From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

Hey everyone! A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be contacted by the lovely Jackie Cangro to see if I would participate in a blog tour about my writing process. Of course I said yes. I am so glad I was introduced to Jackie and her blog, because I've found it very entertaining and inspiring.

The blog tour involves answering four questions, so here goes.

1. What are you working on?

So, I'm one of those nervous, superstitious writers that lacks the confidence to talk about what I'm writing in too much detail before it's done. I worry that if I say too much, the spark will die. But I will say this. I am working on another YA novel about a 16 year old girl named Gertrude. She is staying with her dog-breeder aunt for the summer and trying to figure out some very, very strange goings-on. I'm a little over half way done, I'm hoping to finish by the end of summer.

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

Oh boy :) Genre has always been a hard one for me. What I generally write tends to be not quite contemporary and not quite paranormal. Usually I write ordinary people who have to figure out something wacky and quite extraordinary. I like writing somewhat quiet, obedient characters who have to find something deep inside themselves to deal with crazy circumstances that came about through no fault of there own. I like to write about sibling relationships, and how a loved ones trials and struggles can be even harder to deal and grapple with than one's own.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I really like writing normal, ordinary characters having to deal with abnormal things. I think its a fun, interesting way to explore human strength and resilience, and what that really looks like. I think there are a lot of great, wonderful characters who grow and progress through learning from their own mistakes, but I really enjoy writing characters who just want to be good and glide through under the radar but then have to very quickly find their own inner courage and identity to deal with something completely crazy and incomprehensible that the universe has thrown there way. Thinking of stories in this way also helps me with plots, because a character having to take steps to deal with whatever crazy thing has happened is what moves the story along.

4. How does your writing process work?

Man, I could write like three separate blog posts on this. So I asked my roommate what my writing process was, and this is basically what she said.

"When you are ready to start a novel, you think of a thing that makes your brain excited and something you want to say. You spend 3-5 months flailing and having angst about how to turn this idea into a thing. You have several nights when you stay awake until 3 am because your brain won't leave you alone. Those nights mean your idea is good. There is lots of this:

until something finally clicks and you figure out how to put this thing into a story. Then you work on a short outline and then when you're ready to start, you GO. And you write every day until its done and then you send it to your smart friends and there is more flailing about the responses your getting and then you submit and then its time to start over again."

So yeah. In the words of my roommate, that's my process :)

Thanks again to Jackie for inviting me to participate in this blog hop! Hope this is helpful!

Sarah Allen

16 comments:

  1. The flailing arms made me chuckle.
    People can relate to normal people, so that's a good thing.

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    1. Hee hee, oh good :) Me too. And yeah, I figure writing just normal characters has some good things about it, such as relatability.

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  2. Love the flailing arms - looks like me right now in the middle of rewrites. It's always good to see how others tackle the writing process - I think it gives the readers confidence. Thanks, Sarah!

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    1. Haha, yeah, lots of flailing involved in the writing process :) And yes, agreed, I LOVE hearing how other writers do it :D

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  3. Flailing is a key part of my process too. You never see enough posts on flailing, i think.

    mood

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    1. That could make a very interesting post in and of itself :) I'd love to read about your particular brand of flailing :)

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  4. I'm so glad that you were able to participate in the blog hop. I love reading about how others tackle the writing process. I am very familiar with the flailing. :) I think it looks exactly like that. My dog doesn't mind so much though. :)

    I really liked your description about putting ordinary people in unusual / extraordinary situations, and then ask "what if." What a great idea.

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    1. Thank you so much for this great chance! I had so much fun with this. I'm glad you like the idea of ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances, it works for me :)

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  5. I love the process! The flailing arms are a bonus. And to know it's a good idea because your brain won't leave you alone is just priceless.

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    1. Yeah, when the idea keeps me up at night, I know there's something to it :)

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  6. I'm a flailler too (that's a word, right?) Writing through to 3am is a great part of the process - that's when you know you're completely hooked!

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    1. Yes, flailing and late nights are definitely an important part of the process :)

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  7. Sarah:

    Do you write characters that are mostly like yourself? My main MC in Secondhand Shoes is a little bit like me.

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    1. Very interesting question. I think each of my characters takes a different part of me. For example, in my first book, George is the pining middle aged zookeeper I definitely have inside of me. In novel 2, Olivia has a lot of the same thoughts and feelings about sibling relationships that I do. And now in the new novel, Gertrude deals with a lot of the self-doubt and type of anxiety that I have. Each are a part of me, but each are different.

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  8. We all have our methods. The only important thing is that they work. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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  9. Flailing figure is about right! Haha. My process is similar. Balancing "flow" w/ the inner critic.

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I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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