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Personal Thoughts

What's My Writing Process? (author tag!)

Hello, faithful blog readers. It’s been a while since I have posted on here, but a lot is going on.
First, I have finished the manuscript for Surreal 2, and it’s in the editing/publication process.
Second, I am now working on more sequels, but the details are coming in a moment.
This entry will be a little different from my usual delightful complaining. I’m participating in a sort of blog-tag with some author friends of mine. We do this to wake each other up and ask that they step away from the manuscripts to discuss the technicalities with the world.
The lady who tagged me for this is an exceptional author by the name of Kat Daughtry. I am very lucky to be able to consider her my friend.
She is bold. She is INCREBIDLY unique. She writes erotica. She revolutionizes the industry to write a steampunk erotica novel, SteamFate, and then ingeniously removes the erotica portion to create a new adult version, Imbroglio.
Onward with the questions.
Chrissy, what are you working on right now?
I always have a main work-in-progress and a few orbiting manuscripts. Right now, however, it’s a bit complicated.
I first started writing this blog post a couple days ago, and at that time, I had more written for Surreal 3 than for DayDreamer 2. Interestingly enough, however, I’ve had a unique deluge of inspiration recently, so I now have much more written for DayDreamer 2. Somehow, it’s all coming to me a lot faster this time around. Maybe experience is helping my brain process it faster. Who knows?
My smaller, orbiting manuscripts that I work on here and there are: 
1)      A sci-fi novel. I actually have a completed outline but don’t have more than a few thousand words written.

2)      Chick-lit. This one keeps evading me. I keep changing things about it, so it’s obvious I have to wait a little on this.

3)      Even though it’s mega-early, I’ve also been working on Surreal 4, because I have always been excited about this installment, and there is so much detail that will go into it.

4)      I have others – my attention is always quite scattered.
How do your stories differ from others in its genre?
I actually consider Surreal Ecstasy to be women’s fiction, but I don’t complain or worry about other categories it’s been placed into, specifically paranormal romance. This first installment does have romance in it, but its main focus is about a young woman finding her inner strength to overcome a whole trail of obstacles. Romance just happens to be part of what happens to her as she begins to rise above those that oppress her.
Surreal 1 is highly emotional. I am an emotional writer. It has aspects to it that others call risky. While creating this, I didn’t wonder to myself what would be the most widely-accepted 80,000 novel that would sell the most books, or what would be accepted by the most people. I wrote the entire first chapter without knowing what it was, and only when I had completed it did I go back, read it, and reflect upon what I had just written.
Because of these factors and more, I consider Surreal 1 to be my personal work of art. My first and last chapters are always the most important. I play with alliteration during important moments. For the chapters that have guest narration, I am very careful where in the story I place them. If you love words, you’ll hopefully appreciate the art in my Surreal series.
My DayDreamer series is a little different. I wrote the first installment as I wrote Surreal 1, as an outlet and a relief from its intensity. It’s almost like a ‘Surreal Jr.’ in that it deals with parental relationships and identity crises in a way that parallels Surreal. It’s sweet (as far as sexual content) and the worst curse words a young person will come across reading it are ‘damn’ and ‘crap.’ I wrote it in a way that is simple, yet entertaining and unique. Most importantly, I wrote it with my 12-year-old niece in mind. What would I be comfortable with her reading with her mother standing right there?
As far as my short story that appeared in Linger, “Loralee and The Green,” which I consider as more of a thriller, my main goal was to leave the reader thinking about this story and wanting to read it again. A lifelong fan of Hitchcock, I tried to create at least one part in the story that the reader might not necessarily expect, at least not in the context in which it arrives. I also tried to write cinematically as I simply adore the movies in this genre, and I know how entertaining that can be.
Why do you write what you do?
:::shrug::: That’s just what I do. I would love to paint pictures, but my attempts are laughable (and man, the fume from those paints…).
When I was ten and younger, I read a lot of Taffy Sinclair and then Nancy Drew (yes, I’m aware these are characters and not authors…I obviously need a coffee refill). Then as I got older, lots of Shakespeare and original Grimms – real dark, twisted stuff. Grimms fairy tales shocked me. At least when you read Poe, you know what you’re going to get!
But when I got to high school and started reading classics and started doing one of the most fun things ever to do in class – writing essays – that’s when it started coming together. My life changed when I was forced to read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. I just didn’t know it at the time. The Good Earth remains my favorite novel of all time.
Things changed again when I was a senior in high school and took an English lit class where 90% of the things we did was about interpreting novels. At this point, I began to see how mere words could, in fact, become art.
My novels and stories are part of an ongoing art collection that I share with the world. Just as some art is scary, others are happy-go-lucky, and still others are emotional, sexual, and intense, well, so are my books. Some paintings are hard to understand and others are beautiful and can illicit emotions in people, right? Well, so are my books - hopefully.
And my goal is to wrap you up in a world where you feel those emotions from my art. 
How does the writing process work?
Usually, the idea comes first, and develops all the way to the end of the process. I’ll be driving or watching a DVD or staring at my computer screen, and I’ll suddenly get an idea for a scene. So I’ll take a note about it and/or write out the scene. I've been known to scribble notes on envelopes, receipts - anything I can get my hands on, so I try to carry a notebook with me for that express purpose. Then, when I have time, I write up that short scene fragment and save each scene as a separate file.
I have a very important file for each book that I call the Bird’s Eye View. It’s an excel spreadsheet wherein I input the chapter numbers and word count. Next to each chapter I’ll write a one-sentence summary so that I can remember what essentially happens in each chapter. Then I’ll go back into my saved fragment scenes and re-save them as the chapter number that it seems to correspond best to. I CANNOT WRITE A BOOK IN ORDER FROM START TO END. That would just drive me nuts. I just can’t. Even my short story that didn’t have any chapters, I could not write in a linear sense. It will never happen. My brain is too distracted too often.
As I start to add more and more to each chapter, I’ll work on connecting my fragments. More often than not will I have to change things to make them more congruent. I’ve also started to get a giant poster board and write down all the little things I wanted to include in it, as well as important things to remember about each character.
About 50%-60% of the way through, I’ll print everything out (no matter how puny a chapter is), and put it together as one manuscript. That’s my skeleton draft. I then read through it as if it were someone else’s work. I need to see things on paper in order to really understand it, as well as outline any problems. I write all over it, making insane notes. Once I go through the whole thing, I’ll fix everything on my Word files. 

The first time around, I'll only fix typographical errors and other problems that don’t require much thinking. The second time around takes more time, because this is when I tackle plot holes or other inconsistencies. 
Sidenote: I always feel as if the story is already written and I am just the dumbass sitting there, trying to piece it all together. Those are the parts during which I am the most insane. But once I get the answers to these questions, I’ll breathe easier and start to relax a little more.
Once the issues are ironed out, I step away from my manuscript for a few days to clear my head. It's the only way I can read over my own work with fresh eyes. Then I’ll come back and read it over, fixing small things, improving language, and embellishing scenes. Once that’s done, I have a rough draft that I can format into one long file and send off to the publisher.
Pretty neurotic, right? It’s my process. My scary process.
Now, the fun part. TAG!
Here are a couple authors you should look up and follow. By mentioning them here, I’m also asking them to do a similar blog entry on their own.

First up: Wolf Scott 

He was the first person I thought of when thinking of what authors to tag next. I read his short story 'Left,' in Seven Deadly Sins, and the first thing I did was tweet at him and tell him that I am now deathly afraid of aliens, and that it was entirely his fault. His writing is so descriptive and his words are like knives that poke into your skin and keep you awake at night. This is a pretty powerful skill to have. It takes a truly skilled writer to make a reader feel like they were the ones being tortured in the story! I’m tagging him as a way of asking what new stuff we can see from him in the future. Also, I’d love to know how he dreams this stuff up!

Next on my list: The lovely Jess Russell 

I worked with Jess on the 7DS ‘Linger’ collaboration. She is definitely a writer to keep an eye on. Her short story, Calliope, is cinematically written, and has a unique emotional feel to it. She is also a poet. Basically what I’m saying is she was born to be a writer. When I read something Jess has written, it's the reader's equivalent to taking a deep breath and relaxing. I know I won't be stressed in reading her work, though I know I'm going to be emotionally vested and definitely impressed. I consider her my friend. Hopefully, she agrees. I’d like to know what inspires her to write, as well as what projects she’s working on, because we’re going to be hearing a lot more from her.


3 Comments to What's My Writing Process? (author tag!):

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Shelly Picarella on Friday, May 23, 2014 7:12 AM
This was a wonderful post! I love the process you have. The most interesting thing is the behind the scenes of how and why. I loved your story in Linger. I loved Surreal Ecstasy and I cannot wait to have the chance to keep reading your books.
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mj on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 1:52 AM
I already claimed that this is my day. And yes, indeed. It is really my day! What a lucky day to have stumbled on a topic that is also paralleled to our own ideas. Mary Jane Lee, essay writing
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