writing

My Writing Process

I was invited along on this Writing Process Blog tour by fellow author Blythe Rippon.

Every author answers the same four questions about his or her writing process, and tags someone else, who then tags someone else, and so on and so forth.

1. What am I working on?

I’m working on two things simultaneously. The first is the final draft of TBSOL, which is currently making its way through an arduous editing process for which I am solely to blame. It should, hopefully (and eventually) emerge as something resembling a publishable novel, but for now it remains a frightening creature looming over my head.

The second thing I’m working on is an LGBTQ young adult series called The Midnight Sisterhood, which is set centuries after a series of cataclysmic events leaves the world looking very different from how it does now. The story revolves around a group of teenage girls who belong to the vigilante branch of a female-only secret society. When one of their missions leads to a murder, the girls decide to take their spying missions and vigilante assignments into their own hands. What could possibly go wrong?

2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I believe it has more goats. Or, at least, a more plentiful essence of goats.

I don’t spend my time comparing my work to others, or thinking of ways to make my books stand out. I think every story is unique and that every writer walks his or her own path.

I will say, that regardless of genre, my stories will always feature lesbian and bisexual characters, humor, and romance. I don’t ever see myself writing anything that doesn’t include those things.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve talked about that here and here, and probably elsewhere, too, but I guess to answer this specific question, I write what I do because it’s what is in me to write. I couldn’t write anything else, and I wouldn’t want to. I like to think that what we do in this world makes a difference, perhaps only for the short-term, and perhaps only in small, indiscernible ways, but that’s enough for me.

I don’t write for money, or fame, or social acceptability. I write in the hope that it makes someone smile, or laugh, or feel less alone, if only for a short while. We’re each responsible for our lives, and the things we put in it, and we’re responsible for the things we leave behind. I want what I leave behind to be full of hope and positivity.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually start with a very basic idea of what I want to write. TBSOL started with the idea of someone famous falling in love with someone not famous over the Internet. Rayne started with the idea of a witch falling in love with a psychic. With The Midnight Sisterhood I decided I wanted to write a young adult series about a female secret society.

I write a lot of my ideas in a notebook and build on them over time. Each book has a notebook that’s filled with scenes, or scraps of dialogue, or general ideas for plot, but nothing comes together for me until I start to write.

I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter. I prefer to be surprised.


To continue this lovely tour, I am tagging the awesome and talented James C. Femmer. Take it away, Jay! Hey, that rhymed.

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Announcements

Interview with Cúpula de Libros–Bookovers Magazine

Earlier this month, the great folks at Cúpula de Libros unveiled the first edition of their Bookovers Magazine and I was fortunate enough to be asked for an interview. I am endlessly honored to have been included in this project.

bookoverscover

If you missed it, don’t forget to download a free copy. Note that the magazine and the interview are in Spanish.

continue reading…

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Free Stuff

[Updated] TBSOL v1/v2 Links & EPUB files

tbsoldownload_nofreelabel_big

As I mentioned before, Midnight Island will be re-launched as the future hub of my Midnight Sisterhood LGBTQA young adult series, and so midnightisland.com is currently offline (though it should be redirecting back here for now).

I realized this morning that in wiping midnightisland.com, it broke a few links around this site. Most notably were the PDF downloads of  TBSOL v1 in both English and Spanish. I apologize if you tried to access those in the past couple of days and got an error, but they should be up and running again. I took the opportunity to create new PDF files with updated information.

I’m also getting around to converting TBSOL v1/v2 into .epub files, so you can download those if you want to have a copy of TBSOL that’s portable-friendly. I’ll make the Spanish translations available soon.

Here are the updated links for your downloading convenience:

The Blind Side of Love v2

English (version 2) : PDF | EPUB (right-click and save link as)

Español (versión 2) – traducido por Lorena Barrios: PDF

The Blind Side of Love v1

Original (English): PDF | EPUB (right click, save link as)

El Lado Ciego Del Amor (Español): PDF – traducido por Gixane

Enjoy!

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Of Life & Randomness

Onwards and Upwards: An Update

Ah, blogging, how I’ve missed you.

Those of you who are signed up to receive my newsletter are aware that I’ve taken a step back from TBSOL. I’m still working on it – don’t worry –  I’m just trying not to stress out about it.  There are writers who can force it, just pound on the keys until the words come out and the book is finished. I’d (probably) be a lot better off if I were that kind of writer, but I’m not.

This book has become too important to me to wing it haphazardly and I was getting to the point where I just didn’t care anymore if it was good or bad or if anything made sense. I just wanted to finish it. That’s not what I want for this book (especially not for its final version), and I’m certain that’s not what most readers want either. So, I’m hitting pause until I feel I can approach the book from a better emotional standpoint.

TBSOL FV will be done, and when it is done you will know about it. Promise.

the midnight sisterhood: a series

I’m excited to announce the title of my next project: The Midnight Sisterhood, a young adult series about an all-female secret society operating out of (fictional) Midnight Island. There will be spies and mysteries and ghosts and psychics and aliens – and of course – gay girls and romance.

At some point in the future, I’ll be re-launching midnightisland.com as the official hub of the series, and there will be lots more info about it there.

I’m still laying down the foundations of the world, the various plots, and – my favorite part – creating all the characters, but here’s what I can reveal for now:

  • The Midnight Sisterhood is comprised of various secret Orders
  • There are vigilantes, paranormal investigators, hackers, psychics, people with special powers and so on and so forth, all belonging to different Orders with specified operations, and all at different hierarchies of knowledge, access, and power
  • I’m starting the first book with the characters of the High School Vigilante Order, whose main purpose is to spy, gather info, and rectify wrongs wherever they see fit.
  • It will be an LGBTQ series, and most of the main characters will fall somewhere in the not-straight spectrum.

So, that’s what I’m working on when I’m not working on TBSOL.  Most of this will sound familiar if you’ve kept up with the blog, as I’ve mentioned the series before. Now it’s finally taking shape, so I’m excited to be giving it more attention.

in non-writing news:

  • I did an interview with Cúpula de Libros which was featured in the first issue of their Bookovers magazine. Check it out!
  • I’m starting a course in May to get a TEFL certification, which means I’ll be fully qualified to teach English to non-native speakers. I’m excited about that.
  • I’ll be playing WildStar when it launches in June, and looking for people to play with/talk about the game with, so if you’re planning to hit Nexus, let me know!

And that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you’re having a glorious day. Find me on Facebook and Twitter for all my daily nonsense.

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Of Life & Randomness

Poe vs the Elephant: An Ongoing Saga

poe_vs_elephant

My mom gave K a stuffed pink elephant named Rose, because K  loves elephants. Rose lives on the top shelf of one of our bookcases, along with K’s collection of elephant figurines.

Poe and Rose have a complicated relationship.

Every single day, without fail, we walk into the office to find Rose on the floor. This has remained a source of amusement and confusion because he doesn’t do this with anything else. He’s only interested in Rose. No matter where we put her, she always winds up on the floor.

But only once per day.

A few days ago, I was in my office at around four in the morning. Poe was sleeping. He woke up rather suddenly, jumped down from his tree, and dragged his half-asleep body into the office. A few seconds later, I heard a noise behind me, and turned around to find Rose on the floor.

Poe stared up at me with a sleepy sort of glare, returned to his tree, and went back to sleep.

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writing

10 Things That Are Different In TBSOL FV

“What’s the main difference between all the different versions of TBSOL?” 

The words.

That’s the short answer.

The medium-length answer is that it depends which versions you’re comparing. If you’re asking what’s different about the final version and the first one, the answer is everything. If the question is about the final version and the second, then almost everything.

The long answer is a lot more complicated, so I’ll attempt to go into it in list-form, because lists are fun.

(This post assumes you’ve read at least one of the versions and know what TBSOL is. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then this will probably make very little sense and I apologize ahead of time. If it helps, I drew some pictures about TBSOL v2 once explaining what it’s about). continue reading…

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Of Life & Randomness

TBSOL – Notes From Last Night

I was really out of it yesterday after only managing a couple of hours of sleep, which I thought meant I’d fall asleep early and easily, but 2AM rolled around and I was still awake.

Sort of awake.

In and out of awake.

I remember I was trying to fall asleep while thinking about TBSOL and what was left to write. At one point, I had this vision of Kris jumping out of a bed shouting, “FRIES!” and I’m pretty sure I was asleep by that point, but I still remember thinking, “OH MY GOD THAT’S AMAAAAAAZING …. OHHHH BRILLIANT…. WRITE THAT DOWN!”

But I fell back asleep.

Or I thought I did.

I don’t actually recall reaching for my iPad in the middle of the night, but I guess I must have because today I found this:

TBSOL notes

… thanks half-asleep, me.

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writing

TBSOL Weekend Writing

TBSOL FV is kind of a mess at the moment.

Several things are to blame, I think, but ultimately it’s my lack of self-awareness that often gets me into trouble.

The book got away from me the past few months because I was trying to hurry … because I was impatient … because I was stressed about things that were mostly in my head … because I lost myself.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath

It’s so true.

TBSOL is kind of a mess at the moment, but I’m going to fix it.

Last night, I was watching Scandal, and I said to K, “I think I need to remove that scene where *spoilers*.” And she asked, “Why? Do you think it’s too much?” I said, “I think the timing feels wrong.” So, I finished watching Scandal, and I removed the scene, then wrote 1300 or so words of another that I pulled out of nowhere.

 

TBSOL FV

 

What it looked like a few days earlier:

tbsolbinderolder

 

And onwards we go.

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

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writing

Good Writing Day, Today Was

I’ve been “writing” every day for weeks now, though mostly I’ve just been sitting here for hours at a time, forcing out sentences and deleting them. Hating everything. Starting over. And over. And over.

I’m pretty sure I’ve re-written chapter fifty about twenty times. The other day, I managed to finish a scene I’d been fighting with for hours on end for weeks, and I thought, YES, it’s DONE. I can move on. But I couldn’t move on. Each time I sat down to write it, the words got stuck. The dialogue fell flat. I wrote, and deleted, and wrote and deleted.

I figured today would go no differently, but this morning I sat down to write, and decided to go back to the scene I thought I’d finished. Frustrated, I deleted half of it. I re-wrote the middle, and re-wrote the end, and kept on going until I’d written two more scenes, and half of another. I can’t remember the last time that happened. After months of struggling to put one word after another, fighting to get anywhere at all, I managed to finish the chapter, and start the next.

A little while ago, I printed up the chapter for K to read, and she said, “I really love it from here onward.”

She pointed to a sentence in the middle of the first scene, and I looked at it and sighed. “That’s everything I wrote today, starting from that very sentence.”

She said, “Everything before this doesn’t sound like you.”

I thought it fascinating how she could pinpoint the difference between the stuff I forced onto the page over the course of three weeks, and the stuff that flowed easily over the course of two hours. It’s also very frustrating. I’ll have to go back and fix the beginning, but I’m happy knowing the rest is good.

Writing is, above all, about not giving up.

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FAQ

TBSOL Q&A

I received the following questions via Tumblr, and I wanted to answer them here because I receive a variation of these a lot and don’t think I’ve written a public response before.

Thanks for the questions, klaudiagarcia!

Q: What inspired you to write TBSOL?

The idea came to me one night, and never left me. Back then, I was still struggling with being gay. I hadn’t been out for very long, and even though I was “out and proud” at school, I was still battling a lot of insecurities. On the day my parents dropped me off at college, we had a huge fight about me being gay – they had just found out a few weeks prior. For many years, I didn’t talk to them about my personal life, or anything that really mattered to me. It was really hard for me to be happy with myself when I felt like such a huge disappointment.

So, I wrote to make myself feel better. I wrote TBSOL because I wanted to believe in love. I wanted to tell myself a story that would make me happy, because deep down I wasn’t. It took me a long time to work through all of that.

Q: Who’s your favorite character?

I had to go make myself another cup of coffee before answering this because I honestly didn’t know what to write.

I think if you ask me who my favorite character is in a TV show or a movie or someone else’s book, that’s far easier to answer. I think we’re drawn to characters who speak to some part of who we are or want to become. But it’s hard to pick and choose from among my own characters because they’re figments of my imagination.

I’ll say this, though: Leigh is the most fun to write dialogue for.

Q: Was there something that you wanted to convey with the story?

I think what I wanted to convey with the first version was that it’s okay to be gay, because that’s what I most wanted to tell myself. I wanted to write a happy story, where two girls fall in love and neither one of them dies at the end. That was really the full extent of my goal at the time.

When I went back to finish TBSOL v2, I was a much different person that I’d been when I’d started it. I didn’t have the same insecurities about being gay. I had found the girl of my dreams. My relationship with my parents was in a much better place. In other words, I was happy and I was at peace. And so, my motivation behind writing was no longer about me, or making myself feel better. It became about other people, and trying to make a difference with my writing.

I don’t want anyone to ever feel bad about who they are, and that’s a message that’s really important to me.

You are not alone is what I most want to convey with anything I ever write. But I’ll settle for hoping that, at the very least, I made someone smile.

2 comments