Fellow writer Nicole Winters tagged me in this blog hop–the idea is to have a chain of writers all answering questions about our process and tagging other writers we know to do the same. Nicole’s post is here–thanks for tagging me, Nicole!
1) What am I working on/writing?
I always have some short fiction on the go. At the moment, I’m revising two stories, which are both very dark–one is about magicians who cut the tongues out of doves, and the other is about a dishonourably discharged soldier waiting out the war and anticipating her army’s defeat.
I’m also putting the finishing touches on my second novel, which has been through several drafts; it’s so close to being done that I’m now planning my third novel, which will either be the one about lesbian railway gunners, or the one about the immortal alcoholic badass Gus Hillyard.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
I have a foot on each side of the mainstream/genre line: I almost always include an element of magic or the fantastical, but I don’t focus on it as fully as some other speculative writers, choosing instead to centre on the emotional journeys of my characters. Sometimes the magic runs away with me, and other times I get really involved with the kitchen sink.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Some stories–some characters, some images–have this intense aura around them in my mind. I recognize them as stories I absolutely must explore. But I don’t know where that attraction starts. It’s been with me all my life.
4) How does my writing process work?
My stories usually start with a few things: a character plus an image plus an emotional change I want to evoke. I feel my way through by asking myself why this character would be in this place.
Sometimes I have a sentence that arises in my mind, and I build a story around that. (I’ve had the final sentence of the disgraced-soldier story in a file for a decade now, and I finally realized what story I wanted to lead up to it.)
I’m a pantser on the surface–both of my first two novels were written without a clear sense of what the plot would be, and I discovered through the first draft where my interests and the characters’ natures would take the story. But I also find that I now have a pretty strong unconscious sense of structure, which guides the major beats of the novel. Now that I’ve realized this, I am hoping to make it a bit more conscious for the next book, and spend a bit less time lost in the weeds in the earlier stages.
Now it’s my turn to tag another writer to answer the same questions! Marko is taking up the challenge. Marko Kloos is the author of the bestselling military science fiction novels Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure. You can also find him on Twitter at @markokloos.