as if they don't want to be drawn out into the light. I'll get an idea (I call them nuggets) and it'll sit and stew and get all slimy in my head until it's about ready to burst. Then I can, with a little luck and insistence, write it. I write mostly at night, when everything but my mind is still, and it'll come in fits and starts. Some nights I'll get 50, 100 words. Some nights I'll get six or seven thousand. It seems the more I plan or outline, the less words I'll get and the harder they'll come. Unearthing a nugget and getting it out of my head is the payoff for me. Once I know all about a story, it's done and fades away, so outlining usually messes me up more than it helps and, at most, I'll have a handful of squirrely notes. I wrote a women's fic novel, MORGAN'S RUN, about an adult survivor of childhood abuse off about three short statements in the margin of a grocery list. The Dubric novels all started with one sentence concepts and a couple of sketches. That seems to be my natural method.

The exception to my no-outline habit was my novel SPORE, which was partially planned. For it, knowing I needed  to keep it short (for me, anything under 140k is short) I broke the concept and plot into sections so that I'd hit the necessary word count limit at each major juncture. The first 25% (opening), to 33% (end of Act One), to 50% (midpoint pivot), to 67% (end of Act Two), to 75% (begin the final conflicts), and to the ending resolution. Since it took me far longer to write SPORE than any other novel I've ever finished, I can't say that it helped in much more than making sure it wasn't another 150,000 word monster (It clocked in at a nice, lean 95k) but there were several things I wanted to do storywise but simply didn't have room for. I do love the book, though. :)

That's it for me. Danae Ayusso is the next stop on the World Blog Tour. Be sure and visit her next week!