24 March 2014

Writing Processes

I got tagged by fellow author and my favorite cover artist T. K. Toppin to participate in this blog hop about writing processes and what it takes to shape and produce a book. And now, on to the questions...

What am I working on?
Currently, I'm working on the fourth Aston West in-the-series novel, tentatively entitled Resurrection. But life wouldn't be all that exciting if I didn't have my hand in a dozen other projects at the same time. So, I'm also working on several new short stories to put into my next Aston West Triple-Shot. And on top of that, I've been working toward completion of another Aston West novella, Fallen. Outside of my series work, I've been teaming up with Lyndon Perry toward the completion of two more books in a series of novellas featuring orphan Max McCannor (with the first, Escape, just published). And I've been toying around with the idea of some other non-sci-fi titles. Busy busy!
 
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I often hear from folks who tell me they don't ordinarily enjoy science fiction, but they love my stories. I imagine that has to do with the focus on characters and not on the science. Additionally, I think my lead character Aston is not what your first choice for a hero would be. He doesn't fit the stereotype of the (as my favorite label from the "Firefly" series indicates) "big d*** hero" like most in the genre do. He's the everyman who just happens to get into more than his fair share of tricky situations, and I think that  resonates with more than a few readers who like to think that they, too, could be in the same boat.
 
How does your writing process work?
It varies, depending on what I'm working on. For longer works like novellas and novels, I usually develop a plot outline first (at least with my Aston West series, since most of my major characters have already been developed...for stuff outside of the series, I have to put together some character sheets beforehand). Sometimes I start directly with the plot outline. Other times, I start with index cards. Either way, I come up with a multitude of scenes I need to have happen in the story, and in a rough sequence. That's not to say that the process won't diverge from the plan along the way, but I always like to have a good idea of where I'm going so that I don't get lost in the jungle that is the writing process. Once I have the game plan, I just start writing, referencing back to my plot outline as needed.

For my short stories, I usually come up with the same type of scene list/plot outline, but it usually only takes up a single sheet of notebook paper. Then, the writing begins.

After the first draft is done, I wait a while and then get right back into editing over and over until I pull the trigger on publication.
 
And now it's time to tag someone else, so my co-author in the Max McCannor series Lyndon Perry, you're up!