The wonderful Jenna Willet who writes the Jen’s Pen Den blog invited me to participate in a blog-hop that asks writers four pertinent questions. I was flattered she thought of me. The questions asked, though simple, are the kind that many writers struggle to respond.
Here are the questions she passed along to me:
1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?
I wrote these into a Word document and gave each of them a little thought before replying, sometimes adding to the answer, sometimes changing them. Questions 1 and 4 were straightforward. The middle two? Not so much. But before I talk about me, I shall introduce you to Jenna first–the lovely lady who ambushed me with this blog hop.
Jenna Willett is a native of Denver, Colorado. Currently, she’s working as a lead copywriter for a Denver ad agency, while pursuing her dream as a traditionally published author. In 2011, she optioned one of her young adult manuscripts to Envision Media Arts, a film, television and commercial production company based at Paramount Studios. Jenna also enjoys writing the occasional short story or flash fiction piece, including her most recent, “Chasing Monsters“.
Besides writing, Jenna is proud to call herself an advocate of book lovers. It’s rare to find her without a novel in her bag, especially one from the ever expanding YA genre. Through her blog and her own words, she hopes to instil a passion for reading in all people, young and old.
The different places you can find (and support!) Jenna are at:
Now I shall tackle those questions!
What Am I Working On?
There are many things I’m working on.
- Pre-launch of my indie-publishing project, Femme ( a stand-alone science fantasy novel set in my Wanderer of Worlds universe) due for release May 30, 2014.
- Co-writing my paranormal romance, Dark Discoveries (of the Infusco series). Release date: December 2014.
- Planning/outlining the Wanderer of Worlds fantasy trilogy (to be co-written). Anticipated release 2015. (This project is a beast that just keeps growing).
- Currently Researching (and then hope to implement) promotional strategies for everything above, as I would like them to be enjoyed by readers.
Femme is my indie-publishing learning curve. I blog about it to help other writers who are thinking about striking out on their own and don’t know where to start—hopefully they can see what I did and help themselves by copying/avoiding/adding steps. Today is Day 45 in the 112 day journey of the book’s proposed launch/release date.
How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?
I can use (and have used) different voices for different stories. I prefer working in third person past tense and these are where my bigger stories tend to land. Wanderer of Worlds and Infusco series will both be in this format. I don’t shy from writing in first person past or present tense, but I notice that the latter brings out a darker, moodier, slicker tone while my third person is lighter and more whimsical.
I also focus on the complex relationships between people more than the plot itself, because it’s people who we connect with and characters who make the story interesting. I once read a story about a woman who was sitting in a laundromat by herself. She did some people watching, folded her clothes and went home. That was the whole story. Sounds boring but it was exceptionally written. I felt her loneliness, I relished her introspect, I basked in her hope for something better. I wish I remember who’d written it. That kind of ability is what I strive for as a writer –that a simple scene like that can inspire such emotion from the reader.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I’ve always been interested in speculative fiction, even when I had no idea what the genre was called. I liked the old Twilight Zone television show with the twisty endings. I love twisty endings. Initially I was influenced by these kinds of stories when I started writing, so that was what I wrote—speculative fiction with a touch of horror cheese.
I used to read Misty comics http://www.mistycomic.co.uk/Misty.html when I was a little girl, which was pitched as ‘a horror comic for girls’. I also read a ton of other comics around that time too. I also read Greek mythology re-tellings for young readers.
I’m old enough to have seen the evolution of the internet and that is the most amazing thing to watch. Now I’m watching the evolution of tablets and smartphones. I think of Gattaca. I think of Bladerunner. I think of A.I. I think of my own versions of stories like that. I think up tons of stories and plots and scenes and dilemmas that can only take place in other worlds or in the future.
I’ve always been fascinated with robots, simulation gaming (and by extension, virtual reality), with the concept of eternal life and the idea of parallel worlds and universes. These things tend to appear in some form in my writing and of course I write the kind of stories that I would want to read.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I usually start with one of three things.
- A concept
- A single scene
- A character
The concept is usually the setting, but not always. The concept almost always begins ‘what if’. (I have a screenplay in my head titled that, based on parallel outcomes—except I have no idea how to write screenplays so that will have to remain shelved for now).
The single scene is usually something vivid that I can see played out in my head like a movie. Sometimes they fade away, sometimes they don’t. The ones that don’t will get picked at; I’ll try and find out what happened before or after this scene, and if I like it, I’ll jot down a note about it. If it refuses to let me leave it at that, then it will become a story. I’ve had a single scene in my head of a woman petting her vacuum cleaner like it’s her pet dog for a very long time (over a year perhaps)? I’ve finally started to write it down, because now I feel I can write her story.
When I have a character idea, that’s the rarest and most difficult for me to start with, but I’ve done it a couple of times. The problem with characters at the beginning of my process means that the story I come up for them usually just ends up as their back story, then I have to find myself a story to stick them into.
And so we come to the end of the interview/blog hop. If you’ve read all the way to this sentence, thank you so much for indulging me. Do please reward yourself by following up on some very interesting people–those I’m inviting to participate in the blog hop after me. Next week you’ll be able to read their answers on their blogs and I believe they’re worth knowing.
Penny L Howe has a blog called The Why About This, an eclectic collection of information and inspiration.
As just one of more than 7 billion humans on our planet, it astonishing me that I am unique onto myself – as are you. And not so astonishing is that we are far more alike, in many more things, than we have even yet begun to realize.
Perhaps I can close that gap. Bring us just a little bit closer together with some of my thoughts and insights as so many other writers, photographs, artists, musicians and other people just like you and I are currently doing on their blogs, vlogs and other social media platforms.
We all have a common purpose here. To connect with one another on a global level and to share ourselves. To be creative, to explore, each other and our surroundings – the essence that makes up who we really are – both the good and the bad.
Blogging has turned out to be the perfect way to accomplish this. So there you go – I am a blogger, like millions of other bloggers.
I hope to encourage and inspire. Inform and enlighten but most of all connect with as many as possible. Bring us, perhaps, a little bit closer to each other.
Mike Coville is a New Yorker by birth and a Floridian by choice. Having an eternally creative mind, Mike was always looking for ways to express it. First through art, secondly through computer programming and now through writing. He lives in Central Florida with his beautiful wife and two amazing daughters. When he’s not reading, usually two or three books at a time, or writing, Mike enjoys all the benefits of living 30 minutes from Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.
Mike is currently working on a fantasy novel, a non-fiction book and a science fiction anthology. His habit of reading two or three books at a time has carried over to writing two or three books at a time. His plan is to publish his first book by the end of 2014, then publish an anthology of sci-fi shorts early in 2015.
Remember to follow their links and find out how they work. Sometimes, the technique a writer uses can be adopted with positive results. If you’re a writer, it’s a good idea to find out the many different techniques writers use to get writing. If you’re a reader, it can be interesting to see behind the curtain. If you’re not either of these things… here is a bunny with a pancake on its head.