Monday, March 24, 2014

My Writing Process

I was tagged by the fabulous Cassie Mae for this bloghop, in which I answer a few questions about my writing process.

What am I working on?

*Revising REMAKE 2. This one's been read by two CPs, and I'm fixing it based on their feedback. To be sent to my next round of readers soon.

*Revising my 'herbs-n-nerds book' for my agent, hopefully done in the next couple of weeks.

*Waiting for feedback from my agent on my 'memory book', biting my nails waiting to hear what she thinks.

*Drafting my 'trading book' excited about the world-building in this one.

*Drafting my 'outbreak book'. Loving the voice so far--so different for me. And fun!

*Waiting for some final polishing notes on REMAKE from my editor...ARCs coming forth soon. Eep.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

All of my books are YA set in the (near or distant) future on Earth, and I would consider them light sci-fi with strong romantic elements. Though 'elements' might be too weak a word. The romance in my books is never just there for the sake of romance or even characterization, it's always a vital part of the plot.

Why do I write what I do?

If I had a time machine and could travel to any one time period on Earth, it would be somewhere in the future. Yep, I'm one of those people. The unknown intrigues me (probably why I wanted to become an astronaut and explore the cosmos). So I'm constantly asking myself the What If questions. What if everyone chose their own gender? What if the world monetary system collapsed? What if people had to migrate to avoid radiation poisoning? And then I let my imagination wander and think up characters and their stories in these altered worlds. Then bam...I write it all down.

I'm also a bit of a preparedness junkie. Because--you know--what if? I'm a certified home herbalist and collect herbs (for medicinal purposes), medical supplies, shelf-stable food, seeds, etc. We even have a cabin in the mountains completely off the grid. So several of my stories tend to be a little post-apocalyptic as well...having to live off the land or make do without today's amenities. Fun to think about.

How does my writing process work?

Once I get an idea, I let it simmer for months until a full story surfaces, and then I spend several weeks plotting it out. I usually draft like a madwoman, pumping out a barebones story within 2-3 weeks. I don't get a lot of sleep, the story constantly running through my brain. I have this insane drive to get it out of me. After that I fill in the holes and flesh it out a bit more, then revise until it's the shiniest I can get it.

At that point I send it to my first readers, revise based on their feedback, send it out to more readers, revise...keep going until it's the shiniest I can get it with CP help. Then it's off to my agent, who undoubtedly gives it back with a long list of to do items that I work on, send back, she gives more feedback, I revise...keep going until it's the shiniest we can get it. Then it's off on submission (which admittedly, I've only made it to this step once so far) and if sold, I do the same dance with an editor.

To be honest, it boggles my mind how much time I spend on one manuscript when you consider all that work, but it's worth it. And as you can tell by my 'working on' list above, I have different books in various stages of that dance. It's a wild, complicated routine, but I really do love it.

Tell me what you're working on and why you like to write what you do. I'm tagging Robin Hall and Kathryn Purdie, two beautiful, amazing writers. You can tune in to their blogs next Monday and read all about their writing processes.

Did anyone else watch Divergent this past weekend? How did you like it?


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

As much as I enjoy post apocalyptic stories, I probably wouldn't survive one. I'd be better off just pouring some ketchup on myself then offer myself up to the zombies. :)

Enjoyed hearing about your writing process!

Weaver said...

Love books with SciFi, being an old SciFi nerd myself.

My heck, but you're busy girl! I'm finding that I'm rather linear in my process. Start one, finish it (or that step). While it rests, work on another. Too hard for me to be in the middle of multiple projects. Brain freeze isn't always about ice cream. lol

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's how my writing process goes - weeks and months of planning in my head and then an extensive outline.
Herbs and Nerds? Funny title.

Rosalyn said...

These all sound so interesting! But I'm with Donna, I have a hard enough time focusing on one story at a time (though I usually have other ideas simmering). It's so fascinating to me to see how other people's minds work--how their interests and backgrounds play into what they write. Lots of times I think, "I could never write a story like that!" Which I suppose is a good thing, as it means that there are stories that are uniquely ours. :)

Tammy Theriault said...

You are such a thorough one! Complete with off grid cabin? Geez. I need said cabin keys...

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Wow, you are working on a lot of things right now! Go you!

Nicole said...

I'm loving this tour! It's so fun to see everyone else's process. I'm with you on romance - if it's there, it's got to be vital to the plot. Your stuff sounds great. I love sci-fi and spec fic.

Unknown said...

Your ritual is a lot like mine but with different titles and characters. Keep up the good work!

Leigh Covington said...

Awww! I just love this Ilima! You are amazing. If you ever need a beta read let me know! :)

Suzi said...

ARCs for Remake almost out? That must be exciting. And nerve-wracking! That day must not be too far off though.

jaybird said...

I am so excited to read Remake (and for you to release it into the world) I can't stand it. I hope you know I am going to be the FIRST one in line to buy it!!!

And you and I, are so much alike it's scary. The Hubs and I have been out searching for the perfect "off the grid" property. We also grow our own and have stored lots of our own veg seeds and plants. :)

Robin said...

I had no idea you had a totally off the grid cabin. Next writing retreat location, perhaps? Thanks for sharing your process and tagging me.

I'm a very happy first reader of your what if futuristic books:)

Glenda Cates said...

"WOW" you are so so busy. So many books to work on. I am proud of you as I am not one who could write a book.