Don’t faint. I know it’s a little out of the ordinary to see a non-fiction post up in here. I did have this whole swathe of them planned, but what is it they say about our best plans? Sheesh. Anyhow, I have been saved from boring the tits off you all with constant serial fiction by my good friend, and excellent writer Patrick LeClerc who tagged me for this blog hop thang, which I almost totally forgot about, despite leaving myself a huge reminder on my desk. Yes, I am ALL of the observant. *sigh*
This thang consists of four questions, and it’s pretty interesting, so I’ll just get to eet.
1) What Am I Working On?
Currently a YA sci-fi weird thing about a ballet dancer called Kem Shay. She’s on her way to becoming a Prima when she loses her feet in an accident caused by Roller Derby courier girls running illicit goods for crime bosses out on the Freeway. Dropped by the Academy, who overlooked her colour and muscular physique only because of her skill, and disowned by her wealthy family, who cannot accept her damaged, her only hope for a future is to take an offer than goes against her every instinct. Don Marcos, the boss of the courier girls who caused her accident, has offered her expensive prosthetic feet and a chance to join the girls who ruined her career because he thinks her Academy training could make her a valuable asset. Kem’s fought her whole life against the suffocating expectation of her family and to hone her ballet skills to perfection in an environment where even perfection is rarely good enough, but it’s nothing compared to the challenge that awaits: trying to build a place for herself in a part of her world she’s never so much as seen, amongst girls who seem to loathe her as much as she loathes them, when she’s yet to decide if she can even live without ballet, or not.
(NB: there’s an over-useage of *who* in that minopsis, by Jethro. *eyeroll*)
The weird element is the Wyr-kids, genetic mash-ups who express themselves by altering their form. This is a society that can’t grow new feet, but if you want tentacles, or claws, or to be see-through, there are surgeons who can oblige. I’ve never written YA before, and it’s proving to be a great deal of fun. I have a crazy cast of characters and a complex world in which nothing is quite as Kem thinks it is. This is very much more a changing of view story than a coming of age story, as Kem is 18 and was ready to step into her adult life as a Prima. She’s learning about the real world here, a very different place than the hard, but highly protected, environments she grew up in. It’s a book about finding out who you could be if given the chance. Kem’s been one thing her entire life, and she’s sacrificed a lot to be that one thing. Now, having lost it all, she has a chance to be entirely herself, if she can discover who she is and get over the pain of all she’s lost enough to accept being anything else.
Other than that I’m writing the serial on this site, usually the day it goes up, and at light speed (I am forgetful). I’m also planning my next book, a stand-alone sci-fi, with a goodly smack of the weird to it and a soupçon of apocalyptic action…maybe. *taps side of nose*
2. How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?
Welp, it’s a whole bucket of odd and then some. Suffice it to say I have a book out on sub at the moment (see above in the old Novel tab there and you’ll find eet: COIL) that’s being passed on a lot for failing to fit into any definite category definitively enough. I think I’m doing genre-bending all wrong. Is there a manual or something? If so, I need it. *bites lip*
Seriously though, I’m just going to keep writing what I write until some editor falls in love so hard they’ll move time and space to get it out on shelves. *sticks fingers in ears* It will happen. Shut up.
3. Why Do I Write What I Write?
I write about shattered people, or broken people, or people lost within the maze of being, who are trying to put themselves back together or to become, because I’m trying to figure out how to do it. I set their stories in science fictional worlds as science fictional worlds offer me a freedom of expression to write the real as I see it without having to frame it as reality. Sci-fi is an excellent framing device for difficult questions, and I find reality, humanity, this whole existence thing, to be a difficult question. Difficult and problematic. My worlds are perhaps no less difficult or problematic, but I find it easier to write them than I would any story set in a contemporary setting. Also I love to imagine strange things, even though I accept there are those who imagine far stranger things than I ever could, and boy do I love them for it.
4. How Does Your Writing Process Work?
I make a shit tonne of notes on everything and then completely ignore them. Well…I used to. It’s not a practical or productive way of writing. I’m trying to speed up my writing because I’d love to try and aim for being a full-time writer at some point in the next ten years (stop laughing dammit!) and for that one needs to create a body of work, and make sure that body of work is consistently excellent. So I’m tweaking my methods constantly at the moment, striving to improve them with as much enthusiasm as I strive to improve my craft.
At the moment I make my notes and I keep them in the scriv document so I can refer to them as necessary. I collect lots of pictures to jog ideas and mental images, and I paste these and all my research documents into scriv folders so I can quickly grab inspiration or check my facts instead of spending hours on the interwebs. I also plan a skeletal structure for the book in total and for each new chapter, so I know roughly where I’m supposed to be heading. That may change in future, but that’s how I’m writing the YA. It seems to be working. Six weeks in and I’m at the halfway point, which is unheard of for me. My last book, a cyber-weird currently sat with my agent waiting to be read, took over six weeks to even get started properly and then took a year to write. That’s too long in my mind, though it was both more complex, and longer by far, than the YA. Still, no excuses. If you want to make this thing a career, you’ve got to get books completed in good time. One day I hope to have editing deadlines, and so everything I’m doing right now I try to make it as much of a dummy-rum on having actual deadlines as possible.
My deadline to finish the YA is the end of May. I am behind thanks to the Easter hols but I am determined have draft zero done by May 31st. There, NOW it’s in black and white! *trembles before it*
So, that’s all the questions answered. Now I need to nominate, or it is horrify, a couple of other writers by roping them into doing the same. I am naughty and forgot to ask anyone, so I shall nominate Anne-Mhairi Simpson and Anne Michaud, and if they run screaming for the hills instead of blogging then at least I’ve pimped up their amazing blogs and writing by giving them the proverbial shout out! Yay!