One of my bestest besties Celti/Deborah from The Road of a Writer passed a tag my way, which I am quite ecstatic about. I’ve seen this tag floating around and thought it looked spectacular. I’m so excited I’ve been given the opportunity to participate. Thank you, Celti dear, you’re the best! <3 Also, everyone go to her blog. Yes, now. She is a delightful human being and basically the best. So go, enjoy her charm.
Now then. This tag, as its name suggests, basically focuses on the life of us crazy writers and how we go about *le gasp* writing! So are you ready to take a peek into what the majority of my life is centered around? Don’t worry, it’s not scary.
It’s terrifying. Not scary. ;D
Ready? Here we go!
1. What are you working on?
That’s a complicated question at the moment because I just finished a book a few weeks ago. Currently I am sort of working on a novella but I’m not talking much about that right now. Don’t worry, I’ll discuss that more openly soon, I’m sure.
Since I’m not super actively working on a single thing right now I’ll just say Fallen Matter. (Seriously, have I written in a post in the last 6 months that didn’t involve Fallen Matter?) I think I can still count as “working on it” because even though I finished up the first draft my mind is still keenly focusing on it as I try to sort out all the plot holes and loose ends I never tied up. That first draft barely scratched the surface. The real stuff will be coming up soonish when I delve into editing. Which I might do in a few weeks or a month or. . .next year. I don’t know. I’d rather sooner than later, but life seems to have other ideas, so we’ll see.
And I've realized as much as I’ve talked about Fallen Matter I’ve never really talked about it. I haven’t explained much of its plot, if any. The problem is, it’s all very spoilery. I seem to have a hard time explaining this book without giving away stuff that I’d rather keep secret. I don’t know why this book has been that way. But maybe that’s a good thing? Most of my stories tend to be. . .generic, but I think this one has veered away from that.
So, Fallen Matter. . .how do I explain it? You know what? How ‘bout I just share the blurb I wrote for it a good while back?
"I don't know who I am."
When Breighly Matterdon awakes in a bright white lab room with no memory, her only desire is to escape. But when she does, she finds herself in a far bigger prison than imaginable.
Forty-three years ago, when the world was being threatened of complete annihilation, the world leaders devised a plan to save the human race. An indestructible cube was built around one of the last remaining cities of the world, and there a raffled number of people were to live. The smartest men and woman of the world were assigned as the city's rulers, entitling themselves as the Intelligents. Only they hold the secret to opening the Cube again, and know when will be the right time.
No one expected to live inside the Cube for so long. Now supplies are running dangerously low, the younger generation doesn't even know what the sun looks like, and the Intelligents' heavy hand over the population has become as suffocating as the Cube itself.
When Breighly discovers the Intelligents did something to her, changed her, she wants to leave the horrible prison disguising itself as a city. But to do so, she has to embrace her new ability and cooperate with these so called scientists, for she may be the key to unlocking the Cube and freeing its inhabitants. There are some, though, who wish to use her to stop the Intelligents' tyranny.
Breighly is caught between two battles, confused within the fog of her lost memory, not knowing what to do or who to trust. How can she trust anyone when she doesn't even know if she can trust herself? Should she stop the Intelligents, or help them open the Cube and finally escape?
But what if there is no world left to escape to?
There! Hopefully that explains it well enough. This story confuses me, so trying to explain it to other people hurts my brain. I guess it’s dystopian. . .? I always say that but I’m not sure if it’s exactly that genre. It’s futuristic, sci-fi sorta kinda, that involves teens with. . .superpowers-ish? I don’t know. This book is weird, guys. >.>
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Ooh, wow. That’s a tough question.
I know a lot of people aren’t wild about the dystopian genre because it never offers any glimpse of hope. Everything is so dark and depressing, a tunnel without the light at the end. And I agree, that gets pretty tiresome after a while. Do we not read stories to see good conquer evil? To see, even though the world is a dark place, there will always be light if you search and fight for it?
From the very first spark of Fallen Matter I knew I wanted to integrate God’s hope and mercy through its pages, no matter what else happened. I admit, it is definitely the darkest book I’ve ever written and some terrible things take place in it, but God’s light still made cracks through the darkness. The book reveals that even when terrible things happen, God can turn them into something great if we choose to follow Him (although that subject will get deeper in the second book).
Actually, almost all my books have a “light will conquer the dark” message woven in them. I think that’s my favorite thing to write about and it manages to worm its way into all my novels. But that’s perfectly okay with me. If nothing else, I want my readers to come away from my books remembering that there’s always hope. I think a lot of authors focus so much on making their stories as dramatic, surprising, and action-packed as they can, they forget that important message.
3. Why do you write what you write?
If you know me you know I’m a fantasy gal alllll the way. Medieval fantasy is my greatest passion literary-wise. I’ve always loved it. I was obsessed with things like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland when I was little (did I say '”was obsessed” because I think the obsession has only grown through the years). I loved all things fairytale. Then when I was 10 years old I was introduced to the world of Tolkien and the Christine you know now was born. I was captivated. I knew I already loved fantastical things, but Tolkien introduced me to what fantasy really meant, and I’ve never gone back.
I can’t imagine ever loving any genre above fantasy. How can you not love swordfights, knights, dragons, faithful steeds, dragons, princesses, damsels in distress, damsels not in distress, dragons, elves, ELVES PEOPLE, mountains, forests, secret underground cities, dragons, goblins, trolls, dragons, beautiful dresses, cloaks, bows and arrows, dragons, castles. DRAGONS. Dragons and elves! I mean, is there anything better? Celti, my fellow fantasy lover she is, said fantasy feels like home to her, and I can’t think of any better way to word it. When I read a fantasy book it feels so. . .natural. It’s like a breath of the familiar scents of home—comforting. I feel so much more at home in any fantasy book opposed to a contemporary story. Isn’t that odd? When I visit places like Middle Earth or Narnia or Neverland it just feels RIGHT. It’s very odd, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I also love the creativity writing fantasy comes with. There are absolutely no limits. Flying monkeys, anyone? What about one tiny hobbit saving the entire world? Sure, why not! Why not have a pet talking cat? Why can’t this tree grow gold instead of leaves? Why shouldn’t there be a tribe of people with purple hair? It never ends! You can do whatever you want with it and be as creative and wild as you like. There’s not a thing to hold you back. It makes my crazy, random mind very happy.
So why am I suddenly writing a dystopian-ish trilogy? One wonders. . .
For basically my whole life I thought I’d never once veer away from the medieval fantasy genre. That’s what I wrote, that’s what I wanted to write, and why would I even do anything different? It was my comfort zone. It made me happy. Writing anything else sounded ridiculous.
I’ve always been a person to find what I like and never step out of it and try new things. Not until a couple of years ago, that is. I don’t know what happened, but something stirred inside me, bravery. And tentatively, I picked up a few books that weren’t fantasy. *GASP* What is this? And I. . .I enjoyed them. *more gasping* And so I went a bit further. I painted my nails purple instead of the normal safe pinks I always used. I thought it was great! So I went wild and tried turquoise, which I fell in love with. I tried more new books and got a bit braver and bolder with my wardrobe and all around just became a much more interesting, courageous person. So when a very odd story idea came to me that wasn’t medieval fantasy, I wrote it. And LOVED it. Said story was a strange steampunk, time travel story. So very opposite from ANYTHING I’ve ever written. And at that moment I realized stepping out of my writing comfort zone was a good thing. A VERY good thing. In fact, it was thrilling! I got so caught up in my stubbornness to stick with medieval fantasy I didn’t realize how enthralling it could be to try new, different things and stretch my writing.
With this new realization, I became very opened to new stories. An idea about a girl and her uncle chasing down mythical creatures in modern day London popped into my head in the midst of writing my steampunk story. It was one thing veering away from medieval fantasy, but writing something in the REAL world? Could I really do it? Well. . .it could be fun. Thus The McGuffin Book series awoke. Now, I only have a couple of chapters written in that first book, but I love that story and hope to really do something with it someday.
And then, out of nowhere (and I mean nowhere), Fallen Matter struck me. At this point I was extremely open to trying new things and dived right into it before I even had a plot, and it turned out to be one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written.
So why do I write what I write? Honestly? I have no idea! New ideas far from the norm intrigue me. I love fantastical things. I love the lowest of people transforming into heroes. I love to see some ridiculous idea form into a real tale. It’s the most fun thing in the world to explore all the crazy ideas that pop into my bizarre brain. I may not write strictly fantasy now (though it will ALWAYS be my favorite), but I think I’ll forever pen tales far from the reality we know. Because “reality’s a lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”
Basically, I like making stuff up.
4. How does your writing process work?
As soon as I figure that out I’ll let you know.
Okay, okay. Welll. . .it’s not very organized. To be so OCD I sure am scattered.
I’m a pantser naturally. Plotting isn’t my thing. When I get an idea, I usually just jump right into it without bothering fleshing it out. My stories come alive during the writing process (which is why my first drafts turn out so messy, but what can you do?).
The first spark of my stories come from anywhere and everywhere. I’m working on an entire series merely because I saw a picture of a white-haired elf on the internet one day, and a story idea grew from there. My steampunk story came from the thought of a girl having to go through an entire adventure wearing a wedding dress. (I told you that story was strange.) Fallen Matter came from two words: “I’m falling”, which I know I’ve mentioned. I get ideas from books, TV shows, pinterest, everywhere!
At that point it’s all a matter of how strongly I want to write the story. Sometimes I think, “That’d be a cool tale,” and not get any farther. But some snag me and refuse to let go. When that happens I’ll usually dive right in.
Sometimes I may plot out my characters at least, but that’s as far as the plotting will go before I start the actual story. Like I said, I discover the story as I write. During that first draft stage I’m learning the plot as I go along. Things reveal themselves to me that never would have if I attempted an outline. For me personally, writing blindly is much more fun and enlightening than following an outline. Although sometimes I envy those who can plot out their whole books before writing. It’s much faster and less messy that way. But I do love to discover the story as I go, as if I’m really experiencing the adventure myself. (I’ll admit though, for NaNoWriMo I do outline. The idea of delving into NaNo with no plan terrifies me. But I still enjoy pantsing much better.)
Once I’ve started the story, I may do a teensy bit of plotting here and there if I get really stuck or confused just to get my thoughts together and back on track. But mainly I just write like a mad person and/or procrastinate skillfully until that first draft is finally finished. It totally varies how long that takes. When I was younger it literally took years, if I even finished a story. This last NaNo I finished my story in 25 days, which is the absolute fastest I’ve ever written anything. Fallen Matter took 6 months, and I think that’s more the norm. 4 to 6 months if I really stick to it.
Once that first draft is done the REAL work begins. But I’ll be honest with you. I’ve only ever rewritten/edited one novel. Last year I took the big leap, swallowed my ridiculous fear of editing, and did it. And. . .it wasn’t so bad. It was almost fun. Weird, I know.
But, since I’ve only ever really edited one book, I just have tons of first drafts sitting on my computer which I mourn the state over but never get to. My writing journey has come a long way though, and now that I take it seriously there will be far more editing taking place in the near future, not just forgotten first drafts.
And that, my dear readers, is Christine’s writing process. Christine also tends to talk in third person and get overly wordy, in which she apologizes.
Thank you again, Celti, for passing this my way! And thank you to anyone who actually sifted through this monstrous thing. I never do seem to struggle with a lack of words, do I? Ahem.